Whether the “Take Back The Bank” promotion had its intended result, no effect or completely backfired is subject to interpretation, but there were an equal number of Sens and Leafs fans at Scotiabank Place last night. That, combined with the action on the ice created a playoff atmosphere in the building that could be the starting point to returning the Battle of Ontario to its early 2000’s glory.
I wrote before last week’s game in Toronto that the battle was a shell of its former self and that it would take some hatred to get that back. Well the intensity in the building and the battles between Leafs fans and Sens fans made it a loud place to play, and that translated to the on-ice performance. While last week’s game was listless and very passive, both teams came out with an intensity that matched the fan base. The game on the ice couldn’t have gone better for those longing for a good Battle of Ontario. It was close, hard hitting, tight checking and the officials let them play for the most part.
The script could not have been better, with the Leafs scoring first, the Sens taking a 2-1 lead, the Leafs tying it back up on a power play and then Colin Greening‘s goal with 24 seconds left to win it and send the home team’s fans home happy. And most of the goals came from the edge of the crease and were gritty type goals that required drive to the net.
“Take Back The Bank” might not have had its intended result last night, but the actual result might have been better than that. The atmosphere, the play on the ice and the end result was the best possible outcome. It may have looked like the Binghamton Senators vs. the Toronto Marlies on the ice, but there were enough elements in place to start the rivalry on the road to returning to the level it once was, before the 2004-05 lockout. It will still take a playoff series to get the rivalry even close to the Sundin/Roberts/Tucker days, but last night was a good step in the right direction.