While the Ottawa Senators aren’t competing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a playoff spot this season, both parties sure know how to make things interesting and keep the Battle of Ontario alive.
Things particularly boiled over late in the third period of Saturday’s game when Sens center Ridly Greig had an empty net breakaway in the final seconds of the game, and sealed the deal with a 5-3 goal by firing a slap shot from point blank into the empty net. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly didn’t take too kindly to that move, and he decided to respond by cross-checking Greig up high.
This resulted in a brawl between the two teams, with Sens center Shane Pinto in particular going at it with Rielly in response to his dirty hit. Rielly would be the only player who would end up with any penalties in the play, taking a five-minute major for cross-checking and a ten-minute misconduct. He had just eight penalty minutes on the year going into the game. There’s currently no word on whether or not Rielly will receive any disciplinary action for the play.
“I thought it was appropriate,” said Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe after the game. “Our players have the right to react.”
“Sometimes that kind of stuff happens,” said Sens forward Claude Giroux. “Obviously you don’t like seeing [Greig] get hit in the face there, but there’s not much really to say, sometimes that kind of stuff happens.”
This occurred at the tail end of a 5-3 win for the Senators over the Maple Leafs, concluding their four-game season series, with the Senators winning three of the four games, including both in Toronto. The Sens currently sit in last in the Atlantic Division with a 21-25-2 record, while the Leafs find themselves in fourth in the division with a 26-16-8 record, which is also good enough for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.