If Saturday night was any indication of what games between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be this season, fans will be getting their money's worth.
The two Original Six rivals battled it out in a preview of the upcoming Winter Classic that took a shootout to decide. Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk scored in the shootout to give the Wings a 5-4 victory.
It was the Wings' first shootout win this season.
"It was great," Red Wings netminder Jonas Gustavsson said. "It was a long time ago for our team and it felt really good to get that win in the shootout. Especially for myself too because I don't think I had my best game tonight so it was fun. At least we were able to step up there and get the win."
Both teams will meet again on January 1, 2014 in the NHL Winter Classic.
"I think this rivalry's growing and growing. It's going to continue to grow," Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson said. "It's going to be there and they're a team that's close by. Any time you have an organization or a team that's close, you always have that playoff-type feeling. I thought that game had it tonight once we started playing the way we knew we could."
The Leafs jumped out to an early lead at 7:15 of the first after Cody Franson picked off a pass at the blue line and fired a slap shot past Gustavsson.
But the Red Wings would come to life at 8:57 when Datsyuk got a feed from Riley Sheahan and whipped a backhander past James Reimer for his 14th goal of the year.
Joakim Andersson's sixth goal of the year gave the Wings a 2-1 lead at 13:18 after his wrap around attempt deflected off of Reimer's stick and into the net.
Tomas Jurco made it 3-1 after he performed a spin-o-rama before beating Reimer blocker side with a backhander for his second goal of the season.
Reimer was then replaced by Jonathan Bernier to start the second period, which saw goals from the Leafs' Dion Phaneuf at 11:45 and Joffery Lupul at 18:24.
Clarkson put the Leafs back in front in the third period at 8:32 of the third by knocking a loose puck in the crease past Gustavsson.
The lead was short-lived, as Tomas Tatar pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and knocked it past Bernier for his seventh goal of the year at 13:44.
Gustavsson finished with 19 saves, including when he robbed Phaneuf with an impressive stick save. He also made a poke check on Mason Raymond in the shootout.
- DET Pavel Datsyk (Goal, SOW Goal)
- TOR David Clarkson (Goal)
- TOR Jonathan Bernier (L, 25 Saves, .962 save percentage)
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