Another chapter in the wild, exciting rivalry between Toronto and Montreal was written tonight, this time with the Maple Leafs emerging as the victor, 6-3.
It was a wild and chippy affair, and while I know their were some questionable official calls, it can't be understated that a theory I have longed subscribed to was on full display tonight.
The Montreal Canadiens, simply put, are one of the dirtiest teams in the National Hockey League.
I will be the first to admit what Mikhail Grabovski did tonight was wrong. I am not going to hide that. But what the hell were the Canadiens players thinking tonight?
It all started with a blatant disregard for another player early on when Mike Kostopolous (who I can't figure out why he has an NHL job) ran Mike Van Ryn from behind.
LeafsTV is reporting that Van Ryn has a broken nose, and possibly a broken finger.
I know there was absolute outrage over Maple Leafs forward Ryan Hollweg for his hits from behind, including a suspension. Surely I would expect a suspension from this Kostopolous hit, but time will tell.
Furthermore, what Andrei Kostitsyn did to Luke Schenn tonight is simply inexcusable. Taking the skate out from under someone like that when they are racing for a loose puck is gutless, and dangerous. Schenn took a rough tumble, but likely came out unscathed.
I don't know what the official deep in the zone was looking at on the third Montreal goal. Luke Schenn had the puck and was preparing to clear it when he was slew footed by Alex Tanguay, who fed Saku Koivu to tie the game.
There was no call on the play.
And of course we can't forget the younger Kostitsyn, who is equal part skilled (and cheap) as his older brother.
Sergei, with no care of where the puck was, took a hard run at the head of Mikhail Grabovski, and then challenged him to a fight while hiding behind the ref.
A fight between Grabovski and Kostitsyn, talk about a couple of flyweights eh?
Again, I don't like what Grabovski did tonight. As much as I am beginning to like him as a player, I can't be happy about the diving, and I sure am not happy about the butt end to Carey Price's nether regions.
Grabovski should have received a major for that, but seeing as Montreal got away with all they did, I can't be too upset over it.
Of course, as a fan I would be more upset had Toronto lost, or been outplayed. But they weren't.
The Maple Leafs pushed the offense early and got up to a quick 2-0 lead. The lead evaporated, but the team didn't waver as they battled back for the rest of the game, outshooting, outchancing, and largely outplaying their Northeast rivals.
All in all it was a very exciting, and nerve-racking game. The clubs took turns trading goals back and forth in what was a throwback type game.
This is a great rivalry, and all these questionable hits make for interesting storylines, but it's a shame to see some of these players running around like this, doing what is plain and simple, very stupid stuff.
The Maple Leafs are next in action Tuesday as they kick off a Western road trip against the Flames. Thursday they travel to Edmonton to battle the Oilers, before moving to Vancouver where they will be reacquainted with Kyle Wellwood as they tackle the Canucks.