Box Score | War on Ice

The Leafs' final visit to the NHL's Team of Misfit Players went badly right from the anthem. Scarborough's own Stephen Page sounded like he'd maybe overindulged last night and his own voice hurt his head.

Probably the most notable thing the Senators managed to do tonight was slow the game down. The last few games I've blinked and the period was three-quarters gone already, often without a whistle. Tonight I was sure we were at least halfway into the first only to find not even four minutes of play had passed. Ottawa didn't give up much in the way of chances early on. Anderson had one save in particular that involved a lot of gymnastics but he had fewer than 10 SOG to deal with all period.

1st Period:

Mika Zibanejad from Hoffman and Methot. He fakes the shot, Sparks commits, and Zibanejad sends it right through his legs. Not a good look for anyone in the Leafs zone but Mika on that one.

Soshnikov drew a tripping penalty on Stone, but the Leafs power play did nothing helpful. Instead, Zibanejad got his third good chance of the game. Back at 5 on 5 there were definitely a few moments where it honestly looked like the Sens were running a passing drill and/or just toying with the Leafs in the neutral zone. Whatever your opinion of the Senators general talent level, they didn't make the Leafs look good.

In the timeout before the powerplay, Milan Michalek was honoured with a tribute for his seven seasons with the Senators:

Penalties have been a rarity in the last few games, part of why they've been so quick. The Leafs managed two in rapid succession halfway through the first period. Kadri got called for tripping Lazar, which was somewhat mitigated partway through when Hoffman was sent off for slashing. Seconds after that Marincin made things worse by high-sticking a Sen right off a faceoff in the Ottawa zone, meaning the Senators not only got some 4 on 3 time, they also had quite a bit of 5 on 4 as they didn't relinquish control of the puck until they got a shot on the Leafs net.

I had some hopes after Kadri got out of the box and play was spent largely in the Ottawa zone for the end of the 4 on 4 but nothing doing. Another Leafs power play right at the end of the period (drawn by Kadri again, of course) resulted in more shorthanded chances for Ottawa. Chiaisson missed an open net and Gardiner, who really wasn't having a good game, almost ended up with an own goal on a different play.

All in all a disappointing period. The most amusing thing to happen was this:

2nd period

I was avoiding Cherry by watching some Brier coverage and checking the tennis scores so I missed the second goal of the game. In my defense, it was only 19 seconds into the period. Dear Sparks, please do not take Bernier as an example of goaltending prowess.

Cody Ceci from Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I know this is a super unpopular opinion but I think Ottawa gets underestimated, by teams who are more talented and that is when they win. This isn't "Karlsson and some plugs" this is "Karlsson, Hoffman, Stone, Zibanejad, Anderson, Phaneuf, Ryan, Pageau..." They are guys who can outwork a team and guys who can take opportunities and run with them. You can't just hand them chances and expect them not to capitalize.

Leafs to the powerplay again on a call for hooking. If Sosh was trying to sell this, it certainly didn't end well for him

As painful as it looked he was back out for the later stages of the resulting power play. The Leafs kept setting up the point man for one-timers on their power plays whenever they could and it just was not working. Surely there's more than one strategy in their playbook?

Probably the best Leafs chance of the game came on another power play. With Chiaisson off for high sticking, Kadri and Soshnikov carried the puck into the offensive zone with some give-and-go and Kadri's shot was so close to going in he had his stick up in the air for a second before he realized play was still going.

Chris Simpson promoted the Clarkson Cup just before the third period so I will too - the Calgary Inferno will take on the Montreal Canadiennes at 4pm Eastern on Sunday afternoon at the Canadian Tire Centre for what I can promise will be better hockey than the arena saw tonight. Winner takes all and it will be live on the main Sportsnet channel for Canadians or on for those outside of Canada. There are a number of PPPers in Ottawa this weekend (writing things like this) so you'll also see coverage here as well.

3rd period

Hope for the third died pretty quickly as Sparks let in another early goal.

Zack Smith is having a career year, pity for him that it's not in a contract year.

Brooks Laich made the unwise decision to block a Phaneuf slapshot with his foot. "Here comes Connor Brown" was the commentary when he limped off. He was back in the game a few minutes later but I suspect the Leafs training staff just couldn't get the skate off his foot and asked if he wanted to keep playing. We'll see if there's another rookie debut in the next game or so.

In case anyone was wondering if Mark Stone's rookie year was some sort of fluke, he scored his 22nd of the season to make it 4-0:

There was no late Leafs push in this one, the last few minutes were all Ottawa and Craig Anderson earned a 29 save shutout on the night. The Sens also swept the season series for the first time since the 2000-01 season. For all that I think the Sens are better than a lot of Leafs fans like to believe, I would not bank on them doing it again next year.


  • Rinat Valiev made his debut wearing number 29, last worn by Leafs great... TJ Brennan. Hint to anyone wanting to buy baby Leafs jerseys this season... that number's gonna change and so is the logo so if you don't have cash to burn maybe hold off til next season.
  • Gardiner just was not having a great night, he tripped right off one faceoff, got beat on a goal, nearly own-goaled, the list goes on.
  • Michalek showed some hustle, he seemed to be carrying the puck into the Ottawa zone rather a lot.
  • Soshnikov continued to be noticeable, not only drawing penalties but occasionally controlling the play. He also had another loud ping off the crossbar, but this one didn't make it in.
  • Sparks seemed to be really high in his crease for most of the Ottawa goals. I can't help but wonder if that's a tendency that teams are going to / have already started to take note of and capitalize on.