DETROIT – Jiri Hudler and Mike Modano worked well together in their first game as linemates.
Hudler scored twice, Modano had two assists and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 in a pre-season game on Friday night.
Hudler and Modano, along with Dan Cleary, will form what the Red Wings think will be a potent third line. Friday night was the first time the trio was together during the pre-season—Hudler and Modano had not skated together in a game.
“It was good tonight. We were moving the puck and moving our legs a bit,” said Modano, who signed a US$1.25 million free-agent contract in August after leaving the Dallas Stars.
Hudler got his first two goals since leaving Detroit after the 2008-09 season to play in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League last season.
“Just trying to learn each other on the ice,” Hudler said. “He’s been in the league for 20 years. It’s not going to be hard for him to read the ice.”
Hudler’s first goal, a power-play effort 8:45 into the first period that gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead, came after Modano’s shot from the point deflected off the skate of Toronto defenceman Tomas Kaberle in front of the net directly to Hudler, who put it past Jussi Rynnas.
Hudler tipped in Brian Rafalski’s shot from the point 7:29 into the second period for his second goal. Modano got the second assist.
Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen each had a goal and an assist and Jan Mursak, Jakub Kindl, and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for Detroit (3-3-0). Thomas McCollum made 16 saves and Joey MacDonald stopped three shots.
Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski also scored for the Maple Leafs (4-3-1). Rynnas made 27 saves.
“The Red Wings were flying. Jussi struggled a bit,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “When you get behind the 8-ball an open the game up to get back into the game, it’s not the way you want to play the Red Wings.”
NOTES: Detroit recalled McCollum and forwards Willie Coetzee, Francis Pare and Tomas Tatar from its American Hockey league affiliate in Grand Rapids.