Despite the loss it was definitely an exciting game, as is always expected from the battle of Ontario. The second pre-season game between these two teams had Ottawa looking for revenge. The Sens got a 2 goal lead early but fell 5-3 to the rival, Toronto Maple Leafs.
Mika Zibanejad opened up the scoring mid-way through the first by batting in a puck that was thrown towards the net by Chris Neil. It was a power play goal for the Sens, on a nice set up by David Rundblad. The Sens didn’t stop there, within the next two minutes they were on the board again. Zack Smith, who has been racking up the points this preseason, snapped a shot past James Reimer to give Sens the 2-0 lead. The leafs came right back though, with Grabovski scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal off a giveaway. Liles then tied it up for the leafs on the man advantage caused by a hooking call on Sergei Gonchar. But with a busy first period, that wasn’t the end of it. A mere 20 seconds after the Toronto goal, Nick Foligno regained the Sens lead off a jam play in Reimer’s crease. The action packed period ended with the Sens boasting a 3-2 lead. Specialty teams were key in the first period as the 4 minor penalties were a factor in 3 of the goals scored.
The second period was a lot calmer. There were a pair of penalties in the first half, one for each team but no goals scored as a result of either. Leafs got the only goal of the period, on a shot by Kulemin to tie the game at 3.
Boyce gave Toronto the lead early in the third as he tipped in a shot by Franson. The middle stretch of the period wasn’t as fast paced as the rest of the game. There was one penalty handed out to each side during the period but no goals were caused from those. The Sens stepped it up in the final 5 minutes trying to tie the game but the hopes were abandonned when Toronto scored instead. With just under 2 minutes left, MacArthur fired one past Lehner to give the leafs the 2 goal lead. Ottawa tried to get something going but time ran out and so it ended, 5-3 Toronto.
+ DAVID RUNDBLAD looked more comfortable than he has since coming to Ottawa. He was calmer with the puck and set up lots of nice plays at both ends of the ice.
+ NIKITA FILATOV even though he still couldn’t finish he looked like one of the best players on the ice. He was skating hard and making smart plays. He showed off his fancy side several times, especially in the first period, as he dangled through the opponents casually.
- JASON SPEZZA appearing in only his second preseason game of the year, was one of the worse players for Ottawa tonight. He finished the game with a minus-3 rating and zero points. He only managed one shot the entire game and was more of a negative factor than a positive one.
- CHRIS NEIL gets a minus for a stupid hit that may get him called in front of new NHL disciplinary Brendan Shanahan. Catching Grabovski in the neutral zone with a blindside hit while he didn’t have the puck, Neiler may find himself a little bit lighter in the wallet shortly. Here’s the video of the hit.
Courtesy of NHL.com
1st Star * MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI ~ Lead Toronto in points with a goal and 2 assists and finished the night with a plus-3 rating.
2nd Star ** ZACK SMITH~ picked up a goal and an assist and was the biggest help offensively for Ottawa.
3rd Star *** CHRIS NEIL ~ had two assists and stepped up well as a veteran to be a good example for the rookies. Except for his bad hit.
Overall the Sens got worse with each period played. They came out strong, but like Sens fans have seen happen too many times before, they didn’t last the full 60 minutes. The Sens last preseason game is this Thursday in Boston and the hope is to finish on a winning note. Until then, GO SENS GO!
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