DETROIT – Gustav Nyquist had two goals and Jimmy Howard made 31 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings hold on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Jake Gardiner scored on a power play midway through the third period to pull Toronto within a goal.
The Maple Leafs appeared to tie the game less than two minutes later, but Nazem Kardri’s goal was waved off because he made a kicking motion to knock the puck in with the inside of his right skate.
The Red Wings seemed to seal the win with 2:33 left when Daniel Alfredsson’s wrist shot from the slot hit the back of the net.
Toronto, though, pulled its goaltender to add an extra skater seconds later and James van Riemsdyk scored with 1:13 left.
James Reimer stopped 28 shots for the Maple Leafs.
Detroit is desperately trying to move up in the Eastern Conference standings to extend its postseason streak to 23 with a fraction of the team it expected to have this season.
The Red Wings lost forward Justin Abdelkader to a leg laceration in Sunday’s loss at Chicago, leading to the team calling up 22-year-old Landon Ferraro, son of former NHL player Ray Ferraro. It also put 25-year-old defenseman Brendan Smith at forward for the first time since he was a teenager against Toronto.
The banged-up team, which had won just two of their previous seven games, took another hit against the Maple Leafs. The Red Wings started the game with numerous forwards, including Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, because of injuries and lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
Detroit is getting great play out of one of the many young players in the lineup. The 24-year-old Nyquist is making the most of his opportunity to play a lot in his first full NHL season.
He entered the game tied with Boston’s Jarome Iginla with an NHL-high 12 goals since Jan. 20, and scored midway through the first period and early in the third. Nyquist has 19 goals in 43 games after he had a total of four goals in 40 games spread out over the previous two seasons in the league.