Greig’s empty-net slapper for Senators leaves Maple Leafs sour after loss

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Few would expect an empty-net goal to be the highlight of the Ottawa Senators‘ 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, but Ridly Greig made it one to remember.

With 5.1 seconds remaining in the third period, Greig chased down a loose puck and wound up for a slap shot at the hash marks to bury the empty-netter.

Leafs’ defenceman Morgan Rielly took exception to the theatrics and cross-checked Greig in the head leading to a scrum.

“We obviously didn’t like the result on the empty-netter,” said Toronto captain John Tavares. “So, we’re going to stick together and stand our ground when necessary.”

Obviously, the Senators (21-25-2) saw things a little differently.

“You never really know what Greiger’s going to do,” said Josh Norris, who scored his first goal in 15 games. “I mean, I love it, but I’m sure, obviously, if we’re on the other side of that I don’t know if we would like it either.

“I didn’t really like the retaliation, but I understand their frustration, but it’s over with and I guess it was entertaining.”

The Senators, coming off a 10-day break, didn’t get off to the best start with the Leafs dictating play for much of the first period, but Ottawa was able to hold its own and took over for the final two periods.

“I thought it was a really good effort,” said Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin. “I thought we were slow off the mark, but I think that’s kind of expected after being off for 10 days and not having played.

“I think Toronto took advantage of that but I liked how we finished the first period. I thought we gained some momentum. I thought we engaged a lot more. We started to be more physical. We started to control the puck in the offensive zone and I think that helped our play and after that I thought we had a good game.”

Led by Shane Pinto, who had a goal and two assists, the Senators also got goals from Claude Giroux and Vladimir Tarasenko. Joonas Korpisalo made 32 saves.

Auston Matthews, with his 42nd of the season, Matthew Knies and Max Domi scored for the Leafs (26-15-8). Martin Jones stopped 28 shots. Matthews is riding a nine-game point streak (nine goals, six assists).

The Leafs appeared to take a 2-0 lead at the eight-minute mark, but upon review the goal was disallowed for being offside. Giroux tied the game when he was able to outwait Jones and score his 16th of the season.

“We missed a ton of chances; we probably could’ve scored more than we did tonight,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “And we didn’t. So, we lose the game.”

Ottawa took a 2-1 lead early in the second when Tarasenko broke in alone and beat Jones up high, but Toronto tied it when, despite being tied up by Jakob Chychrun, Knies batted a Mitch Marner shot past Korpisalo.

It marked the 209th time Marner and Matthews, who each had an assist on the goal, factored in on the same goal, tied for most by a pair of teammates in franchise history (Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald).

Pinto, with his third of the season, tipped a Parker Kelly shot and Norris made it 4-2 on a great individual effort that finished with a shot to the top corner.

“Obviously, it felt good to just contribute on the scoresheet,” said Norris. “Any time you go that long without scoring you kind of feel like you’re never going to score again so, you know, glad I could get back on the board.”

Trailing 4-2 to start the third period, the Leafs made it a one-goal game at 5:12 with Domi scoring off a nice pass from Rielly.

The Senators take the season series 3-1-0.


Ottawa D Jake Sanderson remained out with a lower-body injury, while Travis Hamonic returned after missing five games. Zack MacEwen was a healthy scratch. Toronto’s William Lagesson returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last 17 games. Mark Giordano (lower body) and Conor Timmins (illness) missed the game.


Senators: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Maple Leafs: Host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

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