Ever since the late 1990’s when the Toronto Maple Leafs were added back to the Eastern Conference, there has been a brutal rivalry between the only two Ontario-based teams in the NHL.
Whether if it’s a bench brawl, a triple overtime game in the playoffs, or a collapse of epic proportions, these two teams can’t seem to play an uneventful game.
The Battle of Ontario is set to make its first appearance of the 2014-15 season on Wednesday, so it’s time we looked back on the most memorable moments from the Leafs and Senators over the years.
5. Alfredsson & Sundin Stick Toss Debacle
Though some call it an overrated moment, Daniel Alfredsson’s fake stick toss to the seats at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto is definitely unforgettable. After Mats Sundin earned a 1-game suspension for throwing his broken stick into the crowd, Alfredsson mocked his fellow Swede with a comical gesture that, to this day, still sparks controversy between fans.
4. “Bench Brawl”
This moment can only be described as an interesting turn of events. While Travis Green, a short-lived member of the Leafs, was being escorted to the penalty box after hitting Shane Hnidy somewhat from behind, Darcy Tucker took it upon himself, for some reason, to fight Chris Neil. This would have all been understandable for the two to square off, except Neil was sitting on the bench at the time.
To add even more fuel to the fire, apparently Neil spit on Tucker earlier in the game. But all the proof we have is that Pat Quinn said it, so it must be true.
“The kid spit on him. How do you like that in our game?” – Pat Quinn.
The only thing more strange than Tucker launching himself at the Ottawa bench seems to be the background music the Senators’ DJ decided to play during the scrum.
3. Numerous Leafs’ OT Winners
Though the Senators have the slight edge in the regular season, winning 50 of 99 match-ups between the two teams, the Leafs have the upper hand in the playoffs. Toronto has won all four playoff series, currently boasting a 16-8 record in the post season versus their Ontario counterparts.
The Leafs have won a total of four playoffs games in overtime against the Senators, but Gary Roberts’ goal in triple overtime during the 2002 Eastern Conference Semi Finals may be the most memorable.
2. Alfredsson Guarantees Playoff Win
A day before Game 6 in the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, Daniel Alfredsson took a page out of Mark Messier’s playbook and guaranteed the Senators would win and send the series back to Toronto for a Game 7.
Well, they won. But by the skin of their teeth.
Mike Fisher had the double overtime goal in what was a truly a game for the ages.
Alfredsson also promised the Senators would win the series, but if I told you the outcome of that, it would ruin our number one moment.
1. 2004 ECQF Game 7: Leafs 4 – Senators 1
Some people will remember Patrick Lalime for the numerous franchise records he holds in wins, shutouts, goals against average and many more for the Senators. But sadly, most will remember him for the part he played in the Senators Game 7 loss in the 2004 playoffs.
Lalime had always been a solid goaltender for the Senators, it didn’t matter if it was the regular season or playoffs. But it only took a couple of weak goals for the St. Bonaventure, Quebec native to punch his ticket out of the Nation’s Capital.
This would prove to be his last game as a Senator.
As for the Leafs, they would go on to lose in six games to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
Callum is currently a journalism student living in Ottawa where he covers his team, the Ottawa Senators. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Callum is also a big Mooseheads fan and a lover of the East Coast.