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Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

WATCH: Red Wings explode for five goals in the third period against Toronto

At least they made it interesting.

The Detroit Red Wings entered the third period of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs trailing by a 7–2 score. Alex Nedeljkovic started in goal for Detroit, giving up three goals in the first 11:06 of regulation time before being pulled; in relief, Thomas Greiss allowed four more in the second period.

With his team facing a five-goal deficit, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill elected to throw his starter back to the wolves for the third period.

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Perhaps Nedeljkovic’s return sparked the Red Wings.

It took just 35 seconds for Filip Hronek to get the party started in the third period. The 24-year-old defenseman floated a wrister from the right side that somehow beat Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell, who reacted late to the puck and just missed it.

Marc Staal and Lucas Raymond picked up the assists on Hronek’s fifth goal of the season (and his first in 15 games).

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Carter Rowney struck next for Detroit, scoring less than two minutes after Hronek’s goal.

Playing in his second game back after missing six weeks to injury, the 32-year-old forward tipped a long-range shot by Hronek past Campbell for his third goal of the season.

Adam Erne notched the second assist on Rowney’s first tally since Nov. 27, 2021.

The streak of slump-busting continued with Detroit’s next goal. Joe Veleno scored relatively recently, tickling the twine against the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 2 … but his goal against the Maple Leafs on Saturday was still just his second goal since Dec. 10, 2021.

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Veleno’s goal spelled the end of Jack Campbell’s evening, and for good reason. We challenge you to watch the video below and try to figure out how Veleno’s shot eluded the Toronto goaltender:

Hronek and Danny DeKeyser assisted on Veleno’s fifth goal of the season, which cut the Maple Leafs’ lead to 7–5 with just 4:42 elapsed in the final frame.

Former Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek replaced Campbell in goal after Veleno’s “snipe.” Mrazek proceeded to allow a goal on just the second shot he faced.

Less than a minute after Veleno’s unlikely goal, the Red Wings managed to regain possession inside the Leafs’ zone. Big Michael Rasmussen set up shop directly in front of Mrazek and managed to deflect a Moritz Seider volley into the net to make it a 7–6 game.

Rasmussen’s marker came at the 5:21 mark of the third and was also assisted by Veleno. His seventh goal of the season capped off a stretch of four Red Wings goals in 4:46 seconds

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Less than two minutes after Rasmussen’s goal, Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev finally stopped the bleeding and restored his team’s two-goal lead. Fellow Russian Ilya Lyubushkin — acquired via trade from the Arizona Coyotes earlier this week — picked up his first assist with the Leafs on Mikheyev’s goal.

But the Red Wings still weren’t done. Just 41 seconds after Mikheyev’s tally, Red Wings super rookie Lucas Raymond responded with his second goal of the game (and his 15th of the season) to draw Detroit back within one.

Raymond’s tally was yet another that Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe likely took issue with. The 19-year-old forward barely snuck his shot through Mrazek’s wickets, with Dylan Larkin and Seider assisting on the 8–7 goal.

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After Raymond’s second of the game, the Red Wings still had 12:15 to try and tie things up.

Unfortunately for Detroit, Leafs forward Ondrej Kase made it 9–7 with a shorthanded goal at the 10:33 mark of the period; Mitch Marner — who already netted a natural hat trick on Greiss in the second period — added his fourth goal of the game off an awful Hronek turnover to make it 10–7 (ultimately the final score) with 4:19 to go.

Nevertheless, it was an inspired comeback attempt fuelled primarily by the Red Wings’ secondary attack.

Sam Gagner also scored in Saturday’s game for Detroit, which fell to 23–24–6 on the season with the loss. Toronto improved to 34–14–4 with the 10–7 victory.

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The Red Wings will have two days off to process this wild game and try to regroup before they return to action on Mar. 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes.


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