March 4th, 2024

Copp, Red Wings hand Maple Leafs third consecutive defeat with 4-2 setback

By Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press on January 14, 2024.

Detroit Red Wings right wing Christian Fischer celebrates a late go ahead goal by teammate Lucas Raymond, not shown, as Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov and teammate Timothy Liljegren react during third period NHL action in Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Andrew Copp scored the game-winning goal with 1:40 remaining in the third period and the Detroit Red Wings handed the Toronto Maple Leafs their third straight loss with a 4-2 decision on Sunday.

Dylan Larkin, Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond added the other goals for Detroit (22-16-5), which won for the fifth time in its last six games.

James Reimer made 29 saves.

Pontus Holmberg and Mitch Marner replied for Toronto (21-12-8). Marner recorded his 600th career point with the goal.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 20 shots in front of 18,772 in attendance at Scotiabank Arena and in his first start since Dec. 29.

Samsonov was waived Dec. 31 and then joined the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. He was recalled by the Leafs on Wednesday, with rookie netminder Dennis Hildeby being loaned to the Marlies.

Samsonov was strong in a scoreless first period. The Red Wings outshot Toronto 10-7, including an early breakaway from J.T. Compher and multiple 2-on-1 chances that Samsonov stonewalled.

Holmberg opened the scoring 32 seconds into the second period, tipping in a Morgan Rielly point shot.

Larkin knotted the contest with 4:21 remaining in the middle frame. He took a pass from David Perron between multiple Leafs defenders and beat Samsonov glove side.

Marner restored Toronto’s lead with 1:42 left in the second. He found a streaking Tyler Bertuzzi who pulled the defence’s eyes his way and sent it back to Marner for an easy tap-in goal.

Sprong evened the score 2:46 into the third period. He tipped a Rielly pass from the point, with the puck going to Alex DeBrincat who sprung Sprong on a breakaway and he beat a sprawling Samsonov with a backhand.

Copp put the Red Wings ahead just moments after the crowd was chanting “Sammy” following a sprawling save on DeBrincat by Samsonov.

Raymond netted an empty-netter with 18.9 seconds remaining.

NET DECISIONS

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said earlier Sunday that Samsonov starting will be a chance to see if he makes some progress. Samsonov is 5-2-6 on the season and went 1-1-3 in December, earning a shutout in the win before surrendering 21 goals in four straight losses.

“It’s a bigger decision than just me or (goalie coach) Curtis (Sanford),” Keefe said. “You got a guy who’s the number 1 goalie, the highest-paid goalie and you got your top prospect in Hildeby.

“When you’re making a decision like this, it’s not just a feel thing or whatever the coach thinks. You’re consulting everybody and trying to do what’s right for the team and the player.”

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Head to Edmonton to open a four-game road trip against the red-hot Oilers on Tuesday.

Red Wings: Fly south to Florida to take on the Panthers on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2024.

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