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Wings top Leafs in OT; Matthews scores No. 69

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TORONTO – Dylan Larkin scored on a power play 41 seconds into overtime as the Detroit Red Wings topped Toronto 5-4 on Saturday to grab two crucial points in the Eastern Conference playoff race despite Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews bagging his 69th goal of the season.

Alex DeBrincat scored two of his own for Detroit (39-32-9), which led 4-1 after the first period. David Perron, with a goal and an assist, and Simon Edvinsson provided the rest of the offence. Former Leafs goaltender James Reimer made 32 saves in his 500th game and J.T. Compher had two assists.

Larkin redirected a Patrick Kane shot in the extra period with Max Domi off for high-sticking.

Mitch Marner, with a goal and two assists, John Tavares and Nick Robertson also scored for Toronto (46-24-10). Ilya Samsonov stopped 28 shots. Morgan Rielly had two assists.

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Matthews, who has scored 10 times in his last eight games, is looking to become the first to player to hit 70 goals in a season in more than 30 years after equalling Mario Lemieux’s total of 69 from 1995-96.

Detroit entered play a point back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second and final wild-card berth in the East, while Toronto’s loss locks the Leafs into the Atlantic Division’s No. 3 spot with two road games left on their schedule.

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Matthews had a couple of more chances on a late power play. Samsonov then had to stand tall on a Detroit man advantage late in regulation.


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The crowd’s anticipation grew every time Matthews touched the puck in search of No. 70 with the score tied 4-4 before Samsonov, who had a rough opening 20 minutes, stopped Lucas Raymond in close with nine minutes left in regulation.

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Down 4-1 after an ugly opening 20 minutes, Robertson scored his 14th at 9:04 of the second before Kane took a double-minor for high-sticking.

That set the stage for Matthews, who hit the post in the first, to fire No. 69 past Reimer before emphatically punching the air at 10:23 inside a deafening Scotiabank Arena.

The sniper nearly got his 70th moments later on a break, but Reimer closed his pads at the last second.

The Leafs got even at 17:22 when Tavares snapped his 26th as the home side erased a three-goal deficit in just over eight minutes on Reimer, who was drafted by Toronto in 2006 and played for the Leafs from 2010 through 2016.

Marner opened the scoring on a power at 8:35 of the first when he buried his 26th of the season. William Nylander picked up the primary assist to snap an eight-game point drought.

Detroit tied it 1:27 later on a 2-on-1 when DeBrincat scored his 25th off a Raymond setup.

The Wings pushed ahead at 13:39 when Edvinsson finished off a give-and-go with Perron for his first.

DeBrincat made it 3-1 on a power play at 17:37 after Samsonov kicked a big rebound right onto the winger’s stick for his second of the night.

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Perron then put the visitors up three with less than 20 seconds left in the period when he snuck his 16th past the Toronto netminder at the near post before his teammates pushed back in the second.

REIM TIME

Selected with the 99th pick at the 2006 draft, Reimer played 207 of his 500 games with Toronto.

The product of Morweena, Man., went 85-76-23 over his six seasons with the Leafs.

Reimer is just the 80th goaltender in NHL history to play 500 regular-season contests.

“A true professional,” Kane said. “Always in a good mood, always trying to get better … great milestone.”

LILY’S BACK

Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren (upper-body injury) dressed for the first time since March 26. Toronto winger Bobby McMann (lower-body) was hurt in the first period and didn’t return. Leafs blueliner Jake McCabe took a puck to the face in the second and didn’t return.

MURRAY TO THE MARLIES

Toronto assigned goaltender Matt Murray to the American Hockey League’s Marlies on a conditioning loan as he continues to work his way back from bilateral hip surgery.

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The 29-year-old, who’s in the final year of his contract, has spent the entire season on long-term injured reserve.

UP NEXT

Detroit: Hosts the Canadiens on Monday before visiting Montreal to close out the regular season Tuesday.

Toronto: Visits the Florida Panthers on Tuesday before taking on the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2024.

Follow @JClipperton_CP on X.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press



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