Mike Santorelli scored Toronto's second goal in the tiebreaker, and the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Santorelli, the Maple Leafs' third shooter, got the puck past Jimmy Howard to lift Toronto to its third straight win and even the season series with its Atlantic Division rival 2-2.
"We weren't at our best tonight, but we stood up to the challenge," Santorelli said after lifting his team to its first shootout win of the season.
Tyler Bozak also scored in the shootout for Toronto. Pavel Datsyuk netted the lone goal for the Red Wings in the tiebreaker.
Toronto had beaten Calgary on Tuesday night at home. Detroit hadn't played since Sunday.
"I think any time you can get points on back-to-backs, you've got to take it and run, no matter how you won," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said.
Detroit broke a scoreless tie late in the second period when Tomas Jurco flicked a rebound of his shot to Gustav Nyquist, who spun and wristed the puck past prone goalie James Reimer.
Toronto made it 1-1 early in the third when Phil Kessel tapped in James van Riemsdyk's centring pass for his 15th goal.
Reimer made 41 saves. Howard stopped 18 shots for the Red Wings, who had a three-game winning streak end.
Detroit outshot the Maple Leafs 40-16 in regulation but went to overtime after missing on several good chances, including three breakaways. Datsyuk had the best opportunity but shot high late in the first.
"I think we'll be OK with this one," Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "We've just got to bear down when we get chances."
Reimer gave up six goals in the first two periods of a Nov. 18 loss to Nashville.
"I managed to get a couple of good bounces. I hadn't been getting a lot of them," he said after his fifth win of the season. "I thought our team played great.
"I know that sounds weird if you look at the shots but they skated real hard and worked real hard."
Nyquist kept Detroit in the game late in overtime when he knocked away a puck that dribbled toward the goal line after it slid past Howard.
The many Maple Leafs fans inside Joe Louis Arena roared at the end of the first period when van Riemsdyk appeared to score at the horn, but officials quickly ruled that the puck crossed the line after time expired.
The loss dropped the Red Wings to 1-4 in shootouts this season — they've been outscored 14-3 in the tiebreaker — but coach Mike Babcock was happy to walk away with a one-point division lead over idle Tampa Bay.
"We got a point, they stole two points; but I'll take it every night," he said. "If you play like that you're going to win."
NOTES: The teams will wrap up the five-game season series Saturday in Toronto. . Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader (shoulder) missed his fifth straight game. ... Toronto forward Leo Komarov also was scratched. He has missed five straight since he sustained a concussion on Nov. 28 against Washington. ... The Maple Leafs didn't hold a morning skate on Wednesday.