Morgan Rielly didn’t like the slap shot, and now he is likely to be slapped with supplemental discipline for the first time in his 11-year NHL career.
The Maple Leafs defenseman received a five-minute major and a game misconduct Saturday night for a cross-check to the head of Ottawa’s Ridly Greig along the side boards after the center had ripped a slapper into Toronto’s empty net from close range in the closing seconds of the Senators’ 5-3 home win.
“I’m sure [the league will] look at it,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said, while also defending Rielly.
“I thought (Rielly’s actions were) appropriate. He’s reacting to a play. Their player has the right to react in that moment, and our players have the right to react. That’s the emotion of the game.”
Maple Leafs captain and former Islander John Tavares added that his team “didn’t like the result on the empty-netter, and we’re going to stick together and stand our ground, when necessary.”
Naturally, the Senators felt differently, with interim coach Jacques Martin saying, “The league will look at it. That’s not a hockey play. That’s just frustration or something. It’s not part of the game…[Greig] put the puck in the net. Whether he shoots it or pushes it, (what Rielly did) shouldn’t happen.”
Toronto sent out enforcer Ryan Reaves for the final faceoff, but the officials quickly jumped in to prevent a brawl.
“You never really know what Greiger’s going to do,” Senators center Josh Norris, who also scored a goal in the game, said.
“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.”
Shane Pinto gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead midway through second on a tip and also had two assists. Norris scored with 4:47 left in the period before Max Domi scored to cut the lead to 4-3.
— With AP