Ring the Bell, it’s a knockout
Forward lines:: Frattin-Bozak-Kessel, MacArthur-Grabovski-Crabb, Lombardi-Steckel-Connolly, Rosehill-Armstrong-Brown
Defence pairings: Phaneuf-Komisarek, Liles-Franson, Gardiner-Schenn
Goaltenders: Scrivens Scrivens (Loss, 58:49 minutes played, 23 saves 3 GA), Gustavsson (0:00)
Is Quincy available, Da Vinci? We’ve got a body on our hands.
Heck, Klugman or Campbell might do for this sorry lot.
The Toronto Maple Leafs lost the last game of the season to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre, clinching the fifth overall spot before the lottery proceedings. With around an eight percent chance to move up into the first spot the Leafs are likely to retain the pick they have with an outside chance at moving down a spot too.
Tank Nation rejoice, visions of Yakupov’s and Galchenyuk’s dancing in your head. The draft lottery will be held on Tuesday April 10 and televised live on TSN at 8pm Eastern time.
Before we break out the scalpels and crack a few knuckles dissecting this corpse, let’s start at the beginning of the end, a play that left me agog thinking of the Harlan Ellison short story “I have no mouth and I must scream.”
A 3-on-5 shorthanded goal against at 3:20 of the first period. Wow, hockey jeebus surely delivered on that one, depending on who you are and whether you believe in the supreme tanker. Granted, a bad bounce for rookie Jake Gardiner was tough. But his partner, captain Dion Phaneuf, was cheating and couldn’t cover.
It was a moment that kind of described the whole Leaf season; not enough attention to defence, cheating for offence, no support from the goalie. To be fair it was a breakaway goal, but Scrivens could have been stronger on the play. There wasn’t even a shot; goal scorer Tomas Plekanec whiffed at the end, didn’t touch the puck and it just slid through Ben Scrivens’ legs.
The Leafs seemed to chase all night after that, never really establishing their game, if we even know what that is at this point.
Mike Komisarek, in another hilarious display of hockey acumen, had to dive back to the bench after a faulty change would have given the Habs a power-play for too many men if he’d stayed on. In the end, it didn’t matter one way or the other much like the rest of Mike’s stay in Toronto. Max Pacioretty scored on the play giving Montreal a 2-0 lead.
Phaneuf made the game a little interesting, getting a goal twenty-five seconds into the third period on a one-timer from Mikhail Grabovski who was aptly creating time and space. The Leafs seemed to respond, say, like a jolt of electricity through a dead body. But less than four minutes later Erik Cole returned the two-goal cushion for the Habs. On a heads up play, Cole dashed around a slow footed Cody Franson and put the biscuit high on Scrivens.
In an appropriate bookend to the game, Brad Staubitz scored his first goal of the year to seal the deal with less than two minutes to go, giving the Habs a three-goal lead. In fact it was his ninth goal in 215 games in the NHL, coming off a blitz play in front of the Montreal net with Scrivens out for an extra blue and white attacker.
The puck sailed practically the full length of the rink and that was it. Season over, pathetic opening goal, fitting closer.
Is it possible to nominate a Czech born Hab goalie for president of Tank Nation? If so, I nominate Peter Budaj who was the main difference in the game last night. That Ned Flanders mask has to come in handy at times, Budaj was okely-dokely earning the third star, though he was probably better than that. The Leafs managed 31 shots on net but never really seemed to have any bite in the game.
Montreal really had nothing to lose, their lottery pick secure in the third overall spot before the puck dropped. Good thing they didn’t need their cowboy, Carey Price, decked out like a lame gunslinger before the game. Ned Budaj had his back.
And so that’s it. That’s all to a forgettable season. Time for the Burke braintrust to hit the ground running and make some hay while the sun is shining. This is going to be a crucial off-season for them and one wonders where they’ll even begin.
Scratch the medical examiners table booking, it’s too late for that. We may have to bring in Bones on this one. After all, the decomp is already starting to stink up the joint and we don’t want it wafting down the road to infect anyone else.
Go Marlies go!
S-Mo is a Leafs fan and hockey homer in the form of an aggregate artist/writer/human being.