Toronto and Ottawa resumed their rivalry last night, and so for the grand historical significance of the occasion, I've covered the game for anyone who didn't get to see it, or for the rest of you that want to relive it again and again. Here's the Battle of Ontario Blow by Blow, also known as the BoOBbB, round 1.
One minute in. Neil gets a piece of Stajan and Schenn goes after him. They have a scrap and Schenn looks awesome. Neil comes out of it allright, but the rest of his NHL career is about to get a lot more painful, and a lot shorter.
Bad choice Neil. There will be payback.
First shot for the Leafs goes to Kulemin. Are you playing SPG? Don't ask why. Just do it, okay, who cares why!
Two minutes, 15 seconds in,, Vermette is stopped on a breakaway. Shortly after at the other end Steen is set up nicely by Blake and stopped by Auld.
4 minutes in. Poni takes a hit to get the puck in deep and then Antro does some bangin' down low. Strong play from those two.
5 and a half minutes. Some nice defending by Van Ryn. 45 seconds later, Blake's hard forechecking leads to a good shot from the point.
6 and a half minutes gone. Moore is hauled down. Ottawa penalty Volchenkov goes for clipping(?).
The powerplay had an early drive but then looked slow and lethargic, starting with Kaberle's lazy retrieval of a puck down the ice.
At the half way point of the period, Schenn is looking great and leading the way.
11:30. Great save Tosakla on Alfie in close and then Alfie takes a stupid holding penalty shortly after. The powerplay is again weak. Stajan does okay digging behind the net, but Van Ryn didn't look focused at the point.
Next shift, a beautiful pass by Kaberle up the middle to Grabovski, who is stopped on a breakaway.
Another good shift for the Blake line. Jason Smith nails Moore and gets called for a cross-checking penalty.
6 minutes left in the first. Leafs are 75% on face-offs so far.
14:14. GOAL!!! Taken it to the net! Blake makes a nice play at the side of the net to get the puck in front, and a good crash by Van Ryn and Moore. Dominic Moore gets his second of the year, on the powerplay, from Van Ryn and Blake.
With three minutes remaining in the first, Sens put together a decent shift against the Hagman-Grabovski-Kulemin line.
18:15. Good hit by Steen.
18:45 More pressure by the Sens leads to their first powerplay. Stralman goes off for hooking. (He had a good goal Thursday, but I am surprised he's getting so much playing time over Carlo)
Period ends. Overall a very good first 20 minutes for the Leafs. Shots were 21-9! Faceoffs, 14-3! Wow. Moore leads the way with 4 shots, 1 goal, while 13 different Leafs also had at least one shot on net that period.
First minute. The penalty to Stralman expires and he steps out of the box and into a breakaway, but has his shot stopped.
Next shift features some nice passing by Schenn, Kaberle, Antropov, Ponikarovski, and Stajan.
2 minutes, 15 seconds. GOAL!!! Grabovski from Hagman. Stralman nearly loses it at the line but then kept the puck in and threw it deep to pick up the other assist. Kulemin doesn't get an assist but made a really nice play to protect the puck until it got to Hagman behind the goal. Grabovski's skot was like a comet to the top corner.
4:06. Goal. Mitchell loses his stick in the defensive zone, and then a point shot is deflected. Donovan from Picard and Kuba. Boo.
4:42. Penalty to Ottawa. Volchenkov for hooking. The powerplay for Toronto has some okay pressure but no goal. Should have been another penalty to Ottawa on a Hagman takedown.
7 minutes played in the 2nd. Shots are 9-2 for the Leafs so far in this period (30-11 overall).
The Blake-Moore line again with some pressure. Seems like the Leafs have 3 good lines going tonight.
8 and a half minutes. The 4th line gets some ice time and pressures Ottawa. Leafs controlling the play through the first half of the 2nd.
10:20. Stralman throws a hit.
10:50. Kulemin-Hagman-Grabovski hemmed in. First poor Leaf shift in a while.
14 minute 45 seconds. Mayers and Neil get the crowd going but don't scrap. Mayers drops his gloves, but Neil won't go. Coward. Shortly after, Neil shoves Grabovski into Toskala and receives a 10-minute misconduct.
11 seconds later, Moore gets a holding penalty. Ottawa fails to score or get a good chance. Stajan does a nice job on the penalty kill. Moore then gets a chance in the slot with 2:45 remaining in the period.
With a minute and 8 seconds left, Antropov draws an Ottawa penalty, Schubert for interference. The powerplay really goes nowhere, and the period ends.
Shots 33-13. Face-offs 24-7. The goals advantage is only by one, 2-1.
The good pace to the game continues and the first six minutes of the 3rd go by quickly. Steen has the only early chance.
6 minutes, 45 seconds, Toskala makes a great save, and Finger does a good job clearing the puck.
7:40. Antropov leads a nice rush.
10 minutes left. Back and forth, but neither team with any solid pressure. Leafs are doing a good job of limiting the Senator's attack. Shots are 4-3 for the Sens in the 3rd at this point, 36-17 for the Leafs overall.
11:30. Good shoulder by Finger! His name still sounds weird but he's lookin' allright.
7 minutes left. Another nice pass from Kaberle and Blake is away on a breakaway but then loses the puck.
37 seconds later. Good pressure. Antropov shot - rebound, Pony! GOAL!!! Complete phantom assist for Stajan, who led the rush, stopped just inside the blue line and then had his shot deflect wildly off the glass, behind the net. Antropov picks it up, skates around to the slot, and throws the puck at the net where Poni bangs it in. Leafs lead by 2, 3-1.
Under 5 minutes. Blake throws a hit?! Then Kubina throws a hit. That's more like it. Ottawa's pressure is all on the perimeter.
Blake's hustle with 2 and a half minutes to go leads to a Sens' penalty. Phillips goes to the box for hooking, and that's pretty much it for Ottawa. Great work, Blake.
55 seconds left. Ouch! Ugly short-handed goal by the Senators cuts the lead to one, 3-2. McAmmond banks it in off of Van Ryn's skate, who goes bezerk on his stick and chops it in two. How huge is that Poni goal now? Or the Phillips penalty?
30 seconds. Woweee! Mad scramble and then a lot of pushing and shoving. Spezza gets a little aggressive with Scehnn. I guess Emery wasn't the only player on the Senators lookin' to sabotage their own career. Spezza's is done for.
10 seconds. Senators win an important face-off and Heatley has a chance, but hits Toskala with the puck and it bounces away. Finger clears the puck and the Leafs win!
Two in a row!
My Three Stars:
The third star, Alexei Ponikarovsky
The second star, Jason Blake
The first star, Luuuuuuuke Schenn!!!
Overall, a very satisfying game. There's a box score here. It's always fun when the Leafs beat Ottawa, but tonight it was nice to see the Leafs come together and show some real confidence. Blake really rebounded with a strong effort, Toskala had 22 saves for the win, and several key players, including Moore, Antropov, Kaberle, and Kubina, had strong games. There's still long way to go for both the Leafs and the Senators, but right now, I'd so much rather be us then them. We're four points ahead of them in the standings, but more importantly, we have Luke Schenn - they have a funny lookin' zero on their shoulder.