Sunday, February 03, 2008

Marlies top Sens in Saturday showdown

The kids on one team are doing fine, it was the old hands on the other that were having a bit of a problem on Saturday night.

With six call ups in the Toronto line up, the Marlies, er, Maple Leafs responded to the three game losing skid that they were on, to top the Senators 4-2 on Hockey Night in Canada's prime time game from the Air Canada Center.

Controversy plagued goaltender Ray Emery was in the nets for the loss, a mark that probably won't win him any more fans back in the Capital, but while he didn't have a spectacular game, there were other factors at work on the night that gave the Leafs a bit of a push. For one thing his own team mates once again did not rise to the challenge of taking the play to the competition, leaving far too much play to take place in the Ottawa end of the rink.

And for good measure, Toronto managed to play an entire game without a penalty, their first since 2002, leaving the penalty taking to the Senators who were spending six seperate portions of the game short handed. A concern that had John Paddock shaking his head at the Ottawa bench and Jason Spezza holding court over at the conclusion of the game.

While the Leafs were utilizing a fair amount of farm club talent, Ottawa too was putting together a make shift line up, with Dany Heatly, Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Eaves and Chris Phillips all out of the line up on Saturday night. Those absences off and on as they have been for some, have helped to contribute to Ottawa's current skid of seven losses in ten games, but the palyers on the ice need to take a look at how they have not responded to the challenges of late.

Losing to what in effect was a farm club for the night, should be more than enough incentive to take stock of where they are at the moment and where the Sens need to move on to before this season begins to slide any further.

For the Leaf it may not be the end of their less than successful season, but beating the Sens in front of the Air Canada faithful is probably as good as things are going to get for the next little while.

If nothing else, for one night the youngsters of the Leafs gave hope for the future and served some notice that maybe things aren't as dire as suspected. Of course that will be subject to re-intrepretation as the weeks and remaining months of the season come to a close.

Ottawa Citizen--Not Ray's Day
Ottawa Sun--Falling flat to Leafs
Toronto Star--Colaiacovo, Blake tally in rally to beat Senators
Toronto Sun--Minors miracle at ACC
National Post--Youthful Leafs drop slumping Sens

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