Throughout Thursday's game, won by Detroit 2-1 on Darren McCarty's goal, fans of both teams could be heard cheering loudly.
"There's always been an air of intensity when these two teams play," Toronto forward Steve Thomas said. "There's a rivalry that's developed over the years. Both teams get up pretty well for the rivalry."
The win tied the series between the longtime rivals at 270-270-92. They meet again Saturday night in Toronto.
McCarty had a goal and an assist as the Red Wings improved to 7-0-1 in their past eight home games.
Kirk Maltby had the Detroit fans cheering when he crashed the net and scooped up a rebound, beating goaltender Curtis Joseph at 6:27 of the first period.
It was Maltby's first goal since Jan. 9, a nine-game drought.
"We just didn't cover it off well and gave someone a couple of whacks at it," said Toronto coach Pat Quinn. "People were standing right there and that's the disappointing part."
Toronto tied the game when Shayne Corson one-timed a shot from the slot, beating Detroit's Chris Osgood.
McCarty, who has struggled this season, got his 10th goal with 17:09 remaining in the game. He muscled around Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe, briefly lost the puck, then sent it high over Joseph on a pass from Kris Draper.
"He was held on the play," Quinn said of McCabe. "It should have been a penalty."
It was McCarty's second game-winner of the season.
"Drapes was skating in and got a piece of it," McCarty said. "I was on my forehand, so I was able to get it up quickly short side."
Osgood stopped 26 shots for his 16th win of the season, improving his career record against the Maple Leafs to 12-7-4.
"I thought he played a good game," said Leafs captain Mats Sundin of Osgood. "He made some great saves."
Osgood's best save came when the Maple Leafs were on a power play in the second period. Sergei Berezin was stationed to the left of the net, but Osgood slid over and blocked the shot with his pads.
Joseph made 27 saves, falling to 11-16-6 lifetime against Detroit.
The rivalry continues Saturday night in Toronto, in the finale of the home-and-home series.
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