Jonathan Bernier had his best performance of the season, making 38 saves as the Leafs put a dent in the Red Wings’ playoff hopes with a 1-0 win on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena.
It was Bernier’s third shutout of 2015-16. The Leafs’ goalie had to be particularly sharp in the third period during which he stopped 18 pucks directed his way.
“I thought from the get-go we dominated this game and we wanted it,” Bernier said to reporters after the game. “I think that was the biggest difference from the night in Ottawa. Tonight we were ready right from the get-go.”
The only goal of the game was scored by Michael Grabner with 30 seconds left in the second period.
Grabner was hooked to the ice on a breakaway by Red Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson. But without getting a shot on net, Grabner slid into the crease area, his momentum carrying the puck into the net off his backside. The official originally called for a penalty shot, but video review confirmed that the play was indeed a goal.
PA Parenteau had the lone assist on the play, finding Grabner with an excellent breakout pass out of the Leafs zone.
“I was shielding the puck from the D-man and it just trickled in last second. It’s a lucky bounce for me but obviously we’ll take it,” Grabner said.
The costly loss puts the Red Wings in a precarious playoff position, their 24-year streak of qualifying for the post-season in jeopardy.