It was a tough hometown return to Toronto for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi on Thursday.
Durzi had over 200 family members and friends in attendance at Scotiabank Arena to watch him take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Unfortunately, his large entourage witnessed a tough 5-0 loss to the Leafs.
They were brought to their feet at least once though, as they watched on helplessly when Maple Leafs forward Pierre Engvall seemed to intentionally whack Durzi in the back of the head in the third period.
Engvall was assessed a five-minute major penalty for his intentional high stick and was tossed for the remainder of the contest.
There’s a good chance Engvall will receive a call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for that ugly play.
After the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe came to his player’s defence.
“You’ve all watched Pierre [Engvall] play for long enough now to know he doesn’t play with an intent to injure.”
Durzi appeared uninjured and stayed in the game. He was, however, booed by the home crowd every time he touched the puck after the altercation with Engvall, and had to deal with chirps coming from the Maple Leafs’ bench.
His parents seem to get a good kick out of it.
Ever the troublemaker, Toronto forward Michael Bunting let Durzi know how he felt, taunting him from the bench while enjoying his team’s comfortable lead.
The Maple Leafs actually selected Durzi with the 52nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The 24-year-old spent the next season in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and Owen Sound Attack.
In January 2019, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas acquired veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles. Durzi, Carl Grundstrom and a first-round pick (who became forward Tobias Björnfot) were sent to the Kings in return.
Since joining the Kings, Durzi has carved out a nice role as a regular NHLer, registering 45 points in 89 games over two seasons in Southern California. He signed a two-year, $3.4-million deal with the Kings in September.
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