Senators fall to Leafs 4-1, Hell Freezes Over or Something
The game began with the teams exchanging chances and the Leafs icing the puck a lot, much to the chagrin of notorious line-matcher Randy Carlyle. The intensity of the game picked up midway through the period when McLaren hit Kassian from behind, and a McLaren-Kassian tilt followed. Kassian felt aggrieved because of two McLaren head-butts that weren't penalized. Shortly after, Kyle Turris was brought down with a trip, but instead of a Sens powerplay, he received a harsh diving call. The Sens offensive zone pressure led to Ottawa's first powerplay, a 4-on-3 opportunity. Despite several good chances for Daniel Alfredsson Sergei Gonchar, the Sens couldn't capitalize on the 4-on-3 advantage. Ottawa continued to pressure on the 5-on-4 portion of the power play, but still couldn't put the puck past James Reimer. Toronto seemed to strike first on a Dion Phaneuf goal, but when the officials conferenced, the call was overturned because of incidental contact by Leo Komarov. It was both a botched interference call and a botched goal call, but in the end the right call was made.
The second period started sloppy, but the game picked up after Chris Neil received a deserved goalie interference penalty. An efficient Sens PK worked off the Neil penalty, with some good work from Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Leafs took the lead on a James van Riemsdyk deflection of a Cody Franson shot. Even though they were being outshot badly, the Leafs were ahead. Midway through the period Zack Smith took a high-sticking penalty and the Leafs went to the power play. They quickly capitalized when James van Riemsdyk was left uncovered in front of the Sens goal and wristed a rebound past Craig Anderson. It's safe to say the S7S mood turned negative after the Leafs second goal but it was lifted by an epic shift by the Calder line at the end of the second period. The trio of Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg and Cory Conacher sustained pressure in the offensive zone for an extended time. Zibanejad battled with Phaneuf and after Phaneuf cross-checked him and pinned him down without taking a penalty, Zibanejad pushed back. Just seconds later Marc Methot threw a huge hit along the boards and Jakob Silfverberg got the Sens back in the game with a wrist shot from the slot with Conacher drawing the assist. The goal was scored with less than a minute left in the period and the Sens went to the dressing room down by just one.
The Sens came out flying to start the third period and dominated play for large stretches. Despite the pressure, the Sens could not break through as Toronto collapsed around the netminder James Reimer. The Calder line continued to pressure the Leafs but with no luck. On a harmless looking zone entry, Nazem Kadri put a shot by Anderson that Andy simply has to have. It was a bad goal and a backbreaker. Lupul added a fourth for the Leafs when both Sergei Gonchar and Anderson could not handle the puck. Leafs win 4-1.
Sens Hero: Marc Methot
Methot had a good game. He played well defensively but was quite noticeable jumping into the rush offensively. It will be good to see him reunited with Erik Karlsson soon. I feel like Marc Methot needs to play more than Chris Phillips though and that wasn't the case tonight.
Sens Hero: The Calder line
The Calder line pressured the Leafs for most of the night and got the Sens back in the game at the end of the second period with a dominant offensive-zone shift that resulted in the Sens only goal. They were physical, they created chances, and they capitalized.
Sens Zero: The Smith line/Paul MacLean
All three played more than ten minutes tonight. All three had penalties. Chris Neil ran James Reimer. They were physical and spent time in the offensive end. Kassian had a fight and was headbutted. Ron MacLean noticed their grit. But dressing Matt Kassian and playing this line this much means you're playing Randy Carlyle's game and Leafs bloggers will tell you that's a stupid thing to do.
Sens Zero: Craig Anderson
Andy has played well most of the season; this was not one of those nights. He looked bad on both the third and fourth Toronto goals. The third goal was the game; Anderson must stop that puck. His teammates had pressured Reimer for most of the period and Andy didn't give them a chance to win on that play.
Sens Killer: James Reimer
Sure, the Sens took a lot of shots from the perimeter, but they directed 50 shots at Reimer and he only surrendered one. That hurts.
Recap Hero: Elizabeth L
In truth, Elizabeth L is frequently a S7S hero for letting me call her all the time and vent Senators frustrations before I make a fool of myself on the interwebs.
Universe Zero: Inexplicable Collision of Circumstance and Fate
The Leafs clinch their first playoff spot in almost a decade with the win. Of course they do. In a game that takes place in Ottawa at SBP with a lot of Leafs fans in attendance. Naturally. During which the Sens vastly outshoot the Leafs and were stymied by a strong performance in net. I've seen that before. What's that you say? The goal that ended the game was scored by Toronto's new favourite who Brian Burke snatched away at the 2009 Draft? Cool. On a nationally televised game on the CBC featuring blatant homerism from Bob Cole, Glen Healy et al. Perfect.
Plaaymakers Moment of the NightTM: Silfverberg's goal
Not much to choose from tonight, but I'll go with beauty wrist shot from the man with the golden hands.