Friday, November 28, 2008


Welcome hockey fans from across this great province of ours to the Battle of Ontario Blow by Blow Round 2. Tonight's game is in Ottawa so the Leafs are sure to have the crowd in their corner. Round One was a decisive victory for the good guys, but Toronto has stumbled lately. Here's the box score from Yahoo. 11th place is on the line, so let's drop the puck...

First Period

20:00 Stajan, Antropov, and Ponikarovsky start out for the Leafs with Finger and Kubina on defence. Toskala starts in goal.

19:05 Ruutu gets jeered for a dive that, according to Joe Bowen, goes "splash". No call.

18:30 Deveaux, making his Maple Leaf debut, nearly scores on a wrap around attempt on his first shift.

16:45 The first whistle of the game. The tone of the game has been set early. Free-flowing with few disruptions or penalties.

16:20 Poni leads a good rush with a shot on goal.

16:06 Goal. Sens come back the other way and score. Toskala's positioning looks terrible, but it's actually Kaberle who sweeps Fisher's pass into his own goal. Donavon intially gets credit, but eventually it's given to Fisher.

15:07 GOAL!!! Kulemin scores, tapping home a beautiful feed at the side of the net. Grabovski was the playmaker who slid the pass across, and Hagman picks up the second assist. Once again this line comes up with an excellent counter attack and evens the score.

14:40 Foligno crashes awkwardly into Finger.

12:25 A nice play by Stempniak at the line keeps the puck in the Sens zone and the Leafs on the forecheck.

12:10 After a harmless rush up the ice, Alfredsson and Heatley have a harmless tussle with Schenn and Toskala.

11:31 Grabovski gets called for hooking.

9:31 Sens powerplay fizzles.

8:30 A Kaberle giveaway leads to a Sens chance.

8:10 A nice hit by White.

6:30 Good puck control by Finger lures Spezza into a stupid hooking penalty.

6:00 Kaberle gets a good chance off of a funny bounce but fails to get the shot away fast enough.

3:20 Finger checked off the puck in the Leafs zone leads to sustained pressure by the Sens.

2:00-1:30 Sens pressure some more but miss the net on several shots.

0:40 Spezza molests Finger for another dumb penalty. This time it's holding. The Leafs powerplay follows with good pressure to end the period but the score remains tied, 1-1.

Second Period

19:10 Still on the powerplay, Antropov has a chance but misses.

18:35 A good rush by Grabbo who fires a shot off of Auld's shoulder.

17:00 Ottawa gets away with a hit from behind. Volchenkov nails Deveaux head first into the boards. No call, play continues.

16:00 Stajan with a good chance, splitting the defence, but runs out of room and misses.

13:55 Good chance for the Sens but Toskala keeps it out and is starting to look sharp and alert.

12:15 A good shot by Kubina is saved by Auld.

11:55 At the other end, a good save by Toskala on Kelly.

11:20 A scramble in front of the Ottawa net, and then Luke Schenn nails Vermette with his head down.

11:00 An Ottawa 3-on-2 goes nowhere.

10:30 More Ottawa pressure, but Toskala looks sharp.

10:10 Ottawa has another chance and then Schenn delivers another good hit behind the net.

8:40 Mitchell takes a hit along the boards.

8:20 Foligno knocked down by Schenn.

8:05 A good defensive play by Schenn, and then a nice sace by Toskala on Heatley.

7:30 A good save by Vesa who clears the rebound nicely.

5:30 What a move by Grabbo at the Sens blue line! Spin-o-rama dipsy-doodle and dishes to Hagman for a shot on goal.

5:20 Mayers gets a shift. Haven't hardly seen him tonight, whereas Deveaux has been very present.

4:28 Moore gets hit by Jason Smith and then reacts by attacking him! Wow. What's gotten into Dominic Moore? First Finger, now Smith?

3:30 Spezza takes another retarded penalty, facewashing Niklas Hagman. In a way, I'm really glad Spezza is on the Senators because he is one of the most selfish players in the league and a real chump.

2:45 Some strong work by Deveaux in the corner.

2:25 Kubina has a shot blocked on a scoring chance. From there the second period runs out with very little excitement at either end. No goals, very few whistles, and the only penalties are for fighting and roughing. Score remains tied, 1-1.

Third Period

18:20 Sens gets the first good chance of the 3rd off a deflection by Spezza that Toskala has to make a nice save on.

17:00 Another good save by Toskala, stopping Foligno and Kelly on a 2-on-1 break. White, as the lone defender, does a nice job taking the man.

16:45 At the other end, a save by Auld, and then a quick whistle as Stajan fishes out the rebound.

16:30 Ponikarovsky stopped on a wraparound attempt.

16:20 Fisher hits Schenn pretty hard.

16:10 Poinkarovsky slams into Donovan who goes off to the dressing room.

14:45 Another good save by Tosakala on a chance set up by Vermette and Kelly.

14:20 A good hit by Mayers in the corner.

12:30 Poni gets angry on Chris Phillips. They each get roughing minors.

11:30 A nice job by Finger on a Fisher rush that goes nowhere.

10:45 Close call! Vesa squeezes the pads on a bad angle shot from Spezza.

9:35 Mayers and Ruutu yapping at with each other.

9:10 Big save, Vesa! Heatley stoned on a one timer off the side.

7:30 The refs don't call an obvious off-side when Alfie carries the puck in too slowly, and then wave off an obvious icing without a clear reason. The play just keeps going and going tonight without any whistles to slow it down.

6:20 Huge save, Toskala! Ruutu then runs him over and gets a goaltender interference penalty. Big opportunity for the Leafs on the powerplay.

5:40 Antro set up in the slot but the puck bounces over his stick.

4:55 Kulemin takes a hard hit from Jason Smith.

4:20 The penalty to Ruutu expires, game still tied, 1-1.

4:00 Grabbo has a great chance but Auld with the save.

3:15 The crowd finally wakes up.

2:15 A good chance off the draw by Antro is stopped by Auld.

1:40 Spezza wide angel shot is stopped, rebound cleared by Kubina.

1:00 Mayers with a solid hit.

0:50 Moore gets feisty with Fisher. No penalties.

0:35 Antro misses on a good chance.

The period ends. We go to 4-on-4 and a 5 minute overtime.

5:00 Hagman and Grabovski start up front for the Leafs.

3:50 A nuetral zone giveaway leads to a Sens shot on goal and a good save by Vesa.

3:20 Antro fans in the slot on a nice pass from Kaberle.

2:10 Good work by Schenn to carry the puck out of the Leafs zone and lead the rush up the ice.

1:15 A chance for Finger who misses the net.

0:40 Schenn wrist shot goes wide.

0:20 Moore comes close.

0:10 Alfie sets up Fisher who is stopped by Toskala.

Overtime ends without a winner. Up next, the dreaded shoot-out. If you actually don't yet know the final result and you've hung in there through this whole post, I'm going to spoil it for you (or put you out of your misery) now by just bluntly telling you that the Sens won. Here's how the dramatic conclusion played out:

Spezza scores.

Kulemin misses.

Heatley misses.

Stempniak misses.

Alfie scores. Game over.

The Leafs definitely deserved a point from this game, and the Sens definitely didn't deserve the 2 they did get. Toronto still leads the Senators in the Battle of Ontario, 3 points to 2, but the Sens have now caught the Leafs in the standings in a tie for tenth, and have a game in hand. The Leafs, meanwhile, have now lost 5 in a row. On the plus side, the game was a moral victory for Vesa Toskala who played a strong game and gave the Leafs every chance to win it. Hopefully, this is the start of Toskala returning to form - something positive to build on as the Leafs close out the month against Philadelphia on Saturday.

The third star, Andre Deveaux

The second star, Luke Schenn

The first star, Vesa Toskala!


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Great recap, buddy. I love the title.

Vesa was, pardon my language, fucking fantastic last night. That's the Vesa I know. That's the Vesa I love. He stopped some dangerous one-timers, going cross-crease time and time again. Just a splendid performance.

And I was impressed by Deveaux.

And I thought Schenn played a fantastic game as well. That hit was a beauty, but he did some great things with the puck on a couple of break-outs as well.

Great game all around. Shame we lost, but I'll take a 2-1 loss any day over the week over a 6-5 pond hockey style affair.

general borschevsky said...

Thanks eyebleaf. Always appreciate your comments.

Really good to see Vesa have a strong game. Losing is easier to take when you know the goalie is giving you a chance to win.