March 17, 2012
UnbeLeafable: Sens lose to T.O.
By Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - The Senators barely got a chance to enjoy the view from the top of the Northeast Division.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who hadn’t done much in recent weeks, stopped the Senators cold, 3-1, Saturday night at Scotiabank Place — in a game that featured flashes of the old Battle of Ontario.
As a result of the loss, and a 3-2 victory by the Bruins over the Flyers in the afternoon, the Senators’ stay at No. 1 in the division lasted just 17 hours. Ottawa sits one point back of Boston and tumbled to No. 7 in the East.
The Senators put up a fight, but Toronto goalie James Reimer was only beaten by Colin Greening while Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel and Tim Connolly scored on Ben Bishop.
The Leafs certainly had the luck of the Irish on Connolly’s 11th goal of the season at 7:20 of the second.
A gaffe by Erik Karlsson and Bishop resulted in a lucky goal that allowed the Toronto to take a 1-0 lead.
Karlsson’s attempted pass tipped off Connolly’s stick, then ricocheted in off Bishop.
Yup, it was just bizarre.
“Hopefully, that’s just once in a career,” said Karlsson. “There’s not much you can do sometimes. I’ve (made that pass) 100 times. If I’d done it differently there might have been a different outcome.
“All I know is it hit Ben in the back of the leg and his motion kind of brought it in. That’s unfortunate. That’s something that won’t happen again anytime soon.”
“It’s just unfortunate,” said Bishop. “(Karlsson’s) just trying to make a pass. It just bounced off my leg and I carried it (into the net).”
A goal by Jason Spezza at 3:35 of the third was called back when it was ruled he kicked it in.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said the effort was fine.
“Toronto plays a different style than they did (under Ron Wilson),” said Alfredsson. “We probably could have done a better job getting more shots and more traffic in front. Overall, I thought we played a good game until we started taking some penalties.”
It got a little crazy at 13:23 of the second. That’s when Nick Foligno and Luke Schenn scrapped. Then, Chris Neil and, of all people, Mikhail Grabovski went toe-to-toe, a pretty odd matchup.
Grabovski got himself into the middle of this mess and ended up with a double-game misconduct. He got one for being in a secondary fight with Neil and the other for not wearing a tiedown for his jersey. Both were gone for the night.
This also might have been sparked by Clarke MacArthur inexplicably dropping the gloves with Sergei Gonchar in the first. If that doesn’t happen, then Neil would have probably fought Dion Phaneuf or Jay Rosehill.
It was only the second pro fight of Gonchar’s career, and his first since Nov. 28, 1998.
According to hockeyfights.com, the last time Gonchar got a fighting major was against Dallas forward Guy Carbonneau. Calling this a fight was a stretch. MacArthur threw a couple of punches and took Gonchar down.
“(Gonchar) told me it’s something that happens every 20 years, so I’ve got 17 years to go,” said Karlsson.
Coach Paul MacLean didn’t mind the rough stuff.
“I thought (MacArthur-Gonchar) was two guys battling and they settled it the way two guys are supposed to settle it,” said MacLean.
The Senators host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at home.