Baby first for Grabovski

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

This was a pretty good reason for Mikhail Grabovski to turn his back on a potential seven-game scoring streak.

As the Maple Leafs were battling the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Air Canada Centre, Grabovski was attending girlfriend Kate and the birth of daughter Lily, who made her arrival at a Toronto hospital around the start of the third period.

“It’s one thing you don’t want to miss,” said defenceman Francois Beauchemin, who was able to be present in Anaheim when his son and daughter were born during different hockey seasons.

“My second was born on April 20 during the playoffs against San Jose and we had her between two games at home. It turned out pretty good.”

Grabovski had scored in five of six games during his streak and had an assist in the other. The Belarus centre no doubt was hoping to match Phil Kessel’s team high of seven games from last season when Kate went into labour before the morning skate.

Darryl Boyce stepped in from the Marlies in the afternoon as it became apparent Lily’s arrival would go into overtime. Boyce had his first NHL point, helping Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin on a breakaway.

“You hope everything goes smoothly (for Grabovski), but at the same time, the clock ticks for us,” MacArthur said of his linemate.

“I thought Darryl played great and worked hard all game. You can’t expect too much from a guy in his first game offensively, but I thought he battled and did a good job in our end. We need more of that.”

Columbus, which prevailed 3-2, had lost six of the previous eight, with a number of one-goal defeats nagging at the team. The Jackets had also never beaten the Leafs in eight previous tries in regulation (0-5-3).

“To do that in front of friends and family was really special,” said team sparkplug and Brampton native Rick Nash, who had two assists.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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