Mikhail Grabovski is learning that when you’re playing inspired hockey, there’s a big target on your back.
Grabovski scored his 13th goal of the season on Tuesday night in the second period, on the power play, to tie the game against Carolina at 3-3, before the Hurricanes scored in the third to win it.
The goal marked the sixth straight game when he has recorded at least a point and ninth out of his past 10 where he scored or earned an assist.
He also hit the crossbar once, missed an open net (when the puck bounced erratically on the ice), was slew-footed by Patrick Dwyer just before he scored the winner and was cross-checked in the back in the dying seconds with the Leafs on a power play and Jonas Gustavsson pulled for the extra attacker.
Something along the lines of an Eddie Shack hat trick.
All of this despite the fact that the Leafs were trapped in New Jersey for an extra day after beating the Devils 4-1 on Sunday night. The Leafs only arrived back in town on Tuesday morning.
“I’m 26 years old and I have a lot of energy,” Grabovski said of his high-energy showing against the Hurricanes.
The Belarus national went after Carolina centre Brandon Sutter when the final buzzer sounded, though it was former Leafs defenceman Jay Harrison who actually cross-checked him. In any event, Grabovski wasn’t amused.
“Of course, I’m a little bit mad about that. It was a dirty play,” he said. “But we play them a few more times against Carolina and we’ll see next game.”
Sounds like a possible feud in the making, now that things have cooled off between himself and the Kostitsyn brothers.
Just before scoring the winner via a deflection, Dwyer slew-footed Grabovski, though a penalty wasn’t called.
“Where’s the video?” said Grabovski, when asked about the incident. “I don’t remember that.”
BUG HITS THE LEAFS
The Marlies leading scorer Joey Crabb, called up in replacement of a sick Tim Brent, played with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel and really provided a spark for that line. Crabb assisted on Kessel’s second goal of the night. Leafs coach Ron Wilson said there is a bug going through the Leafs dressing room, adding that two Leafs defenceman were also struck on Monday night, and that’s why he dressed seven D-men on Tuesday against the Hurricanes.
bad ice, BOUNCING PUCK
Bad ice is not usually the part of a game story, but Tuesday night it was, causing both goaltenders, Cam Ward and Jonas Gustavsson, to have to make big saves on routine shots as the puck bounced erratically all night. Tomas Kaberle’s first penalty of the year, in the third period, was the result of the puck bouncing over his stick at the blue line, forcing him to grab on to a Carolina forward.
WILD AND WEIRD STUFF
The Leafs faithful actually booed when P.A. guy Andy Frost reminded the fans just prior to the game that anybody throwing anything on to the ice will be immediately ejected from the ACC. No waffles were harmed ... The Leafs actually did an Ian White tribute on the scoreboard with the former Leafs defenceman waving at the crowd in gratitude. Shockingly, no scoreboard tributes for other former Leafs, Jay Harrison and Jiri Tlusty ... That Toronto Hydro Energy Blitz, which pits sections against each other in some kind of noise contest, is annoying ... No truth to the rumour that the Thank God I’m a Country Boy guy who dances in the stands during the game is actually Sun desk guy Paul Ferguson ... The Hurricanes have to lead the NHL in Simpsons characters — McBain, Skinner and Mo (coach Paul Maurice).