Yes, the Battle of Ontario is still a rivalry, and yes, we're still doing the Blow-by-Blow.
The last meeting between these two team was perhaps the Leafs low-point of the season. Since then, both teams have played 13 games and while the Senators have chugged along cosistently with a 7-5-1 record, picking up 15 points, the Leafs have turned a corner and have put together an impressive 8-3-2 record over the same span for 18 points. Consider also, when these teams last met the Sens record was already 8-6-3 while the Leafs were an abominable 3-10-5. Clearly, much has changed as these teams meet for the third time this year, Sens leading the season series already 2-0.
Toskala starts, his 5th consecutive.
19:45 Senators get the first shot on net.
19:00 Stempniak shot on goal, turned aside.
17:45 Ruutu with a long shot on goal.
17:20 Good save Toskala on a backhand shot from in close.
17:00 3 minutes without a whistle to start the game.
16:49 Kessel draws a slash. Volchenkov goes in the box.
14:50 Penalty ends. Not a single chance for the Leafs with the man-advantage.
13:15 Break in the action after a Leafs shot on goal is held for a face-off. Not much going on in the first 6 and a half minutes. Everybody's skating really fast but not much is developing.
12:20 Two offsides in a row. ACC crowd is quiet.
12:10 An icing.
11:55 A shot on goal! Jason Blake from a bad angle.
10:45 Good chance for the Leafs but Kulemin and Stemniak can't find the puck.
10:15 Mad scramble! Toskala soemhow keeps it out and a hand pass by the Senators stops play.
8:40 Exelby taken heavily into the boards as the Sens pressure the Leafs in their zone.
7:30 White with a good bump on Foligno.
7:15 Toskala well out of his net to make a shoulder save on a point shot.
5:39 Penalty. Leafs get tagged for two many men on the ice.
4:25 Stempniak with a nice defensice play and then nearly gets a chance the other way shorthanded.
2:40 Penalty killed.
2:00 Pace continues but no real chances for either team.
1:05 Two point shots by Finger and Beauchemin are blocked by Sens defenders. Could've been dangerous if either had gotten through.
:50 Toskala way out of his net to make another save.
:15 Another good save by Toskala on a high shot from the slot.
:05 Blake carries the rebound up the ice and leads the rush, passing to Grabbo who misses the net, seconds before the buzzer. Period ends.
(Hagman at the First Period intermission, trying to think of positives: "At least we're not down 2-0.")
19;40 Toskala makes another good save against Alfredsson to start the period.
19:10 Beauchemin gets his stick on Alfie's shot, sending it into the crowd to break up a 2-on-1. Blocked shots and deflections have been the story of the game so far.
17:55 Cheechoo knocked down by Exelby.
17:45 GOAL!!! Blake racing down the wing gets a backhand along the ice to go through Elliott's legs. Soft goal for the Ottawa goaltender. Finger and XLB with the assists.
17:20 Fight! Orr vs. Carkner. Orr goes down with Carkner on top of him but I don't think either of them had good footing as the fight lasted a matter of seconds.
17:00 Komisarek runs into his man.
15:30 Stempniak just misses the net with a shot.
14:40 Komisarek shot, Grabbo on the rebound, robbed by Elliott.
13:25 Ottata shot on goal and Toskala finds the puck in his glove and can't believe it. Nearly four minutes without a whistle on that last sequence.
12:00 Beauchemin's shot deflects just wide.
10:30 Stempniak, Primeau just miss on back-to-back chances in front of the goal.
10:10 Big hit on Ruutu by Finger.
9:50 Stajan's high shot stopped by Elliott.
9:36 Penalty. Two many men on the ice for the Leafs. Again.
8:30 Wallin shows some soccer skills and kicks the puck out of the zone on the PK.
7:35 Penalty ends. Leafs 2 for 2 on the PK.
6:53 Goal. Foligno has a great chance in front stopped by Toskala but Fisher on the rebound strips the puck from Kaberle and scores. 1-1. Boo.
5:54 GOAL!!! Kessel breakaway! Scores! What a shot. Top corner. Beauty goal. Slick goal-scorer's goal. Leafs back out in front, 2-1.
5:25 Spezza lifts one over the net from the side of the goal.
5:00 Solid "Go! Leafs! Go!" chant. First of the game.
4:15 Komisarek with a good hit on Foligno.
3:45 Kovalev stopped by Toskala.
2:45 Good hit by Poni at centre-ice.
2:15 Poni breakaway but he loses the handle before he gets a shot.
1:50 Blake dodges two hits to gain the zone then makes a nice play from his knees to get the puck back to the point.
:00 Poni hits Cheechoo who deliberately left his back open and stops a foot from the glass then smashes face first into it on contact. Seems like an obvious attempt to draw a penalty. Ruutu jumps Poni and a scrum ensues. No idea what the penalties will be here. Period ends.
(Phil Kessel is awesome. The Leafs are awesome.)
20;00 Poni and Ruutu get the only penalties, 2 each for roughing. No penalty for the hit on Cheechoo. 4-on-4 hockey to start the Third.
19:17 Penalty. Holding the stick, called agaisnt Stajan. 4-on-3 for a mintue fifteen.
18:48 Goal. Crap. Spezza ties the game, sweeping the puck through Vesa's legs. 2-2. Powerplay goal. 4-on-4 again.
18:10 Grabbo has a chance denied.
17:00 Kulemin just misses on the short side and the Finger is run into hard by Ruutu and immediately goes to bench.
14:50 Quick Kessel shot, immediately off the draw, good save Elliott.
14:20 Stajan's shot from the slot stopped by Elliott.
13:50 GOAL!!! Beauchemin one-timer from the point bounces through traffic and past Elliott. Leafs lead, 3-2. Looked like Grabovski provided the screen and may have tipped it, but the goal is credited to Beauchemin.
13:10 Komisarek takes Kovalev's head off! No Senators respond. Bunch of gutless pukes. Seriously. Nothing. No response. Komisarek nearly decapitates Kovalev along the boards with a borderline elbow and all the Senators skate the other way. From the bench, Kovalev yells at the referee that it was an elbow.
12:40 Oh! Poni nearly gets one through on a dandy rush. Cleared away at the line by Phillips.
10;30 Ruutu with a dirty knee on Stempniak. No call.
9:35 Blake steals the puck in the nuetral zone but then has his shot deflect into the crowd.
8:00 Alfredsson shot from the high slot with a man in front, good save Toskala deflecting the puck into an open corner. Nothing flashy about that save but that was an excellent stop and rebound control by Vesa.
6:50 Blake to Grabbo in front, almost connects.
4:55 Stajan off a turnover, hard shot in the slot, stopped by Elliott.
3:20 Great chance for the Leafs. Grabbo, Kulemin, Blake scramble for a loose puck.
2:20 Loose puck in front of the Leafs goal, cleared by Komi.
2:10 Poni drives to the net the other way.
1:10 Beauchemin clears the zone with a minute ten to go.
:45 Spezza shot stopped.
:35 Goal. Puck is in the net. Referee waving it off immediately. Kicked in by #18, Winchester through Vesa's legs. Play under review. Call stands. No goal. Still 3-2. Things are finally going the Leafs way again.
:20 White clears the puck down the ice for icing. Spezza hops into the dressing room. Senators time-out. 18 seconds on the clock.
:05 White clears it all the way down the ice and just misses the empty goal by an inch, but now it's just an icing and a face-off in the Leafs zone.
:00 Sens win the draw and get a shot on goal but Toskala is there and then the game ends. Leafs win, 3-2. Excellent victory for the Leafs, their fourth win in a row on home ice.
XLB had one of his best games as a Leaf. A plus 3, with 2 assists, Exelby and Finger were strong early in the game, and after the hit that took Finger off the ice, Exelby picked up the tempo even more, combining solid defensive play with a strong physical game.
Grabovski was all over the ice tonight, especially in the 2nd Period, and Wilson rewarded him with a ton of ice-time in the 3rd. Despite the game-winning goal being credited to Beauchemin and having a personal 6-game point streak snapped, Grabbo had one of his best games of the season.
Komisarek was a tower of power in the Leafs zone and sent a serious message with his hit on Kovalev in the 3rd. I didn't really notice Kovalev after that, not to mention Alfredsson, Fisher, Ruutu, Foligno, or Kelly. After that they all just kind of disappeared. Spezza appeared - one second too late to tap in a puck that was kicked and would have tied the game. And it's the kind of aggressive defending Komisarek showed that causes star players on opposing teams to be one second behind, and tonight it made a big difference. Great job, Mike Komisarek.
Go! Leafs! Go!