Battle of Ontario ends in Irish wake
Forward lines: : MacArthur-Bozak-Kessel, Ashton-Grabovski-Frattin, Connolly-Steckel-Crabb, Rosehill-Lombardi-Armstrong
Defence pairings: Gunnarsson-Phaneuf, Liles-Komisarek, Gardiner-Schenn
Goaltenders: Reimer (Win, 60:00 minutes played, 29 saves, 1 GA) Gustavsson (0:00)
Did yez ever know a Bella-Irishian that didn’t love to fight?
It was Ottawa coach Paul MacLean’s comments Saturday morning that led to a robust response from the incoming enemies in the battle of Ontarians – Albertans, Belarusians, even Americans On the day when all are Irish the old trope, the belligerent Leprechaun, seemingly raised its head and transformed a Leafs ‘squad’ into a band of brothers.
One wonders at the influence of coach Carlyle here. This was an unusual response. Leaf ‘truculence’ normally tossed on the pile of ‘forgotten approaches’.
“To me this is the way the game is played every night,” coach Carlyle said.
Mikhail Graboski takes on Chis Neil? Clarke MacArthur fights Sergei Gonchar? Tim Connolly for roughing?
Something’s afoot in Leafland. Is this a sign of things to come? Carlyle’s slap on Timmy’s back a footing in the balustrade leading to the Eastern facing basement exit?
Maybe next year. Right now the Leafs are closer to a lottery pick than the dance.
In reality, all it likely took was a pointed reference to an offhand morning forecast by MacLean; ”The games haven’t been as truculent as they might have been in the past … more skill now.”.
James Reimer banished the snakes and arrows for the most part with another strong effort. He truly deserved the shutout as the smeagol marker came after Komisarek had obviously been slapped in the face with a high stick by the eventual Ottawa goal scorer, Colin Greening.
Schenn, Komisarek and most of the Leafs team provided solid moxie when it mattered, claiming some victims when called upon, and throwing shapes in grand ‘Ontarian’ fashion in times of need.
The first provided some interesting matchups and a call on Carter Ashton for goalie interference was questionable.
Tim Connolly was credited for an Ottawa ‘own goal’ by darling Erik Karlsson early in the second. True it was an effort by Connolly but Ben Bishop was just too darn big on the play.
Fireworks would erupt and see the remainder of the period alight from physical play; Grabovski tossed for violating a Cardinal sin – having an untied jersey in his scrap with Chris Neil. Skill and speed to the rescue!
Phil Kessel drew a penalty and read the power-play beautifully, scoring the game winner while foreshadowing the eventual insurance goal in his dash to the right across the ice early in the third period.
Steckel got the slew foot and the gate for holding shortly after. The Leafs penalty-kill survived this and a Phaneuf mistake leading to a golden moment.
With his team being called for too many men, Daniel Alfredsson took a slashing penalty for his whack on Komisarek after some mild physical play, leading to a two-minute five-on-three for the Leafs.
Phil Kessel cut to the right feeding Phaneuf for his tenth of the year for the Leafs second power-play goal on the night. The Senators had six minutes of life at that point.
Colin Greening scored the shutout buster against Reimer, but that was all she wrote.
The Leafs had 17 more blocked shots on the game and a goalie that mattered, and won the special teams assignments too.
Some ‘statements’ were made here for the Leafs.
S-Mo is a Leafs fan and hockey homer in the form of an aggregate artist/writer/human being.