NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Detroit
(Thursday, October 9th)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Detroit 2
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Nikolai Kulemin's first NHL goal was the game- winner, as Toronto held on for a 3-2 triumph over Detroit in the regular- season opener for both clubs at Joe Louis Arena.
Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who gave new head coach Ron Wilson a victory in his debut behind the Toronto bench.
"You saw a pretty enthusiastic group," said Wilson. "I can't find fault with anybody's game. Everybody came ready to play."
Vesa Toskala made 35 stops for the victory.
Tomas Holmstrom picked up both goals for the Red Wings, who lost despite celebrating their Stanley Cup victory from last June. Marian Hossa assisted on Holmstrom's second tally, his first point in a Detroit uniform after signing as a free agent from Pittsburgh in the offseason.
Chris Osgood was solid in defeat, making 26 saves.
Kulemin netted his first career score on a clean breakaway with 7:25 played in the third period for a 3-1 Toronto lead, but Holmstrom struck at 9:20 with a power-play score.
Toskala preserved the one-goal margin with a slick pad stop on Mikael Samuelsson with three minutes left in regulation, and the Wings pulled Osgood with under a minute to go.
The home team couldn't muster much offense until Toronto's Jamal Mayers was called for a delay-of-game with 30 seconds remaining.
Facing a two-man disadvantage, Toskala sealed off the left post on Henrik Zetterberg's tip with 11 ticks left, which proved to be the home club's best chance until time ran out.
"We know we have to work harder," said Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom. "We have to cut down on our turnovers and mistakes."
Samuelsson's right-circle shot just trickled wide of the far post prior to the midway point of the first period, and was the best Detroit chance early in the contest.
The Red Wings squandered their first power-play chance, but the Maple Leafs struck for the first goal of the game with their initial man advantage.
As time ticked away toward the end of the period, a loose puck worked its way from the back boards to the left of Osgood. The veteran netminder directed it with his stick into the slot -- right onto Kubina's blade for an easy tap-in with 25.3 seconds to play.
The Leafs took a 2-0 lead with 4:56 to go in the second period, as Moore elevated a loose puck from the right post over a sprawled Osgood.
One minute, 24 seconds later the Wings halved their deficit as Holmstrom converted Pavel Datsyuk's rebound with a backhander through Toskala's pads.
Toronto won the lone meeting a year ago, and has taken three of the last four matchups...1980s pop-metal powerhouse Def Leppard performed at a pre-game ceremony...Red Wing legends Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and Ted Lindsay helped the team unveil and lift the 2008 Stanley Cup banner to the rafters...Detroit has dropped two of its last three home openers, while Toronto has won two of its last three road openers.
10/09 22:27:57 ET