Leafs 2 v. senators 3: Rage Blackout
As I watched this game with a large group of friends the story of this game shifted frequently. After a first period that saw the Leafs absolute dominate the senators the frustratingly great play of Ray Emery was in the spotlight. As the game progressed, the dual brain cramps of Mssrs. Kaberle and McCabe came to the fore. The shorthanded goal that Ottawa scored was galling enough because it came while the Leafs had a chance to build on their slim lead. Toss in the fact that Kaberle gave up on the chase and ignored the goal scorer McAmmond and that McCabe not only did not take a man but was curling into the corner when the senators strike and any observers of our little gathering would have heard a stream of colourful expletives filling the room. Luckily only one young lady fell victim and she seemed to enjoy her exposure to the fanatical side of sports.
The game morphed into a tightly contested battle in which Raycroft matched Emery save for save as the game seemingly moved towards overtime. The story quickly became how Raycroft had, with a stunning glove save on Dany Heatley which was turned into a Boyd Devereaux goal by Bates Battaglia, stolen the game from the senators. After waiting so long since the third period of the 4-1 win over Buffalo earlier in the season Razor had finally stepped up with the sort of performance that would go a long way towards rebuilding the confidence that he showed prior to hurting his groin in November. Alas, a defensive play with two minutes remaining that can only be described by a word that starts with 'cluster' took the game to overtime. Of course, Chris Phillips, who I have spent so much time mocking over at BoO, fanned on a shot and wrong-footed Raycroft for the winning goal. It has since been labelled a 'soft' goal by the anti-Raycroft media. I guess he will learn not to snub reporters that ask stupid questions ever again.
Sadly, the senators win another regular season matchup (how's that playoff record?) and, in a rare state of affairs, they did not deserve to win. Ray Emery and mental errors stole the game from the Leafs but at least they picked up a point. Next up, the Bruins in Toronto in a pair of games that did not turn out as I had expected.
Update: In my haste to post this recap and get back on top of the games I forgot what caused the biggest buzz amongst the viewers at my buddy's apartment: a lack of Leafs retribution. Time and time again the senators crashed the net and barrelled into Raycroft without any sort of response from the boys in blue. To top it off Chris Neil was doing his typical post-whistle routine of slashing, pushing, and chirping while being 'held back' (read: protected) by the linesman. I appreciate the fact that the Leafs were in a tight game and some sort of retribution could have cost the team the game. However, I still would have liked to see Belak fly into Emery once to let the sens know that the Leafs were not going to accept the sens shenanigans.