Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Benoit on fight with Horvat: ‘You’ve got to expect it’ after you hit Barzal
By Mike Gould18 days ago
Simon Benoit wasn’t surprised that Bo Horvat dropped the gloves with him on Monday night.
After all, Benoit had just thrown a heavy check on Islanders star Mat Barzal as he tried to enter the Leafs’ zone on the power play.
“He has his habits,” Benoit said of Barzal to TSN’s Mark Masters. “When you know them, you just try to meet [him] halfway.”
Benoit did just that — and Horvat took exception. Although not exactly renowned for his fighting skill, Horvat went toe-to-toe with the hard-hitting Leafs defenceman early in the second period of Monday’s game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Benoit undeniably had the upper hand on Horvat in the tilt. And in the end, the Leafs came away with a power play after Horvat was dinged with an extra minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“[Barzal’s] their best player, right, so when you hit him, you’ve got to expect it,” Benoit continued. “We got a power play out of it.”
Indeed, Benoit’s fight with Horvat led directly to the Leafs tying Monday’s game at one. Mitch Marner scored his 21st of the year just seven seconds after the scrap to even the score.
But the Leafs still managed to enjoy a power play after the fact because the initial penalty to Tyler Bertuzzi, which carried over from the end of the first period, still had yet to expire when Marner scored his goal during four-on-four play.
It’s been a year marred by inconsistency for these Leafs, but Benoit has done his job on a night-in and night-out basis. The 25-year-old defenceman has two points and 33 penalty minutes in 34 games with the Leafs this season.
Even so, it was the Islanders who got the last laugh on Monday, with Pierre Engvall scoring the late go-ahead goal in a 3-2 victory. The Leafs will return to action on Wednesday to take on the Dallas Stars at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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