Who knew, but Clarke MacArthur is a member of Tank Nation. Last night’s home game against the visiting Flyers started off as strange as any lately, with a warmup shot from MacArthur going off the knee of Jonas Gustavsson, causing the goaltender to leave the game before the puck even dropped. The Leafs, now ending the season as they started it, without a starting goalie, were forced to give the game to Jussi Rynnas, his first NHL start after coming in to relieve Gustavsson on Tuesday night.
Sound the Horn
Schenn scores! Not that Schenn. Brayden Schenn welcomed Rynass to the NHL with a start that may’ve been worse than Gustavsson’s. Brayden notched his 10th and 11th goals of the season on Rynass early, putting the Flyers up by two halfway through the first period. Grabovski answered late in the period with a speed-infused breakaway backhander on Flyers tender Bobrovsky. Fast forward to the midway point in the second period and the Flyers had netted two more past Rynass, who had allowed four goals on 16 shots by the end of the period. With Gustavsson nursing his knee on the bench, Carlyle didn’t even have the luxury of pulling the youngster. The Leafs powerplay had three chances to prove themselves, but failed both times and allowed a short-handed goal from the Flyers to boot, proving that even under a new coach the Leafs have one of the worst specialty teams in the league. Or, if you wish to spin a negative into a positive, Philadelphia just has a great shorthanded game.
Suck it Phaneuf!
The rematch of Dion Phaneuf v. Scott Hartnell presented itself last night with lots of jawing between the two, but nothing transpired as Hartnell chose to walk away from challenges from both Phaneuf and Brown. Phaneuf made an effort to antagonize the Flyers by picking on his teammate’s kid brother, with Brayden drawing four minutes worth of punishment for the captain.
Punxsutawney Phil Kessel
…still hasn’t popped his head out. Kessel has just two goals in 21 games against the Flyers and once again proved himself unworthy last night. The good news – Kessel got his first shot in six periods last night. He looked so malaised that (interim?) coach Randy Carlyle felt Kessel’s play warranted him to serve Mike Brown’s slashing minor. Quite curious that the team’s top point producer would be sent to the isolation tank for two minutes while the Leafs were playing four-on-four. I don’t wish to read into this too much, but we may be on the cusp of another “Ron and I don’t talk” controversy.
The Turd Period
A resounding chant of “Let’s Go Blue Jays” could be heard in the ACC just before another Maple Leaf flop in the form of a goal by Eric Wellwood halfway through the third period. Less than two minutes later Voracek made it 6-1 for Philly, and Wayne Simmonds netted his second of the night to bump it up to 7-1. There was a brief stoppage in play when a fan threw a jersey on the ice, which only added insult to injury. This game, like this season, couldn’t end soon enough.
…What an unfortunate thing to happen on dozen-egg night.