Leafs drop exhibition tilt in Motown

Leafs' Jonathan Bernier looks on as he is beaten for one of five Red Wings goals in Friday night's...

Leafs' Jonathan Bernier looks on as he is beaten for one of five Red Wings goals in Friday night's pre-season game in Detroit. (Reuters)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

DETROIT - For rival coaches Randy Carlyle and Mike Babcock, this was the ideal time to play the new division rival.

Twice in as many days, at the end of camp when the roster is almost set. Excluding the absence of suspended Phil Kessel, the short-term winner of the David Clarkson 10-game understudy sweepstakes and where John-Michael Liles and Morgan Rielly fit in on defence, Carlyle couldn’t ask for a better test than back-to-back against Detroit.

The Leafs know they’ll always have plenty of support at Joe Louis Arena — more turned out to see their 5-2 loss to the Wings on Friday than came for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin earlier in the week — but the downside was a sobering long-range look at how hard it will be to handle them in regular season.

The Wings, dressing close to an ‘A’ lineup, poured three power-play goals past Jonathan Bernier and pulled away from the penalty-prone Leafs in the third period.


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