Abdelkader shines in win against Leafs

Red Wings scorers: Abdelkader 3 (3), Larkin (1)
Goaltenders: Howard (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 22 saves, 0 GA, Bernier (Loss), 20:20 minutes played, 6 saves, 3 GA

With Blue Jays playoff fever at an ultimate high in Toronto, its likely many of the Leafs faithful in the city may have not been aware of the team’s second game of the season taking place on Friday evening against the Detroit Redwings. After a 3-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens in their opening game on Wednesday, the Leafs were hoping to redeem themselves with their first win of the season, in Mike Babcock’s return to Detroit.

But it was yet another shaky start for Toronto as it took less than two minutes for Justin Abdelkader to get his team up by one while on the power play. Just seven minutes later, Abdelkader struck again to make it 2-0 and quickly made it seem like the Leafs would be in for a long evening.

As the first period expired and the two teams headed into the second, the Leafs hoped they could regroup and start with an early goal to get themselves back into the game. But 19-year-old Dylan Larkin, who was making his NHL debut, added to Detroit’s lead just 20 seconds into the period. That sent Jonathan Bernier to the bench in favour of James Reimer.

Things only got worse for the Leafs when Abdelkader completed the hat trick four minutes later. The Leafs had a couple of power play opportunities, but looked like they were scrambling and couldn’t make the most of the man-advantage and with neither team scoring during the third, the Wings finished the night with a resounding 4-0 win.

Although the Leafs lack of offense is a growing concern, newly acquired Brad Boyes seemed to be optimistic when speaking to the media after the loss.

“We’ve got to play our game. We got away from it a bit. Seeing the way that they play and their structure, ours is very similar, but they just executed so much better. They got a couple goals early on us, but I still felt that we had some good chances. We’ve got to keep pushing. Keep moving and going forward with it.”

The Leafs will take on the Ottawa Senators on Saturday evening.