I’d like to start my rundown by giving some unknown kid in a yellow sweatshirt a shout-out. In a bizarre incident in the third he managed to grab a stick after Panik tossed it up and over the boards into the stands, receiving a non-penalty for misconduct for his troubles. The grin on unknown kid’s face was the highlight of the game. Literally.
I was practically having an existential crisis imagining all the things I could have done with this 60 minutes of play – read a book, saw a movie, learned a language – when this kid reminded me what it was all about… stolen gear.
Or, you know, a love of the game or something. Mushy, mushy, yadda, yadda. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
The Leafs started the first in good fashion. There was a scuffle that halted game play for a few minutes at 14:59, resulting in roughing charges for MacWilliam and Komarov for Toronto and MacKenzie for Florida. No goals were scored by anyone in the opening period, but the Leafs matched the Panthers in shots at nine apiece. I was pleasantly surprised that they kept the puck loose and moving. Whether it’s the general shakeup in the roster or something they’re doing in practice, it appeared to be working. In theory.
The Panthers are late bloomers in a game, while it seems the Leafs might be more of a weed. Florida opened the second by scoring two goals thirty seconds apart at 4:23 and 4:53. Huberdeau flipped it over Bernier’s shoulder and into the net to score the first of the pair and the move was repeated almost exactly by Kampfer practically before they were finished showing the replay. Pirri rounded out the second with the Panther’s third goal of the night, starting the third 3-0.
It was in the beginning of the third that I just couldn’t hold on anymore, and I’m pretty sure I lost consciousness, when Carrick scored the only goal for the Leafs at 9:13. Then that thing with the stick happened at 14:59 and it seemed to confuse everybody. Play stopped, no one seemed to have much of an explanation for why Panik tossed it into the stands, even after watching the replay, and then he received the misconduct charge. No other penalty was issued, and so the call didn’t really affect play. Pirri answered Carrick at 18:24 and the game finished 4-1.
It was game with not a lot going on. So I think I’ll hand this one to, you guessed it, Panik. For his entertainment value and ability to confuse just about everyone while making a young fan’s whole night.
Where actual skill is concerned the Panthers only out-shot the Leafs by three, with total SOG 28-25. That speaks to more team unity and better playing ability than there’s been in awhile and you can’t give credit for that to just one person. So a pat on the back for everyone.
SEE YOU SATURDAY
With just seven games left the Leafs play the Senators at the ACC. Game time is 7 p.m.. but frankly I’ll be somewhere else. Anywhere else…
Oh who are we kidding? I’ll be watching the massacre from somewhere, just like you.