Sunday, January 4, 2009


Welcome, once again, Leaf fans, to the 3rd round of the Battle of Ontario, and our blow-by-blow account of the action. Every hit (almost), every save (yawn), every scoring chance (well, sort of) is recorded here for you so that you can relive every moment of this magnificent and historical series between the Eastern Conference's 11th and 12th best teams.

A boxscore.

Tonight's game is Appreciation The Army Night at the ACC, so everyone is jacked up and ready to kill. Let's drop the puck and start the...

First Period

19:43 Spezza gets a slashing penalty for what should have been an attempt to spear, while Dominic Mooore gets sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. The call against Moore makes no sense.

18:00 Kaberle is hit hard by Vermette

15:06 A cheap interference call against Jeff Finger. Ottawa goes to the powerplay.

14:10 Another cheap penalty as Alfredsson is cross-checked by Kubina. Leafs 2 men down.

13:30 Nice save Toskala.

12:55 Ottawa Goal. Heatley's shot off the post is collected by Spezza who circles and finds Alfredson for a one-timer to make it 1-0 for the Senators. A powerplay goal.

11:45 A good hit thrown by Jeff Finger behind the net.

10:45 Gerber has to make a good save on a hard shot from the point by Ian White.

9:30 Hagman tripped up, no penalty.

8:30 A chance for Moore in the slot but he can't get the shot away.

8:15 Hollweg and Neil chatting a little.

7:47 Leaf powerplay. Fisher goes off for cross=checking.

6:19 The powerplay mostly fizzles but then White has a shot that just misses and Antro and Poni fall over each other going after the puck at the side of the goal. Meanwhile, Mitchell knocks the net off from the other side and Gerber gets a penalty for delay of game to put the Sens down 2 men. Hartsburg is pissed.

6:00 Leafs have 2 shots blocked and don't do anything with the 2-man advantage.

4:45 Toskala has to make a blocker save on a dangerous short-handed rush.

4:15 Powerplay ends. Mayers, Newbury, and Hollweg come over the boards.

3:25 A slow whistle as Toskala freezes the puck leads to pushing and shoving. Mayers, Newbury and Hollweg are in the middle of it as Frogren supervises. Heatley and Newbury each get minors.

3:00 Sifers gets a shot away and hits a Senator at the same time.

2:30 Spezza and Phillips 2-on-1. Phillips beats Toskala, but misses the net.

2:00 A chance for Kaberle is stopped by Gerber and then Spezza has another chance stopped by Vesa at the other end as the game opens up briefly.

1:40 Frogren throws a nice hit along the boards.

A fairly messy 1st period comes to an end without much excitement. Lots of penalties, and not a lot of flow or quality chances.

2nd Period

18:00 No real chances through the first 2 minutes. Very tight checking to start.

17:30 Chance for Kelly in the slot is blocked.

15:15 A chance for Heatley from the side of the goal, save Toskala.

13:30 Still not much happening as the teams have both settled into defensive postures, unable to put more then 2 passes together.

12:40 The Newbury, Mayers, Hollweg combo is out again and Otttawa carries the play in the Leafs' zone for a shift.

12:07 Phillips get his hands up against Grabovski. Roughing penalty. Leafs go to the powerplay.

11:30 Stempniak and Hagman set up a good chance.

10:55 Antro throws a hit.

10:13 GOAL!!! Moore scores! Jason Blakes runs himself into the boards and the puck comes out, but Volchenkov skates past it and Moore is left alone and beats Gerber. Game tied, 1-1. Blake and White get assists.

10:00 A chance for Ottawa, but Alfie misses off a scramble in front.

9:50 Grabovski with a nice solo effort but is stopped but Gerber.

9:30 Finger sends the puck in deep and then knock a man over.

8:30 Blake with a backhand wraparound attempt that comes close.

8:00 Fisher knocks his man over and then White and Foligno push and shove and Ruutu comes and over and starts yapping.

7:00 Hagman has a dangerous shot stopped by Gerber.

6:47 Frogren puts the Viking death-grip on Ruutu! Grabovski and Lee start a big scrum that sends six players to the box, 3 for either team. Frogren is awesome. He just dominated Ruutu to the ice with one hand just by holding his sweater. A double minor to Phillips is the extra penalty and the Leafs go to the powerplay.

6:00 No Goal. Kaberle's shot is blocked and then kicked in by Blake. This is so obvious. terrible play.

(Side note:When the referee anounces his decision over the PA to the crowd I find it kind of lame. It's much more dramatic when the referee just skates away from the box and either waves his arms for no goal or points at centre ice.

5:00 McAmmond and Fisher with a short-handed chance.

4:50 Fisher again has another chance short-handed.

4:30 Antropov, at the side of the goal, is stopped by Gerber.

3:20 Gerber drops his stick for no reason chasing a puck behind the goal. Seems to rattle the Sens who are hemmed in for 30 seconds.

2:10 Good pressure by Blake, Moore, Stempniak, and White, but poor execution.

1:30 Alfredsson is hit by Finger at centre ice.

1:10 Mayers has a chance but is stopped by Gerber.

1:00 A hard shot by Frogren gets through traffic and hits Gerber, no rebound.

:30 High shot by Kelly, stopped by Toskala

:15 Neal and Poni colide along the boards and Grabbo gets caught beside them and goes down, kicked in the gut by Poni's skate. Could have been a lot worse.

:05 Spezza has a huge chance with Toskala way out of the net but freezes behind the goal.

Period ends. Definitely the second half of the period was way better. More hits, better flow, players were taking the puck to the net on both sides. Aside from the last ten seconds, Vesa has looked pretty solid.

3rd Period

19:15 Volchenkov shot cmoes close, bounces off a couple of legs, cleared by Kaberle.

18:30 Antro runs over Neil from behind and gets a penalty for roughing.

18:00 Heatley's chance is stopped by Toskala and Spezza can't stuff in the rebound.

17:50 Blake, short-handed, nearly gets a goal from behind the net.

17:30 Vermette's shot is stopped by Toskala and the puck lands on top of the net. Finger gets a cross-checking penalty for for running over Vermette from behind. 2-man advantage for Ottawa.

16:42 Alfie end-to-end rush, nearly scores. The puck goes under Toskala who falls back into his net. Awesome job by Vesa to keep the puck out. Lots of pushing and shoving around the goal afterwards - White and Ruutu again. Both go to the box for roughing.

16:00 Fisher stopped y Toskala.

15:15 Foligno shot misses. Ottawa continues to pressure after the penalties have expired.

14:20 Blake nearly ices it, nut the puck goes on goal and the Leafs get to change.

13:40 Volchenkov is hit by Antro and he's down and hurt. Got his arm caught the wrong way between the hit and the boards and he won't be coming back.

13:10 Great rush and a spin pass by Grabbo to Hagman, who hits the post. Leafs continue to pressure.

12:30 A chance for the Senators but no one can control the bouncing puck.

12:06 Foligno runs over Toskala and Kubina gets a holding penalty. Terrible call.

11:20 Spezza, at the side of the goal, is stopped by Toskala.

9:57 GOAL!!! Kubina comes out of the box and jumps on a loose puck, then sets up Poni who fires it past Gerber from the slot. 2-1, Leafs. Great play. Great shot. Great Karma.

9:10 Grabbo has a chance but just misses wide. Hagman gets a shot on goal, and then Blake gets another shot.

8:30 White throws a big hit and the crowd responds.

8:15 Blake steals the puck in the neutral zone for a partial-breakaway chance but misses with the backhand over the net.

6:40 Spezza gets another chance but can't beat Toskala.

5:00 Ruutu hits White pretty hard behind the Leafs' goal. Looked like he got his leg.

4:09 GOAL!!! Jason Blake finally proves that if you put the puck on net, something good is bound to happen eventually in all mathematical probability. Gerber can't catch the initial shot, and then Blake grabs the rebound and scores on the wraparound. Unassisted goal. Leafs lead is 3-1.

3:23 White gets under Fisher for a nice hip-check, and then Neil jumps White. Good for Kaberle, who could've gotten a 3rd-man-in penalty except that he did it so gently he gets away with it and the refs simply jump in as well and break up the fight. Neil gets 4 minutes and White gets 2. Leafs go on the powerplay.

1:23 The penalty ends without any chances.

1:05 Ottawa pulls Gerber.

:23 Not much pressure from Ottawa. Toskala clears a loose puck himself.

:05 Kubina misses the empty net, but time runs out. No chances for Ottawa in the final minute. Leafs win, 3-1. 

Shots were 31-30 in favour of Ottawa. Both teams 1-for-5 on the powerplay. Moore's goal was the turning point that seemed to get the Leafs' legs going and the crowd into it. Blake had a strong game and really hustled in the 3rd period. Toskala was sharp all night, while White, Frogren, Kubina, Kaberle, and Finger all stood out with solid efforts. Sifers only played less then seven minutes so I don't know if he was injured or not, but the other 5 played really well with the extra ice time. The Leaf forwards also worked hard tonight, more so it seemed, as the game went on.

The Third Star

Another solid performance from Jonas Frogren and an amazing demonstration of Viking power. Over 20 minutes of ice time earns him 3rd star recognition.

The Second Star

Jason Blake was all over the ice in the 3rd period and it looked like his energy was contagious. Set a fine veteran example tonight and was rewarded with a big insurance goal.

The First Star

Vesa Toskala was nearly perfect tonight, stopping 30 of 31 shots, good enough to make him the first star on most nights, but at home on a Saturday, against the Senators, it's a performance that is greatly appreciated well beyond the two points earned in the standings.

The Leafs now lead the Battle of Ontario, 2 games 1, and 5 points to 2, and lead the Senators in the standings by 7 points! Until next time.... Go! Leafs! Go!


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Ottawa is seriously garbage.

Down Goes Brown said...

Moore's unsportsmanlike penalty was for doubling over like a menstrating girl even though Spezza barely touched him.

Remember when the Leafs didn't dive or flop around? I guess they learned something from Ottawa after all.

blurr1974 said...

great recap general.

Blake is really starting to get things going. good for him.

Moore is obviously going to have the best year of his career. he and Blake have a real good chemistry and play a similar game. small, fast and feisty. I'm liking that line even more once Williams comes back...

general borschevsky said...

@eyebleaf: They really are garbage. They should be having a firesale and rebuilding. Murray has done a horrible job as GM since taking over from Muckler.

@DGB: I thought the unsportsmanlike was for initiating the incident with Spezza. Maybe it was for doubling over but I don't think he over-embellished it too much. Spezza should have been thrown out of the game for making a spearing motion, even if it doesn't make contact. If Moore's menstruating girl act can make that happen 17 seconds into the game, it's not a bad play. As long as he doesn't use actual blood.

@blurr: Thanks a lot. Blake is having a much improved season from last year. Hope he keeps it up. Don't forget about Van Ryn. If he can fully recover, maybe Ian White can move back up to forward and play with Blake and Moore again.

Down Goes Brown said...

If Moore's menstruating girl act can make that happen 17 seconds into the game, it's not a bad play. As long as he doesn't use actual blood.

Kerry Fraser would still miss the call.