Red Wings goalies struggle in loss to Maple Leafs

Associated Press • Oct 19, 2017 at 12:21 AM

TORONTO — The Detroit Red Wings couldn't overcome poor goaltending as they faced the top offense in the NHL.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on the first four shots he faced Wednesday at Air Canada Centre, and Petr Mrazek got beat on the first shot he saw. Detroit's skaters played well as they attempted a rally, but the Wings came up short in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Wings outshot the Leafs, 32-26. They pulled Mrazek with more than three minutes to go, and William Nylander took advantage with an empty-net goal.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Ericsson scored goals and Nick Jensen had a career-high three assists with Dylan Larkin adding two.

The loss is the second straight after the Wings started the season 4-1. In addition to subpar goaltending, they lost the specialty-teams battle, going 1-for-3 on power plays and 1-2 on penalty kills.

The Wings had good offensive zone time and got the first four shots on net, only for the Leafs to take a 2-0 lead inside a minute. First, Nazem Kadri beat Howard short side at 5:56, and then Zach Hyman tipped Morgan Rielly's shot at 6:39. The Wings had six shots on net, but nothing to show for it. They earned a power play at 9:09 but couldn't maintain possession of the puck and never got a shot on Curtis McElhinney. Auston Matthews deked in the left circle to angle the puck short side on Howard at 13:46, ending Howard's night.

Zetterberg took the puck from Jensen and skated behind the Maple Leafs' net for a wraparound goal that made it 2-1 at 12:10 of the first period. Zetterberg made his fourth goal of the season look easy, sliding the puck into a net while McElhinney tried to slide over for the block.

Mrazek got beat on the first shot he faced, when Connor Brown wired the puck through traffic and the puck went in glove-side. The puck didn't change direction, and Mrazek needed to cover the angle even if he lost sight of the puck. Rielly used a screen to beat Mrazek on a power play at 15:28 of the second period. The Wings challenged goaltender interference but officials ruled there was none.

Tatar got the Wings within 4-2 at 7:02 of the second period. Larkin raced the puck into Toronto's zone and passed to Tatar, who fired a puck on net and then popped the rebound. It was his first goal of the season, and 100th of his NHL career.

Ericsson pulled the Wings within 4-3 at 8:36 of the second period when his shot snuck by McElhinney. Officials at first called off the goal judging goaltender interference, but the Wings challenged and replays showed Justin Abdelkader never touched McElhinney.

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