Larkin scores in Overtime as Detroit Red Wings earn narrow win over Toronto Maple Leafs

Dylan Larkin scored on a breakaway at 2:48 of overtime as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4. After blowing a three-goal lead in the third period.

Larkin beat Garret Sparks between the pads to snap Toronto’s five-game winning streak.

Gustav Nyquist set up the winner, and finished a goal and two assists. Mike Green had a goal and an assist, Jonathan Ericsson and Luke Glendening also scored, Larkin had an assist and former Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 shots.

Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and an assist each for Toronto. John Tavares and Zach Hyman also scored, and Sparks made 27 saves.

William Nylander suited up for his first game since coming to terms with Toronto on a new six-year, $45 million contract over the weekend. The 22-year-old winger got a mostly warm reception when he stepped on the ice for his first shift. He started on a line with Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau before getting benched midway through the third period.

Maple Leafs head Mike Babcock expected William Nylander to be “the freshest guy in hockey” on Thursday night.

That was probably asking too much of a player making his season debut with exactly zero practice time since ending a prolonged contract impasse with Toronto just last weekend.

Toronto came to life in the third. Scoring three goals in just under nine minutes to tie it.

Tavares made it 4-2 when he ripped his 18th past Bernier off the rush at 2:38 of the third. Hyman added his seventh on a rebound at 8:50. Johnsson tied it with his sixth with 12:24 to go.

“They were just better than us,” Babcock said. ”They played harder.”

Nylander flew to Toronto on Sunday from Sweden. He had been practicing with a junior team. The Swede twice went through drills with a Leafs assistant coach and took part in Thursday’s brief morning skate.

Coming off consecutive 61-point seasons. The 22-year-old finished with 12 minutes 29 seconds of ice time. However, he didn’t see any action in the game’s final 14:35.

“It has nothing to do with Willy, it has to do with me and trying to win the game,” Babcock said of the benching. “Any time you’ve missed that amount of hockey, it’s going to be hard.”

Tavares got the Leafs to within two when he ripped his 18th past Bernier at 2:38. Sparks, who had a shaky opening, made a nice pad stop on Larkin to keep his team within striking distance. Before Hyman potted his seventh on a rebound at 8:50 to get Toronto within one.

Johnsson then chipped his sixth over Bernier from in tight at 11:36 to make it 4-4. Therefore sending the Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy.

The Maple Leafs Connor Brown was stopped on a partial breakaway in the final minute before Nick Jensen hit both posts on a point shot that somehow stayed out at the other end with under 10 seconds to play.

The Leafs went up 1-0 at 4:50 of the first when Kapanen finished off a pretty passing play for his 11th. However, the Wings struck back in quick succession to grab a 2-1 lead. This thanks to goals on two of their first three shots.

Ericsson floated his second from the point through a screen that Sparks could only wave at with the glove at 5:23 before Glendening fired upstairs for his fourth just 1:05 later for a Wings team that came in 2-3-2 over its last seven.

The Maple Leafs didn’t really threaten Bernier. Who played three seasons in Toronto from 2013 to 2016, until Nazem Kadri rang a shot off iron from a sharp angle following two failed power-play attempts.

Peace,

Burke

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