Leafs game doesn't digress into circus

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

TORONTO - Sean Avery was quietly talking to a couple of reporters inside the New York Rangers dressing room when the cameras and microphones spotted him.

Having just explained how he was starting to gel with linemates Ruslan Fedotenko and Derek Stepan, Avery quickly stopped his conversation and disappeared the moment he eyed the media swarm coming his way. Before he left however, we can confirm the only thing he was wearing on his face was a modest grin, not a clowns nose.

So much for the concept that this grudge match between the Leafs and Rangers was going to digress into a real circus.

As usual, a game with such buildup of alleged bad blood did not live up to its hype. The Leafs did not go after Avery for viciously hacking Mike Komisarek six days earlier, nor did the Rangers seek retribution against Colby Armstrong for taking out Marian Gaborik in the same contest.

Other than an entertaining bout between Colton Orr and Derek Boogaard in the first period, the Rangers pretty much smothered the Leafs and the ACC crowd into submission with a well-earned, if not boring, 2-1 win Thursday night.

In the days leading up to the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella preached discipline to his team, stressing the need for two points was more importance than revenge.

Consider it done, coach.

His message to us was play hard, play physical, hit their top guys whenever you get the chance but, most of all, play smart, defenceman Marc Staal said. We needed to win the little battles. We needed to play harder. I think we did that.

And, in the process, managed to complete their mission without all the fireworks so many had predicted.


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