TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs finally earned a victory without the services of Frederik Andersen.
Michael Hutchinson made 29 saves as Toronto beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday for its fourth win in a row, and first of the season with a back-up goaltender in net.
Zach Hyman and Auston Matthews both had two goals and an assist for the Maple Leafs (19-14-4).
Tyler Bertuzzi supplied the offence for the Red Wings (9-25-3), who have lost 15 of their last 17 games.
Jonathan Bernier started in net for Detroit, stopping the only three shots he faced, but lasted less than seven minutes before leaving with a lower-body injury. Calvin Pickard came on in relief and made 16 saves for the loss.
Hutchinson entered Saturday 0-5-1 with a 4.55 goals-against average and .876 save percentage in six starts. Andersen is 18-8-3 with a 2.52 GAA and .919 save percentage in 29 games.
“It’s certainly an opportunity here for (Hutchinson) to push past what he’s been through to this point,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said pre-game. “He’s worked hard and he feels good, we feel good…and it’s a chance for him now to move past it.”
Toronto, which was playing the second game of a back-to-back after a 6-3 win Friday against the Rangers on the road, started slow and were sloppy through the opening 10 minutes before settling down.
If it wasn’t for Hutchinson, who stopped two Dylan Larkin breakaway chances early on, the Leafs easily could have been trailing instead of going into the first intermission scoreless.
Hutchinson was there again when needed early in the second.
First he stopped Andreas Athanasiou on another breakaway chance as his teammates appeared to be a tired group for much of the first 40 minutes, and followed that up with a blocker save on Larkin, who was streaking down the wing.
Toronto trailed 21-14 in shots when it caught a break for the game’s first goal with 2:50 to go in the second.
Hyman was pulled down by Mike Green on a breakaway leading to a tripping penalty. But video review showed the loose puck bounced off the trailing Red Wings defender and crossed the goal line before the Leaf forward crashed into the net, negating the penalty and giving the Leafs a 1-0 lead.
Toronto appeared to find its energy for the third period, with Keefe moving Mitch Marner onto the wing with Hyman and Matthews.
Matthews doubled the lead 2:18 into the third with a snap shot that beat Pickard five-hole, and Hyman added his second of the game at 8:51 with a backhand over Pickard’s glove.
Any chance of Detroit keeping it close went out the window when Matthews finished off a Marner pass out front at 13:39.
Detroit forward Anthony Mantha had to be helped off the ice in the dying minutes after being thrown to the ground by Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin near the sideboards in the Leafs’ end.
Muzzin was given a 10-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct along with a two-minute minor for roughing. The Red Wings took advantage of the man advantage to spoil Hutchinson’s shutout bid on a Bertuzzi shot that got past him with just 1:44 remaining in the game.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Dec. 21, 2019.
Kyle Cicerella, The Canadian Press