Red Wings continue to show they can play with — and beat — NHL's best | Forum

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Toronto — Jimmy Howard smiled as he walked by Dylan Larkin and said, “called it.” 

Larkin had just scored in overtime to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto Maple Leafs championship rings) , two nights after the Detroit Red Wings had banked one point against Tampa Bay, and five nights after the Wings had beaten Boston. While the organization could use the high-end draft pick that comes with being in the NHL draft lottery, the team is having fun finding ways to win and doing so for one another. 

Thursday at Scotiabank Arena saw them staring at a tie game after the Leafs leveled a 4-1 Wings lead, but Detroit felt it was the better team for two periods and deserved to win. Larkin followed through at 2:48 of overtime when he fired the puck between Garret Sparks’ legs for a 5-4 final, and skated into a celebratory hug with teammates. 

“It feels good,” Larkin said. “You know what, 40 minutes, we were the better team. We played the way we want to play, possessing the puck, capitalizing on our chances, moving the puck around. All four lines were generating and doing a good job against their big guys.”

The Leafs amended for a listless second period with a furious third, getting the crowd into it. Larkin acknowledged if the Wings sense the opponent surging, they need to do better — they blew a two-goal lead against Tampa Bay in the third period and ended up losing in a shootout. But they’ve just played four of the best teams in the NHL (nhl championship rings), sandwiching in a game against Colorado between Atlantic Division rivals, and gone 2-1-1.

“I think we’re just playing with a lot of confidence,” goalie Jonathan Bernier said. “We made a few mistakes in the third, but we didn’t panic. Going into OT, it was all us. That proves a lot.

“We just kept grinding and we came out on top.”Defenseman Mike Green, whose goal followed ones from Gustav Nyquist, Luke Glendening and Jonathan Ericsson, described how different the Wings are from earlier in the season.“We collectively figured out what our game is, and how we are going to give ourselves a chance to win every night,” Green said (custom championship rings).