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.

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  • 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…..