Maple Leafs sting Red Wings in pre-season finale

William Nylander, Auston Matthews each netted two goals to help the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1.

Denis Malgin made a case that he deserves a spot on the Toronto Maple Leafs' roster out of training camp.

The 25-year-old forward scored the game winner, his fourth goal in six games, to help the Maple Leafs (5-2-0) clobber the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 in their pre-season finale on Saturday.

Malgin turned Detroit (3-5-0) defender Wyatt Newpower inside-out to give the Maple Leafs a one-goal lead midway through the second period before 18,347 at Scotiabank Arena.

"Crispy," was Auston Matthews description of Malgin's goal. "That was nice. Man, he's looked unbelievable in camp and not just his confidence, he has been strong out there. It's been a lot of fun to watch."

Matthews and Malgin were teammates in Switzerland with Zurich for the 2015-16 season. Malgin was selected in 2015 in the fourth round (102nd overall) by the Florida Panthers.

He joined the Panthers after his year with Matthews. However, Malgin decided to return to Switzerland after four seasons of limited action with the Panthers and then with the Maple Leafs after a February 2020 trade that sent Mason Marchment to Florida.

He was born in Switzerland when his Russian father, Albert, moved there to conclude his playing career. The younger Malgin played for Switzerland in the Olympics in Beijing last February.

The 5-foot-9 Malgin also has four assists to give him eight points in his training camp showcase.

"Coming in, if you have a checklist of the things you wanted to get accomplished for your job, he has checked them all," Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said.

Keefe and the Maple Leafs management team have difficult decisions before their opening-day roster is set before Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline.

With Pierre Engvall and Jake Muzzin returning to the lineup after injuries, the remaining hurt Maple Leafs includes captain John Tavares (oblique) and depth defencemen Timothy Liljegren (hernia surgery), Jordie Benn (groin), Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) and Victor Mete. He hurt his leg blocking a Nick Robertson shot in practice on Friday.

The 21-year-old Robertson also enjoyed a good camp with three goals and five assists in five games. 

William Nylander and Matthews scored twice to account for the other Toronto goals on Saturday.

Matthews converted passing plays from Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly for two power-play goals in the third period for the Maple Leafs (5-2-0).

It was Matthews' only two goals in three pre-season games. Marner had three power-play assists in the third period.

Nylander tied the game in the first period after Pius Suter gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Maple Leafs second-liner scored again on the power play midway through the final period for his fourth of the pre-season.

The Maple Leafs' lineup included their top line of Matthews, Marner and Michael Bunting, as well as regulars William Nylander, Alexander Kerfoot, Rielly and TJ Brodie. Projected No. 1 goalie Matt Murray went the distance, making 18 saves.

Toronto outshot its opponents 26-19.

The Red Wings (3-5-0) went with a handful of NHLers, but primarily players destined for the AHL.


There is a slim chance Tavares could be ready for Wednesday's season opener. He resumed skating last Monday after suffering his injury in the pre-season opener on Sept. 24 and participated in the Maple Leafs' optional skate on Saturday morning.

However, with Toronto's heavy workload to begin the season with four games in six nights, his status will be evaluated daily this week.

The initial diagnosis had Tavares out for three weeks which would be this Saturday when Toronto entertains the Ottawa Senators.


The Maple Leafs have Sunday off before two days of preparation for their 106th season opener against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Wednesday. Then, they open at home against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

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