Wednesday night, he hit the Ottawa Senators’ Francis Lessard, all six-foot-two, 230 pounds of him, into the booth between the benches at ACC prompting a startled TSN commentator Pierre McGuire had to scramble to safety.
He filled in a succession of Ottawa Senators from Nick Foligno on down and finished his night off with a fight. In all, he played 17:31 and finished dead even. He threw in a couple of roughing penalties for a nine PIM night and at six-foot-three, 240 pounds, looked an awful lot like an apartment building on skates. An angry apartment building.
Nine months after a poor season was ended by a shoulder injury, the player counted upon to help anchor the Leafs’ defence hit back and depending if you are a fan of McGuire’s analysis, you are either glad or sad that Francis Lessard was redirected into his workspace.
Score it 4-1 for the Maple Leafs, who stand a tidy 1-1 in their mini-series with the Senators going into Thursday’s date in London against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Leafs power play, dormant on Tuesday, produced goals from Nikolai Kulemin
, Phil Kessel
and Luca Caputi. Mikhail Grabovski
had the other Leafs marker. Foligno was the Senators marksman.
But the story was Komisarek, but not just for the hit that will land him on all the highlight reels.
Neither Komisarek or Francois Beauchemin found a comfort zone in the early going last year.
Both tried to lift a listing boat. Both ended up very wet. Unlike Beauchemin, Komisarek never got the chance to work things out.
This season, there is a steadier defence. The hemorrhaging in goal has abated and Komisarek can go back to being a little more like a pillar: big, hard and immovable.
“Wils (Leafs coach Ron Wilson) told me today to keep it simple and try not to get a Gordie Howe hat trick in the first shift,” Komisarek said.
Wilson said he is looking to Komisarek to keep to his position and forget about correcting any other mistakes around him.
“It’s just his nature,” Wilson said. “He wants to show everybody he’s worth the money we’re paying him. He’ll settle down.”
He was certainly worth it Wednesday night.
“I was just trying to get the red line.” Komisarek said of the hit. “I saw him take a run at me. I think he might have left his feet and I got a piece of him and I sent him flying.”
For one night, the Leafs delivered precisely the blueprint envisioned by GM Brian Burke. Jay Rosehill
, Danny Richmond and Komisarek incurred fighting majors. The big line of Kulemin, Kessel and Tyler Bozak
was humming with Kessel especially active and Komisarek posted a video warning that will be replayed in every NHL city.
It was, for the Leafs, a perfect night.
“We have to play physical and show up when they want to, have good jump, follow the game plan and get pucks to the net,” said Rosehill. “Everything we were looking to do we did.”
The goaltending tandem of James Reimer
and Ben Scrivens
wasn’t overly busy as the Leafs outshot the Sens 30-18, but that can also be attributed to a Senators lineup that did not include Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson or Mike Fisher.Notes:
Caputi’s power play marker was impressive. He lunged and reached a loose puck before shoveling it past Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott. Wilson continued to praise Grabovski, who scored after a fine feed from Caputi. “He (Grabovski) is faster, longer,” Wilson said. “Last year he showed little flashes but he couldn’t last the whole game.” For the second consecutive night, Jerry D’Amigo failed to turn heads. He was minus-1 with no shots. Juraj Mikus
played 23 minutes and finished the night even. Luke Schenn
was the Leafs runaway leader in ice time with 24:13. “He’s got a lot more jump than he had at this time last year,” said Wilson.
Jared Cowen, Brian Lee, Peter Regin, Zack Smith, Bobby Butler, Jesse Winchester, Ryan Shannon, David Hale, Jim O’Brien, Roman Wick, Partrick Wiercioch, Andre Benoit, Francis Lessard, Cody Bass, Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Nick Foligno, Jarkko Ruutu, Brian Elliott, Robin Lehner.Toronto: Luke Schenn
, Mike Komisarek
, Clarke MacArthur
, Francois Beauchemin, Colton Orr, Luca Caputi, Jay Rosehill
, John Mitchell, Nikolai Kulemin
, Tyler Bozak
, Darryl Boyce, Danny Richmond, Alex Foster, Juraj Mikus
, Jesse Blacker
, Jerry D’Amigo, Phil Kessel
, Mikhail Grabovski
, Ben Scrivens
, James Reimer