Detroit Red Wings: Dylan Larkin spoils William Nylander’s season debut

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his game winning goal in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Arena on December 6, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his game winning goal in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Arena on December 6, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings spoiled the party in Toronto tonight. The return of William Nylander did not go as planned for the Leafs as the Wings beat them 5-4 in a crazy overtime victory.

Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin rushed over from the opposite side of the ice to help Nyquist with Tavares in overtime. During the switch, Tavares floated the puck to the middle where Gus intercepted the errant pass and sprung Larks for a breakaway.

Dylan Larkin who had a handful of opportunities to score late in the third period would not be denied this time.  As he streaked in all alone on Leafs netminder Garrett Sparks, he lifted his right leg to fake a shot and decided to deke to his backhand and slip it through the open five-hole for the win.

It was anything but easy, and to be honest, I wasn’t confident the Detroit Red Wings were going to win in Toronto.  The Leafs and their fans were amped up to see William Nylander back in their uniform.  The first time he hopped over the boards the Toronto crowd erupted.  He played without participating in a team practice, and it may take him a game or two to get back into things.

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The Detroit Red Wings got behind early 1-0 but for only briefly before storming the Leafs with 4 unanswered goals.  The Wings entered the game with the odds stacked well against them as the team was missing several key pieces.  Anthony Mantha and Danny DeKeyser are both sidelined until the new year.  Darren Helm is expected to be out another month.  Trevor Daley is close to returning but was unable to go tonight, and Tyler Bertuzzi was serving the second game of his two-game suspension.

Needless to say, the Wings would need help from some unsung heroes if they had any chance at winning.  That is precisely what they got.  They got back to back goals from Jonathan Ericsson and Luke Glendening 65 seconds apart in the first period.

Gustav Nyquist would add to the fun and banged in a beautiful top-shelf tally with 14 seconds left in the first period.  Dylan Larkin was clear across the ice at the half wall and feathered a beautiful pass through traffic that somehow found Gus.  Gus was alone at the bottom of the circle and Sparks was down much to early, caught like a deer in headlights leaving the whole upper half of the goal open.  Goose did not miss, and he has been really heating up of late.

Nyquist (stock is on the rise) has 4 goals and 7 points over his last 5 games.

Mike Green added the fourth consecutive goal for the Detroit Red Wings in the second period.  He let a floating wrist shot go from the point through traffic that found the top corner over the blocker of the Toronto goaltender.  It would be Green’s 3rd goal of the season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs owned the third period as they roared back with three unanswered goals of their own.  They got goals from Tavares, Hyman and Johnsson forcing the Wings into damage control and just hang on until late in the third period where Larkin had a few chances to net the winner and a point shot from Nick Jensen that would ring off of both goalposts and somehow stayed out.

Larkin would eventually net the OT winner, and it was only fitting.  The kid has played tough each night this year.  You can tell he is determined to lead this group; his hard work will not go unnoticed.

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Impact Stats;

  • Dylan Larkin- 1 Goal (GWG), 1 Assist, 7 shots, 22:45 TOI
  • Gustav Nyquist- 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 5 shots, 19:03 TOI
  • Mike Green- 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 5 Blocked Shots, 24:24 TOI
  • Niklas Kronwall, 1 Assist, 6 Blocked Shots, 18:34 TOI
  • Jonathan Ericsson, 1 Goal, 24:35 TOI