Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Battle of Wounded Knees

The Leafs and Sens settled nothing Saturday night, each got a point for their efforts on the ice, and both watched a star player leave the ice with knee problems. A 2-2 tie the final result of 65 minutes of entertaining, if not high scoring hockey at the Air Canada Centre.

A rather conservative affair for the national TV audience, as both teams took turns heading into the other’s end firing a shot at the goaltender, then returned to cover their end of the rink. An unlikely goal scorer Rob Ray, who only came out of retirement, last month scored the opening goal in the 1st period. Close checking and lucky breaks were the order of the day, the rest of the game. Jason Spezza jumped on the ice too quickly, resulting in a too many men on the ice penalty, which Ron Francis capitalized on to tie the Leafs at 1 with the Sens early in the second period. Chris Phillips gave the Sens the lead back in the later stages of the second period. Brian McCabe evened it up and wrapped up the scoring in the third, just trying to get a shot on net, it somehow eluded back up goaltender Martin Prusek, going into the net. The teams would not score any more during the game and overtime.

With both teams gaining only one point, they fall a little further behind the Boston Bruins in the North east Division, they defeated Montreal 3-2 tonight. The Bruins are now two points ahead of the Leafs, three ahead of the Sens. Toronto has three games left in the season, Boston and Toronto each has four.

The real story tonight though will be the status of Patrick Lalime, who left the game with some kind of knee problem in the first period. He fell awkwardly in his net, and then skated to the bench and off the ice done for the night. Doctors say it probably is not a serious injury and he will continue on with the Sens as the road trip continues. An injury to the starting goaltender not something that Sens fans want to deal with heading into the playoffs. Prusek for the most part played well in the Sens net, with the exception of the winning goal by McCabe.

Over on the Leafs bench, they were holding their breath as Owen Nolan ended up on the ice in the Ottawa end after trying to finish off a check into Brian Smolinski. Nolan had to be helped from the ice and now has to wait for the swelling to go down before Doctors can determine how much if any damage he has suffered.

For the most part the Sens/Leafs game was a rather tame affair, nowhere near as bitter and nasty as some of the games in the past. The teams renew acquaintances again in six days, the final Hockey Night in Canada from the east of the regular season. Saturday night, could also end up serving as a warm up session for the first round of the playoffs.

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