Lupul helps Maple Leafs beat Red Wings 4-3 

Joffrey Lupul scored at 7:10 of the third period to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 after blowing a three-goal lead Saturday night.

With the game looking to have slipped out of Toronto's control, Lupul grabbed a rare turnover from Henrik Zetterberg behind the net and lifted a shot over goalie Jimmy Howard for his 19th goal.

More importantly for the Leafs, it resulted in a third straight victory during a key homestand and kept them climbing up the Eastern Conference standings.

Phil Kessel scored on a penalty shot, and Dion Phaneuf and David Steckel added goals for Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves to keep his run of starts going under Ron Wilson's win-and-you-stay-in system.

Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler scored for Detroit.

There was plenty of buzz around Air Canada Centre with a number of Red Wings fans turning up for the only meeting between the Original Six teams this season. The Leafs were fortunate that it was played in their building because Detroit has been virtually unbeatable at Joe Louis Arena and a pedestrian 10-12-0 on the road.

Toronto got off to a dream start.

Kessel scored his 24th of the season at 4:30 on the penalty shot, dragging the puck across the top of Howard's crease before roofing a shot.

Phaneuf, playing with a longer visor after taking a puck in the cheek Thursday night, then hammered home a point shot at 8:19. It was the seventh goal of the season for the exuberant Toronto captain.

And the Leafs kept on coming, with Steckel making it 3-0 just over 2 minutes later by completing a lovely passing play with Kessel and Lupul.

Bertuzzi started Detroit's comeback at 6:46 of the second with a nice tip on a play that needed a lengthy video review. That was the first goal Gustavsson had surrendered in more than five periods.

The game got even tighter when Kronwall took the puck hard to the net and stuffed home his own rebound at with 4:21 left in the period, making it 3-2 heading to the final 20 minutes.

Hudler tied it at 4:32 of the third period from the side of the goal and it looked as if the Leafs were on the verge of a collapse.

But Clarke MacArthur followed with a nice individual rush and Lupul's goal came shortly afterward.

NOTES: With defenseman Mike Komisarek returning to Toronto's lineup for the first time since Nov. 17, Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch. ... Mike Brown also returned from injury for the Leafs. ... Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm sat out for Detroit with groin strains. ... Howard remains stuck on 99 career NHL victories.

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