Toronto Marlies even the series with a 4-1 win over Texas

377

It was a must win for the Toronto Marlies, and the urgency and desperation was visible from puck drop.


A much-needed tone-setting shift off the opening faceoff by Trevor Smith, Carter Ashton and Sam Carrick got the ball rolling for the Marlies in this one, as a hard forecheck followed by a cycle and penalty draw led to the first of three consecutive Spencer Abbott powerplay goals.

On the ensuing powerplay, Abbott, stationed on the point, wristed one past Nilstorp with Josh Leivo playing screen, marking the 11th straight playoff game in which the Marlies have opened the scoring and Abbott’s first goal of the playoffs.

This time the Marlies sustained the pressure throughout the first period. A good battle by TJ Brennan in the corner of his own zone frustrated Kevin Henderson and drew a retaliatory roughing penalty, sending the Marlies back to the powerplay.

Abbott’s second PP goal of the period came on a rebound springing off a point shot by who else but Brennan, who continues to do it all for the Marlies in these playoffs.

The Marlies outshot the Stars 11-6 in a big pushback period as far as this series went, as the desperation was visible in the Marlie effort and they were able to string together some positive shifts of offensive zone time on the cycle.

Abbott completed his natural hat trick five minutes into an evenly-played second period, with his best goal of the bunch coming on a 5 on 3 man advantage. A shot-fake sent the penalty killer to the ice before Abbott cut to the middle and ripped one into the wide open side, as Nilstorp, forced to guess due to the presence of Leivo’s posterior in his face, had dropped on the initial fake.

The Marlies made their third-period shutdown effort look fairly routine; they allowed just 10 shots despite taking three penalties and the Stars pulling their goalie for much of the final 7 minutes, holding their blueline effectively and clogging up the slot. MacIntyre, for his part, came up with a couple of big saves including a particularly important sprawling toe save on Curtis MacKenzie with 13 minutes remaining.

Jerry D’Amigo scored his sixth of the playoffs (tied with Brennan, Holland for the team lead) on an empty netter from the neutral zone after Kevin Marshall broke up a Stars zone entry at the blueline.

Unfortunately, Drew MacIntyre’s shutout was spoiled after Andrew MacWilliam attempted a ring-around the boards with little pressure on him; the puck didn’t get out and it led to Radek Faksa’s 4-1 goal with a minute and a half remaining.

NOTES

  • Three unofficial assists for Josh Leivo in this game as he provided an effective net front presence on all three Spencer Abbott goals. Leivo was buzzing in this game, ripping shots throughout including three on goal and a couple of near misses. One of his best efforts of the playoffs.
  • Peter Holland, clearly above AHL hockey, added two assists in this game to take his playoff totals to 6 goals, 6 assists and 12 points in 8 games. Holland’s puck protection, soft hands and playmaking ability stand out as NHL tools on an AHL rink. An NHL shot was also full display in the first period when he beat Nilstorph clean from the circle and rang the cross bar.
  • Holland has 22 points in 22 games between the end of AHL regular season and playoffs, giving him 136 in 151 in his AHL career. Those are really solid numbers. The Leafs have a nice piece here.
  • Despite another healthy lead before the game was half over, the Marlies held the Stars to just 28 shots, their lowest total of the series thus far. MacIntyre came up big when asked as he has all season, but it was a commendable defensive effort from this group to contain the Stars attack for, really, the first time this series, and without Korbinian Holzer to boot (Dylan Yeo played in his stead).
  • Holzer is not expected to return in the next couple of games due to the lower-body injury.
  • Spott liked the effort from the fourth line of Smithson (in for Biggs, scratched), Ross and Ryan, indicating he’ll keep them together for next game.
  • You hate to see a guy like Spencer Abbott, who has ripped it up for the Marlies all season, get blacklisted as a permanent AHL all-star who can’t crack an NHL roster. It would nice to see him make some noise at camp next Fall, but tearing it up on the powerplay in the AHL doesn’t necessarily beget a future NHL career (12 of his 20 goals came with the man advantage so far this season + playoffs). Without high-end wheels, at his size it’s difficult to create those same openings in the NHL. Full credit for rising to the occasion as one of the offensive leaders of this team, nonetheless.

This was a good response by the Marlies, one that ensures this will be a long, hard-fought series at a minimum. They’re one of the youngest teams in the AHL and they’re going  toe-to-toe with the AHL’s very best regular season team in the Conference Finals. On a night when the Habs kissed their 2014 Cup hopes goodbye, it’s nice to have a few things to smile about in Leafland.

Steve Spott Post Game:

  • Biltmore

    Granberg’s read to break up the play at the 1:37 mark was Lidstrom-esque.

  • BigTO

    Biltmore Buy out Gleason and let Granberg vie for that spot.

  • Tim Horton

    What makes guys like D’amigo so good at getting empty net goals… Not knocking him at all, some guys just really seem to have a knack for it and its a useful skill.

  • wiski

    Habs lose Marlies win can’t recall a better thursday in recent memory my self.

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    wiski Just woke up and had 2 major questions that needed answered.  Both were answered instantaneously.  MLHS FTW!!!!

  • reenergized

    just posted this on the other blog … but everybody had already left LOL 

    Glad to see the scabs lost … finally, overachieving whiners!!! I think the lot of them went to diving academy in stead of skating academy … 

    I just want to make a “contrary” comment on all the Randy bashing. First I don’t necessarily agree with all of his and the coaching staffs choices , but isn’t it possible that RC didn’t play the kids, Ashton, D’amigo, etc because they weren’t ready? I know most of us believe that  those kids were better than Orr and Mclaren, but what if the coaching staff still didn’t think they were good enough yet and decided to shelter them and let them develop further in the A? It’s not like he doesn’t play the young guys, witness Gardiner, Rielly even Kadri … RC is not the first coach to limit Kadri’s ice time RW did it, Tippet did it at the worlds too. Ashton had a lot of time with the club this year and maybe just maybe what we don’t see, the practices etc, didn’t fill the staff up with confidence and instead of letting then get clobbered the staff reduced their minutes allowed to the bare minimum. Letting Orr and Maclaren get clobbered wouldn’t stunt their development. 

    Maybe the staff wanted to let the kids develop more so when they play for the leafs they actually can contribute. The NHL is not really the place to develop players …. just a thought

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    reenergized Excellent thought.  Our kids are experiencing the best development environment possible as we speak.  Slow and steady needs to be our approach.  Rielly is an exception as he’s something special.

  • BigTO

    TuckerWantsDougieForGM reenergized Until it becomes obvious they’re above the AHL and could contribute to the NHL team, which should’ve made the playoffs if the coach managed the lineup properly. Personally I’d rather  put together the best team possible, that’s just me though.

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    Tim Horton Jerry will be on the big team next season.  Or at least playing on someones big team as I think he’s a piece others would be interested in if included in a bigger deal.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    @BigTO TuckerWantsDougieForGM reenergized Meaningful NHL minutes were best for the young players involved – Ashton, Holland, D’Amigo – and for the big club’s chances at winning hockey games. It was nonsense.

  • reenergized

    @BigTO TuckerWantsDougieForGM reenergized we all would, but we need to manage our future assets now, no point ruining a young kid who is border lien ready to play in this league.  They are all doing well now in the AHL, pushing deep into the playoffs, that is a much better learning curve for them than losing on the big club. Putting together the best team is on Nonis too … he needs to give RC the tolls to work with. We had big injuries this year (3 centers down at one point) and obvious weakensses in out bottom 6, but we did very little, we got Holland (good for us soon) and that’s pretty much it …

  • reenergized

    Alec Brownscombe TuckerWantsDougieForGM reenergized menaingful minutes??? Holland played it while he was up ,Ashton had lots of opportunities to show something game time or practices … D’Amigo ??? I guess we didn’t have enough empty net opportunities for him to shine …. If the kids are going to fail, whats the point ? let the orrs play and let the kids develop until they actually can help … Not saying this is the case, just saying its a possible reason why they didn’t

  • Murph2417

    Holy fuck, first time I’ve ever tried to fix a vehicle by myself tonight. Needless to say thank fuck I’m not a mechanic, vehicles are hell to work on. Stupid fucking truck

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    Murph2417 I love backyard mechanics.  Saves me a ton of money.

  • Murph2417

    TuckerWantsDougieForGM Murph2417 Yeah that’s all fine and dandy, don’t mind doing it. If they would’ve gave me the right god damn parts!!

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    Murph2417 TuckerWantsDougieForGM That kinda helps.  I have almost every tool imaginable in my garage.  I just say that this $85 tool will save me 3.5 hrs labour and she insists I buy it. lol

  • Murph2417

    TuckerWantsDougieForGM Murph2417 Also the guys shop I was using has 1,000,000 tools but they are ALL the same size wrench’s and they arn’t the ones I need. Vice grips all day, even though they ruin nuts & bolts like crazy.

  • Murph2417

    ~Keon Yep he was skating fast all night.

  • TuckerWantsDougieForGM

    ~Keon Looked like Tucker with that hair.

  • Tim Horton

    reenergized Alec Brownscombe Holland got a bit of a crack he averaged 11 minutes but I have to think that is only so high from when he filled in for Kadri.  Which is also when he was putting up points. 
    Ashton was on the team for a while but he averaged a ridiculous 6 minutes a game. How the hell was he supposed to do anything with that.
    D’amigo averaged 8 minutes which was ok this season but next season I think he is ready for full time PK duties. on top of 8-10 minutes a night.

  • AdamNightingale

    Big thanks to Alec for covering me on this one.  Spent the evening at the Blue Jays game with co-workers…but caught the highlights.  Great to see Abbott finally get going, could very well be a game changer.  Also really like what Brandon Kozun brings to the table…still can’t believe Dean Lombardi gave up a potential NHLer for Andrew Crescenzi…boggles my mind still

  • Black_Hawk

    lets hope holland keeps developing nicely for us

  • Leafbites

    Habs are finished and I can go back to liking hockey again. 

    Let’s go Marlies!

  • MaxwellHowe

    Think the players knew that the man who may determine if they make the team next year was in attendance?

  • Great Dane

    Black_Hawk lets hope he get a chance to develop for us.

  • phaneufoundlander

    ~Keon  How’d Gomez work out for em? lol

  • phaneufoundlander

    So long Poodles, thank the loving Jesus that’s over…. If not for the Tampa goalie….the ScHabs would not have swept Tampa because Lindback had more holes than a fly screen, Boston hit 14 bloody post in 7 games, and the Rangers would have swept the bums if they didn’t get 2 fluke bounces in game 3. Anybody who thinks this team is close needs a bitch slap, that includes Mackenzie and Reid on TSN. This was as much as a Cinderella run has you can get.

  • phaneufoundlander

    I heard Phaneuf, Leafs # 8 pick to Florida for their first?

  • Mind Bomb

    Wow What  a  Glorious Morning :)

    Toronto :Go Marllies

    MTL= Go Golfing

  • HeatherRickAkin

    Love the Marlie write-ups…thanks to Alec for this fine effort . I don’t think the profiles on the junior players going into this Junes draft have featured Nikolaij Ehlers …unless I have missed it. I know that at least one poster has said the Leafs should grab this kid at #8 , if he is there . While I have been adamant that at #8, the Leafs should consider the 2nd best defenceman in this draft, Hayden Fleury, I think I may have to reconsider . I just read the reports on Ehlers in mynhldraft.com , and he sure looks like a pure offensive talent . When you read the names he gets compared to,  it is impressive. He isn’t big, but man, his skill set is off the radar…ie really high  . Speaking of high skill sets …Marlies’ Peter Holland clearly is an NHLer. The only question that reamains is, with whom ?

  • phaneufoundlander

    wiski  Good times lol

  • phaneufoundlander

    Mind Bomb  If only the Jays pulled it off in the last inning…oh well, a Schab loss tops it all

  • Great Dane

    From Tyler Dellow – really good stuff

    http://www.mc79hockey.com/2014/05/corsirel-and-famous-defencemen-i/

    Just shows why Lidstrom was the King. 

    What I find most interesting is that players like Edler and Ehrhoff could available in the market.

  • Mind Bomb

    phaneufoundlander Mind Bomb Aye Bro, that was dis-appointing. But the Marlies won and our guys Bounced back nicely, Holland with another couple points. Thats what really matters to me atm lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Ice Caps up 3-1 in their series; come on Marlies, lets make it happen

  • Burtonboy

    Most of the chatter on the board and in the media has been about Ashton ,Holland and D’Amigo playing with the Leafs next yr . Yep they will get a shot without a doubt . I think the surprises are going to come on defense . Grandberg ,Percy ,McWilliam will all get long looks and if I was calling the shots we would be re-signing T.J. Brennan to a contract and give this guy a long look as well. He’s impressed the hell out of me . The defense as a whole was very very impressive .

  • HeatherRickAkin

    Burtonboy  I was actually going to mention Brennan in my post a few minutes ago. He is clearly a high end offensive talent, but as a UFA, don’t you think that a couple of talent starved teams may want to sign him ?  ie, he may want more $$$$ than the Leafs can afford…same as Komorov .

  • Burtonboy

    HeatherRickAkin Burtonboy Of course it all depends on what it takes to re-sign them. Sensible demands and we should re-sign both IMO

  • Burtonboy

    ~Keon Hurt gonna be out for a while according to Spott

  • HeatherRickAkin

    Burtonboy HeatherRickAkin  Right you are. On another topic , we are both in NB, I believe. Have you seen any Q league games this year ?  I ask that because Halifax has a dynamo named Nikolaij Ehlers (mentioned him in my earlier post) , and some guys have said that is who the Leafs should pick at #8 . He sure looks like a cobra , according to the review in mynhldraft.com .

  • Burtonboy

    HeatherRickAkin Burtonboy Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance this yr . I would have liked to take in a game in Moncton to see the Wildcats. Maybe next yr . As far as Ehlers goes if he available at the 8th pick I think the Leafs have to give him some serious consideration for sure

  • Burtonboy

    ~Keon One way contracts . I believe we have several on the Marlies like that

  • wendelsway1

    Good Friday Morning….it’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood!  GO MARLIES GO!!  :)

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsway1 Habs eliminated and Marlies win. Pretty good night all things considered :)

  • Great Dane

    ~Keon For the leafs it is only money.

  • Burtonboy

    Great Dane ~Keon Every AHL teams has a few of those .

  • maple1967leafs

    Burtonboy wendelsway1 ole’ole’ole  to that one BB

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy  Brennan you give a contract just under 925K so he can be moved up or down without problem. Of course he would likely be claimed if he was send down to the Marlies again. 

    but just good for him

  • maple1967leafs

    Burtonboy wendelsway1 i was so happy last night the wife thought the Leafs were back in it   :)

  • Burtonboy

    Great Dane Burtonboy Exactly . Win win for team and player. If he doesn’t make the team he has a better chance to be picked up on waivers