0 goals, 1 assist, +1, 5 penalty minutes
21 shifts for 15:21.
Ladd started the game with a burr under his saddle, clearly. He thumped Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski to the ice in the corner early in the period. About mid-period, Ladd and opposing captain Dion Phaneuf, former teammates, got into a scrap. Phaneuf got away with the instigation after Ladd sloughed off his interference in front of the net, causing Phaneuf to fall heavily into the boards. Phaneuf got up, accosted Ladd and started flailing away, drawing an extra penalty for roughing.
After Phil Kessel scored early in the period to bring the Leafs to 1-1, the Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler line went to the attack and after pressure, hit pay dirt with Wheeler's rebound goal. Ladd drew an assist, his team-leading 25th point of the season.
A dangerous chance from the slot shows the line's ongoing chemistry. Wheeler scores later in the period on a hard dash up the left wing, but Ladd winds up the period even when his line is on the ice for Phil Kessel's second goal of the game, a rebound off the backboard. Ladd ends the game with 15:21 minutes, below his normal number -- partly due to missing five minutes of the first. But it's not a bad thing in a three-goal win if even a little wear and tear is avoided.
WHAT WE LIKED:
Hard to argue with this night from the captain... again. His strong suits have been leadership and production all season long and this was another great example.
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE:
Ladd had nearly 40 minutes to complete his Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) and failed. If that's all there is to complain about, well, you're really in search of things not to like.
Tuesday, the captain was clearly engaged in the game early, trying to set an example for his teammates in the matter of some of their slow starts in recent outings. With his assist, he has five points in the last five games and hasn't gone so much as two games without a point all season, a pretty strong statement about consistency.
-- Tim Campbell