Maple Leafs beat Red Wings behind Bozak's pair, lose Polak to injury
The Toronto Maple Leafs put the distractions of the past few days behind them and used their focus to beat the Detroit Red Wings.
And when the game was over, the Maple Leafs raised their sticks to acknowledge their fans.
Tyler Bozak scored a pair of third-period goals in the Maple Leafs' 4-1 win on Saturday night.
"I thought we did a really good job of focusing on the process and preparation. That was a big thing for us," Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said.
Following backlash from Thursday night's win over Tampa Bay -- in which the Maple Leafs left the ice without saluting the crowd -- the players elected for a modified tribute Saturday, raising their sticks in front of their net instead of at center ice.
"That was something we talked about in our room, and we did not want to disrespect our fans at all," Phaneuf said. "We know how much support that we have. That's our new thing now. We wanted to change it up."
Leo Komarov and Peter Holland had the other goals for Toronto. Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves to improve to 7-5-2.
"There was nothing about disrespecting our fans, it was just switching it up," Bernier said. "I thought tonight the crowd was great."
Tomas Tatar had the lone goal for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard made 24 saves.
"We just weren't cautious with the puck," said Howard, who dropped to 8-4-4. "I think it's been key whenever we're careful at both blue lines and don't turn over in our end, and we did that a lot."
Toronto topped Detroit for the first time in three games this season, and the Maple Leafs have won back-to-back contests after a three-game skid in which they were outscored 17-5. The Maple Leafs are 8-4-1 in their last 13.
Bozak gave Toronto its second lead of the night with a short-handed goal early in the third period. The game was tied 1-1 after two periods before Toronto responded with three unanswered goals in the third.
"I think we got back on track, playing the way we need to play," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "I thought the game got away from us in the second period. We turned the puck over far too many times and we were receiving the game."
Bozak stripped defenseman Niklas Kronwall of the puck at the blue line, went in alone, and beat Howard with a backhand shot for his seventh of the season at 3:44. It was Bozak's fourth career short-handed goal.
Peter Holland added the insurance goal on a partial breakaway, beating Howard for his fifth goal with 4:21 remaining. Holland matched his goal total from last season in which he scored five in 39 games. He also snapped a four-game goal drought.
Bozak added an empty-net goal with 1:47 remaining for his eighth of the season.
Toronto led 1-0 after 20 minutes on Komarov's second of the season.
Komarov put a shot in off defenseman Jonathan Ericsson at 11:39. Komarov had just four goals in 42 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season -- his last in the NHL.
Tatar tied it 1-1 at 10:28 of the second. He brushed off a hit from defenseman Roman Polak and one-timed a feed from Xavier Oullet for his ninth of the season. Tatar has five goals and two assists in five games.
"I thought we really played real well in the second period. In my opinion (we) dominated the second period," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Good win for their team, and when you won the first two games on your road trip you like to be greedy.
"You want to win all three, and I thought we were set up to do that and we didn't do it."
Polak got his left leg caught under his body while falling awkwardly on the hit and left the game.
"Polak will have an MRI (Sunday) on the lower-body injury, and we'll have an update on Monday," Carlyle said. "(It's) serious enough that he'll be out for a while."
NOTES: Maple Leafs D Cody Franson's nine-game point streak ended. It was the longest of Franson's career and was one game shy of matching the team record for longest streak by a defenseman held by Tom Kurvers from Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 1990. Franson played in his 200th game with Toronto.