Jiri Hudler scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 in NHL pre-season action at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.
Nicklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen both had a goal and an assist for Detroit, while Valteri Filppula, Mike Modano and Brian Rafalski each added two assists.
Jan Mursak, Jakub Kindl and Henrik Zetterberg also tallied for the Red Wings.
Jussi Rynnas was called up from the AHL’s Marlies to fill in for the injured Jonas Gustavsson, but the young goaltender could not stop the Red Wings offence, one filled with veterans.
Toronto’s penalty-killing had shown improvement thus far in the exhibition season, but it had difficulty handling the lethal Detroit power play, as the Red Wings went 4-for-6 with the man advantage.
For the Maple Leafs, Phil Kessel had another strong showing with a goal and an assist, while Kris Versteeg added two assists.
Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski each scored for the blue-and-white.
Nazem Kadri, after an impressive three-point night Wednesday against Ottawa, had another weak effort in this pre-season with only one shot to show for his 11:36 of ice time.
The London native’s last chance to impress the Leafs’ coaching staff will be Saturday when Toronto hosts the Wings.
Turnover leads to 1st goal
Mursak opened the scoring for the Red Wings when the Leafs turned the puck over along the boards and the Slovenian native placed his shot perfectly over the shoulder of Rynnas.
The young netminder made a nice save moments later as Tomas Holmstrom received a pass from Zetterberg that put him past the Leafs’ defence, but Rynnas made a solid stop with his right pad.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead when Hudler scored on the power-play only 2:19 after Mursak’s marker. Hudler, who has returned to the Wings after spending a season in Russia, jumped on a rebound off a slap shot by Modano.
Kessel trimmed to the Red Wings’ lead to one with a power-play goal, his sixth of the pre-season.
The sniper has shown chemistry with Bozak and Versteeg so far this pre-season, and the Leafs top line was one of the team’s few bright spots on Friday.
Kindl put the Wings up 3-1 with Detroit’s second power-play goal of the first period after the defenceman was left open in the slot and beat Rynnas on a shot the goaltender should have stopped.
Hudler’s second marker came in the middle frame when he deflected a Rafalski shot from the blue-line past Rynnas, giving the Wings a 4-1 lead.
Bozak has strong outing
Bozak scored the Leafs’ second goal of the night when he took a pass from Kessel and snapped it between the legs of former Guelph Storm goaltender Thomas McCollum.
Kronwall restored the Wings’ three-goal lead early in the third period by unleashing as a booming shot after Valteri Filppula won a face-off cleanly back to the blue-liner.
Franzen scored the Wing’s sixth goal when he skated in between the two Leafs defenceman and put a wrist shot past Rynnas.
The Leafs replied quickly when Grabovski skated through the Red Wings defence moments later and made a nifty move to his backhand and neatly placed the shot between the legs of Joey Macdonald, who replaced McCollum to begin the third period.
Zetterberg recorded the Wings’ fourth power-play goal of the night after one-timing a nice pass from Pavel Datsyuk. The shot squeeked in between Rynnas’ left arm and his mid-section, and just trickled over the goal.