for this game

Kulemin stars in debut as Maple Leafs edge Red Wings

Oct 10, 2008 - 3:23 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Nikolai Kulemin's NHL debut could not have gone any better.

Kulemin scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and Vesa Toskala made 35 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the season with a 3-2 triumph over the reigning Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

Defenseman Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who made Ron Wilson's coaching debut with the team a successful one.

"We paid attention to detail, we paid attention to the task at hand," said Wilson, who improved to 5-8-1 in season openers. "They're having a good time, and they should. They beat the Stanley Cup champions."

A second-round pick in 2006, the 22-year-old Kulemin gave Toronto a 3-1 lead at 7:25 of the third period, when he intercepted a neutral-zone pass by Daniel Cleary and beat goaltender Chris Osgood to the stick side on a breakaway. The Russian spent last season in his homeland with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

"It was real exciting to score in my first NHL game," Kulemin said through an interpreter. "And then to have it end up the game-winner. I think somebody got the puck for me and they're going to frame it."

"We coughed up a little bit too many pucks," Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom said. "We had way too many turnovers, and they got lots of offense from that."

Holmstrom netted both goals for the Red Wings, who fell to 43-30-9 in home openers.

"We didn't play as hard as we needed to play," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We'll have to get it fixed or else you get a pretty disappointing group. Obviously, we were set up to have a real nice night here in Detroit. The evening started very well. We didn't do our part to finish it well."

After Red Wings legends Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Steve Yzerman - among others - participated in the raising of the team's championship banner during a pregame ceremony, Detroit applied pressure on Toskala, who was forced to make 14 saves in the first period.

But the Maple Leafs were the ones who got on the board in the opening session thanks to a miscue by Osgood.

Attempting to sweep the puck out of harm's way as it sat to his right, Osgood gave it right to Kubina, who buried it from the doorstep during a power play with 26 seconds to go for a 1-0 lead.

"We need to not turn the puck over as much as we did tonight," Osgood said. "That's probably the biggest thing we did."

Toronto, which improved to 34-41-16 in season openers, doubled the advantage with less than five minutes remaining in the second period. After rookie blue-liner Jonas Frogren's shot from the right point was deflected by a defender, Moore corralled the loose puck and fired it in from the right side of the net at 15:04.

"There was a point shot that came through," Moore said. "Steener (Alex Steen) had a couple whacks at it, I had a couple whacks at it. Finally, it came loose and I was able to get it up and over (Osgood). I was pretty excited. It was a big goal."

The Red Wings answered 84 seconds later to halve the deficit. Stationed in his usual spot, Holmstrom grabbed the puck after defenseman Brad Stuart's blast from the blue line failed to make it to the net and backhanded it under Toskala's pads from the doorstep with 3:32 left in the middle session.

Holmstrom, who scored 11 of his 20 goals last season on the power play, netted his first of this campaign with the man advantage to draw Detroit within 3-2. Again standing in front, the 35-year-old Swede picked up a loose puck and wrapped it around Toskala's outstretched right leg at 9:20 of the third for his second tally.

"They have one of the best players in the league in front of the net in Holmstrom," Toskala said. "He makes it really tough for the goalie to see the puck."

Toskala was impenetrable thereafter, turning aside the last six shots he faced. His biggest stop came with three minutes to go, denying Mikael Samuelsson from the left side with his left pad.

"We blew a lot of games last season and in the preseason in the last 10 minutes, so I think this is a big confidence boost for us," Toskala said.

Osgood made 26 saves and Marian Hossa notched an assist in his debut with the Red Wings, who posted a 29-9-3 record at home last season.

"I thought our goalie was good," Babcock said. "The game could have been, I thought, more one-sided than it was."

"It was a hard-fought game. It's the way it's going to be all year," Osgood said. "It shouldn't be a shock or a surprise to anybody that Toronto played well tonight. Every time somebody comes in here, they play good. We know that. It's not a surprise for us."

Steen set up a goal for Toronto, which raised its record to 4-1-2 when beginning the season in Detroit.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1 1 3
    DETROIT 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:34
    2ND PRD: TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 1 (ALEX STEEN, JONAS FROGREN) 15:04
    DET - TOMAS HOLMSTROM 1 (BRAD STUART, PAVEL DATSYUK) 16:28
    3RD PRD: TOR - NIKOLAI KULEMIN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:

    Oct 9 9:43 PM
  • 64
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 2  3rd - 0:43Oct 9 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    DETROIT 2
    3RD PRD: DET - (PP) TOMAS HOLMSTROM 2 (UNASSISTED) 9:20

    Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 2  3rd - 10:40Oct 9 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    DETROIT 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - NIKOLAI KULEMIN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:25

    Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 1  3rd - 12:35Oct 9 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1 2
    DETROIT 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:34
    2ND PRD: TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 1 (ALEX STEEN, JONAS FROGREN) 15:04
    DET - TOMAS HOLMSTROM 1 (BRAD STUART, PAVEL DATSYUK) 16:28
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD

    Oct 9 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    DETROIT 1
    2ND PRD: DET - TOMAS HOLMSTROM 1 (UNASSISTED) 16:28

    Maple Leafs 2, Red Wings 1  2nd - 3:32Oct 9 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    DETROIT 0
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) DOMINIC MOORE 1 (ALEX STEEN, JONAS FROGREN) 15:04

    Maple Leafs 2, Red Wings 0  2nd - 4:56Oct 9 8:43 PM
  • 44
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 39 roots

    Maple Leafs 1, Red Wings 0  2nd - 9:30Oct 9 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1
    DETROIT 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:34
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 10 10
    DET 14 14
    GOALIES: TOR - VESA TOSKALA
    DET - CHRIS OSG

    Oct 9 7:58 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    DETROIT 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:34

    Maple Leafs 1, Red Wings 0  1st - 0:26Oct 9 7:58 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Cujo30 Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. Red WingsJul 30 1:11 PM