THE Toronto Maple Leafs won their third straight and handed the Vancouver Canucks their third straight loss. However, the game will mostly be remembered for a third period that spun out of control.
Tyler Bozak had two goals and an assist, Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner, Nikita Soshnikov and Jake Gardiner also scored as Toronto beat Vancouver 6-3 Sunday (Australian time). Frederik Andersen stopped 23 of 26 shots before being replaced by Jhonas Enroth, who had three saves in his 5:08.
The last 14 minutes saw eight fighting majors and seven game misconducts.
WATCH THE CRAZY FINAL PERIOD FIGHTS IN THE VIDEO ABOVE
Kadri was kicked out for charging, Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller fought Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin, and a Canucks player was overheard by multiple reporters threatening an opposing player.
It all started when Rielly caught Canucks forward Jannik Hansen with an apparent blindside hit six-plus minutes into the final period. Trailing 5-2 at that point, the Vancouver bench erupted when there was no penalty called. Their fire bubbled higher that same shift when Kadri drilled Daniel Sedin with a left shoulder to the head area just as Sedin was scoring the Canucks’ third goal.
Sedin said he was fine afterwards, but described the collision as an obvious foul.
Kadri, who scored the game’s first goal, was immediately charged by Hansen (dealt an instigator penalty), the two briefly dropping the gloves as the intensity ratcheted up a few notches. Considered a repeat offender by the league, Kadri will likely face suspension for the hit.
Vancouver sought that retribution with Derek Dorsett grabbing Leo Komarov for an unwanted fight off a face-off. Dorsett howled at the Leafs and their bench afterwards, restrained by an official as he made his way to the dressing room. It was only the third career NHL fight for Komarov.
Another fight followed seven seconds later with Rielly seeking payback for an apparent spear to the midsection from Canucks winger Alex Burrows. Burrows was likely looking for payback himself for Rielly’s hit on Hansen.
Unhappy with the attempts on Komarov and Rielly, Martin got involved with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.
Racing against rookie defenseman Troy Stecher for control of a puck in the Canucks’ zone, Martin proceeded to throw Stecher to the ice and level the 22-year-old with a few shots. That was enough for Miller, who strode quickly from his crease and jumped the Leafs’ 6-foot-3, 220-pound winger.
He was soon joined by teammates, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen eventually racing in to join the melee.
“No, I’m not going to let that kid be baptised in this league by Martin,” said Miller, who also once fought former Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier in a preseason game.
“I think (Martin) was a little bit predatory on that one.”
Leafs coach Mike Babcock said he hadn’t seen “rodeo stuff” of that kind since he coached in the Western Hockey League.
The fireworks didn’t stop even after the final whistle. Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson was overheard by reporters stating, “Matt Martin’s dead” as he walked into the Vancouver dressing room at Air Canada Centre.
“I don’t care too much about that,” Martin said when informed of the comments. “The game will be played the next time we play them. It will run its course, I’m sure.
“You don’t like seeing your guys getting jumped like that, either, so it worked out the way it did,” he added.
The teams next meet Dec. 3 in Vancouver.