The return of the NHL's winningest coach didn't help the Detroit Red Wings.
"It's not like a player," said Bowman, who has been plagued by health problems. "A player can go out on the ice and do stuff. It's not like you're going to pull a rabbit out of a hat."
It was the first time the Red Wings played with Bowman behind the bench since sweeping the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup final last season. Since then, the 65-year-old coach had a blocked artery cleared and his left knee surgically replaced.
"It was an emotional night, and a big night for Scotty," said Toronto coach Pat Quinn. "I'm just happy we got the two points."
Despite the defeat, it was a special night at Joe Louis Arena from the moment Bowman ambled to his familiar spot behind the bench. The fans began applauding as soon as he strolled out of the tunnel and soon they were all on their feet cheering.
"I noticed the crowd," said Bowman, who has won 1,057 games and eight Stanley Cups. "I didn't expect that. It was a nice gesture, for sure."
Sergei Berezin had two goals and onassist for Toronto, which also handed Detroit its only other loss this season. Mats Sundin, Tomas Kaberie and Steve Thomas also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Brendan Shanahan scored for Detroit, extending his goal-scoring streak to five games. Igor Larionov and Martin Lapointe also scored for the Red Wings, who made it close after falling behind 3-0 and 4-1.
"They're a Stanley Cup team, and we weren't anywhere close last year," Quinn said. "Perhaps they weren't ready to play.
The Maple Leafs were clinging to a 4-3 lead when Berezin got the clincher with 1:58 left in the game. Berezin snapped a shot over the stick of Kevin Hodson, who was making his first start of the season.
"I just felt Hodson needed to play," said Bowman, who lost 20 pounds during his rehabilitation.
Assistant coaches Barry Smith and Dave Lewis ran the team during Bowman's absence, guiding the Red Wings to a 4-1 record. Their only loss came in the season opener at Toronto.
The Red Wings, wearing their red sweaters instead of the usual home whites, hurt themselves with defensive lapses.
A mistake by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom set up Sundin's goal. Lidstrom left a drop pass just over the Toronto blue line for Steve Yzerman, but Steve Thomas picked it off and shoved the puck over to Sundin streaking the other way.
Hodson tried to stand his ground in goal, but Sundin flipped the puck over his stick into the left corner of the net with 5:48 left in the first period for his third goal.
"That wasn't nice to spoil Scotty's return," Sundin said. "But it was an important game for us. It was a nice two points for us."
Hodson made a good save on Berezin breaking in alone with 1:10 left in the first, but 26 seconds later Berezin capitalized on another defensive lapse. Hodson stopped his first shot, but Berezin snapped home his own rebound for his fourth goal and a 2-0 Toronto lead. Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph got the assist on that goal.
"We fell in the same trap as the last time we played them," Shanahan said. "We gave up a big lead early."
Kaberie's first NHL goal at 4:24 of the second made it 3-0, just two seconds after Kris Draper returned from high-sticking Alyn McCauley. Kaberie took a feed from Berezin and ripped a shot just inside the left post from the top of the right circle.
Shanahan's seventh goal, from the left circle with 2:01 left in the second, was unassisted and closed the gap to 3-1. But with 46.9 seconds remaining in the period, Thomas poked the puck past Hodson during a scramble in front of the net for his second goal and a 4-1 lead.
Larionov's first goal made it 4-2 at 4:31 of the third period and Lapointe's first goal, on a power play, made it a one-goal game with 7:04 remaining.
An apparent goal by Lapointe with 9:46 left in the second was waved off after a video review showed Yzerman was in the crease. Bowman leaned over the boards for an animated discussion wth referee Stephen Walkom after the call, but to no avail.
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