Toronto Marlies vs Texas Stars: Game 4, Western Conference Finals

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Photo Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars

“Attack” and “desperation” were Steve Spott’s buzzwords last night, directed toward the Marlie forward group in particular, after the Marlies fell behind in a series for the first time in these playoffs following a 3-2 defeat to Texas in Game 3.

“Our 12 forwards have not found the level of desperation their 12 forwards have.”

“We don’t have enough forwards onboard right now getting the job done with puck possession and offensive zone time. We need more offensive zone time from our forwards.”

“We cannot turn over pucks in the neutral zone. We have to get pucks deep and hunt people down and we just haven’t done that enough this series.”

The Marlies continue to go out to early leads – ten consecutive after last night’s TJ Brennan goal in the first period – but have not been able to dictate the pace of games in this series, something that will need to change in a crucial Game 4 matchup tonight.

The one line Spott seemed pleased with after the game was the Biggs, Ross and Ryan unit, which he felt showed the desperation and physicality down low he is looking for from his forward group. Some crashing and banging in the corner by Ross and Biggs led to a point blank chance for Kenny Ryan (who was shifted to center) that was somehow turned away by Nilstorp early in the second period with the game tied at 1s.

Spott also blended together a Kid Line of Leivo, Carrick and McKegg seeking a spark up front.

The Marlies have to find their game fast here. A 3-1 hole, obviously, means Texas has three chances to close the series out, and with the AHL playoff format both Games 6 and 7 would be in their home barn.

  • deedrag

    Where is everybody?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    deedrag  havent noticed a new blog is up..

  • Bruffins

    http://hockey.dobbersports.com/frozenpool_production.php?selForward=TOR-2159&situation=ALL&games=2013-2014%3AR%3A99&Submit=Show+Line+Production&sent=go

    So have been messing around with this site and it looks like Kadri’s and Lupul’s production was at its highest when they had Kulemin on their line. I am biased but I really think it would be good to sign him because he also offers us a back-up plan at 3C if Holland can’t handle it

  • Bruffins

    and I have to leave so can’t reply if anyone comments on this lol

  • Axle_Goalie

    Bruffins  In Laymans terms, why do you think Kulie’s production slipped so dramatically. Was his 30 goals a huge fluke? Is he being misused? After the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lokomotiv_Yaroslavl air disaster did he lose his edge/will?….

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Bruffins Kadri, Lupul have always played best with Kulemin for sure. I’d like him back of course, but all depends on price and if he wants to come back or test the UFA waters.  If he wants something in excess of 3 mill and change it might be worth trying to replace him internally with Ashton, D’Amigo and hopefully Komarov all vying for spots.

  • Greg Fenton

    Alec Brownscombe Bruffins I think the best option for that line would be going after Callahan. 

    He can play the same role as Kulemin and Ashton etc… but also produce a good amount of offense, more then any of the internal options have shown they can provide. He is also a good veteran player who would bring some intangables as well.

  • DWCMLHS

    That’s why every time Carlyle tried to force Clarkson onto their line, he always had to give up and go back to Kulemin. Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin was the best combo for our 2nd line. Kulemin takes much of Kadri’s defensive responsibility, so he can focus on offence with Lupul.

  • JMAC17

    Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins oooooh…Lupul Kadri Callahan would be sexy…

    Not sure we can make him fit under the cap tho…would have to move some salary I would think

  • Mitch_S2

    JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins 
    How’s Callahan any different than Clarkson…..

  • Loric76

    Mitch_S2 JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins only one is from Mimico

  • whalz

    Any leaf news?

  • Burtonboy

    whalz Yeah . They are finally starting to come out on my trees :)

  • Mitch_S2

    whalz My sister just saw Nonis and Shanahan chatting

  • Mitch_S2

    Loric76 Mitch_S2 JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins 
    Same player just banking on chemistry

  • lukethenuke

    Mitch_S2 whalz woah.  communication

  • Loric76

    Mitch_S2 Loric76 JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins I bet Callahan doesn’t fall nearly as much

  • Greg Fenton

    Mitch_S2 Loric76 JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins ANd that Callahan doesn’t….regress in a Leaf Jersey.

  • Loric76

    We’re bitching about the Leafs but here’s a reminder of how far we’ve come.  This was only 6 years ago…

    https://twitter.com/BestHockeyClips https://twitter.com/BestHockeyClips/status/472129606061801472  More
    Throwback Thursday to when Toskala let this in..
    https://t.co/HTS5EHBDUO

  • sniperstar

    Loric76 He played well in this game aside from this. I’m pretty sure we won this game 3-1

  • JMAC17

    Mitch_S2 JMAC17 Greg Fenton Alec Brownscombe Bruffins He’s not really…but is a gritty player that can play…attractive in that sense…better than Raymond anyways!

  • Mitch_S2

    lukethenuke Mitch_S2 whalz Pretty crazy, tie that in to the fact that her boyfriend is good friends with Cal O’Relly, Id be willing to bet a trade is announced shortly

  • lukethenuke

    Loric76 got a whole point more this season!!!

  • Mitch_S2

    Bruffins Kulemin needs to go. I like the guy but his attitude is all wrong for this team. 
    The quiet, easily intimated thing doesn’t work. Komarov is the Kulemin we need.

  • JMAC17

    Mitch_S2 lukethenuke whalz Who’s Cal O’Relly?

  • Mitch_S2

    JMAC17 Mitch_S2 lukethenuke whalz Ryan’s older brother, plays in the KHL

  • JMAC17

    Loric76 ouch, I remember that so clearly

  • Zep2

    That team was only slightly better than this years Marlies. I know the organization as a whole is much better, but watching 2 ordinary teams in the East semis leaves a me a with a sense of Why not us.

  • sniperstar

    Bruffins While I do agree Kulemin is probably the best option we had for that line I dislike how this site does not show TOI with those linemates.

  • Loric76

    Zep2 me too.  What could have been

  • Greg Fenton

    Zep2 I think I’d rather miss the playoffs then go on some cinderella run. 

    If this roster made the playoffs adn won a round or two there would be zero talk about the teams short coming and weaknesses. I’d rather those be on front street and hidden by goaltending or a hot streak.

  • Jmessih

    Leafs are the best!!

  • Greg Fenton

    lukethenuke Loric76 Thats what Iw as going to say – have we really come that far?

  • darthNihilus

    Spott with some good comments, how come he knows what possession is and Randy doesn’t? LOL!!! Go Marlies!!!!!! You better get it done tonight!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Loric76

    Greg Fenton Zep2 fair point, and really it’s the right thing to do, but it makes for an awful spring…

  • Greg Fenton

    Loric76 Greg Fenton Zep2 Depends on how you define awful. 

    I think an awful spring is one spent thinking the team is better then it is and making decisions based on that assumption. As wella s drafting 10+ positinos lower.

  • Greg Fenton

    darthNihilus Spott has a team that listens to him and can execute a defensive system, Carlyle doesn’t.

  • Loric76

    Greg Fenton lukethenuke Loric76 I think we have.  That team was just as awful on paper as on the ice.  Today’s team stunk on the ice but we know they’re capable of more.  If nothing else they’re younger with more room to grow.

  • DWCMLHS

    Komarov isn’t as good offensively or defensively as Kulemin. He’s just a good agitator.
    Quiet is fine and the whole “easily intimidated” thing is complete horse shit. You can’t claim a guy has a bad attitude if you’ve never been in the room and you barely hear him speak English.

  • Loric76

    Greg Fenton Loric76 Zep2 that’s really the silver lining here…the top 10 draft pick.  Hopefully we don’t wait till the end of June to see it wasted.

  • Loric76

    Greg Fenton darthNihilus Spott can also work a toaster.  Hard to listen to someone you can’t help but laugh at.

  • Greg Fenton

    Loric76 Greg Fenton lukethenuke We do? 

    They haven’t shown they are. They arent really younger,a nd the core is mostly “are what they are”. They aren’t an up and coming group like the islanders or Avs……..If even all the moves that Burke made when he got here 5-6 years ago were susposedt o be yield immediate results (which they were), it wasn’t susposed to take 5 years.

  • wiski

    Burtonboy whalz Shame they shrivel up in october

  • Mcost61

    Free one for you

  • Greg Fenton

    Mitch_S2 Bruffins The quite, easily intimated thing doesn’t work? If thats Kulemin, then only like 25% of the players has the right “attitude” for this team.

  • Zep2

    Rory -9 with a double bogie on his card

  • Jmessih

    Mcost61 Thanks I work hard for them lol

  • Loric76

    Greg Fenton Loric76 lukethenuke don’t bother trying to pull me into a subjective argument, I won’t engage.  In my opinion they’re a better team overall than the 2008 team, with more upside and more tradable assets.  If that differs from your opinion, so be it.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Zep2 Fucccck.

  • Greg Fenton

    Loric76 Greg Fenton lukethenuke I tend to base my opinions on evidence I see – the team isn’t/hasn’t played better overall in the last 6 years. I don’t see were the great upside is (outside of Rielly), I think people forget how good some of the assets 5-6 years ago were when they were hear, and when compared hwo they have to move now……pretty comparable. 

    5-6 years ago thist eam needed players to build. Today, this team needs players to build around.