For the second consecutive game, the Toronto Marlies trailed after 40 minutes but came roaring back to claim victory.
Offense from the defense propelled Toronto to a come-from-behind win after giving up an early lead and falling behind due to three second-period goals against. A fifth straight victory for Toronto marks their best winning streak of the season.
The Marlies began brightly and almost opened the scoring just 45 seconds in; Seth Griffith fizzed a pass from the right boards toward the crease that Greening cleverly redirected, but Chris Driedger made a fantastic first save of the game to ensure the Senators didn’t fall behind early.
Brett Findlay, who has been in strong offensive form of late, was the target of Greger Hanson with a little over two minutes played. The victim of a boarding penalty, Findlay was slow to get up, had a bloodied nose, and did not see out the rest of the game. Travis Dermott jumped in to stick up for his teammate by dropping the gloves with Hanson.
More importantly, the road team made Binghamton pay by scoring on the resulting powerplay. After Rychel attempted to send a pass to the back door, the puck deflected and ended up on the stick of Andreas Johnsson, who whistled a shot past Driedger for his 15th of the season.
The Marlies were on top but weren’t able to create many clear-cut openings in their search for a second. A second powerplay proved fruitless and almost led to a goal against after a turnover from Johnsson; Phil Varone was in alone on Antoine Bibeau, but Toronto’s goaltender didn’t bite early and averted the danger with an excellent poke check.
The Marlies killed their first penalty of the game with eight minutes remaining in the period but were becoming sloppy in possession, gifting the home team more offensive zone time. No damage was done, though, and the Marlies finished the stronger of the two teams before the buzzer sounded.
Toronto carried that momentum over into the begging of the middle frame. Trevor Moore won a battle across the blue line before dishing off to Colin Greening, whose shot provided a rebound that Moore was unable to corral with half an empty net waiting.
A baffling four-minute penalty to Andrew Nielsen at the 1:38 mark halted the Marlies good start to the period. The hooking infraction was a little soft, but the rookie defenseman was also tabbed for unsportsmanlike conduct even though he didn’t seem to question the decision.
Toronto was also unhappy that Nick Paul wasn’t called for cross-checking on the play, and their mood didn’t improve on the ensuing penalty kill. With three seconds left on the first minor, Mike Blunden blasted home from low in the left circle after a perfect pass from Francis Perron.
Binghamton wasn’t able to capitalize on the second half of the powerplay and Toronto almost re-established their lead while shorthanded when Johnsson hit the post on a rush with a low shot that had Driedger beaten.
After the Senators rightly saw a goal waived off for goaltender interference at the six-minute mark, the Marlies responded to the close call by gaining a foothold in the period.
A rapid passing movement involving Greening, Griffith and Moore saw the latter denied in tight. The fourth line led by Tony Cameranesi almost grabbed a goal after a hard-working shift pinned Binghamton in their own zone. An effort from Mason Marchment provided a rebound that Cameranesi was unable to chip in at the side of the net.
With Nielsen back in the box — this time for holding — Binghamton took the lead by way of a former Marlie. Jack Rodewald banged home a rebound in front after Bibeau blocked a shot from Varone while contending with traffic.
Toronto bounced back 77 seconds later to tie it up with six minutes remaining. Moments after seeing his effort cleared off the goal line, Rychel’s one-timer from his knees finished off a pinpoint feed from Griffith.
The home team responded well to having their lead quickly wiped out. Varone found himself in all alone on goal but Bibeau outwaited the skilled forward before getting the better of Varone again on a separate partial breakaway.
Inside the final minute of the period, Justin Holl was hounded by three Bingo forwards at his own blue line. The percentage play wasn’t to try and thread a pass through all of them, but that’s what Holl attempted and it proved costly after Jason Akeson set up Paul in the slot fo a one-timer that gave Bibeau no chance.
The first five minutes of the third period were all action, with scoring opportunities forthcoming for both teams. Rychel and Cameranesi both tested Driedger after a strong spell of offensive zone pressure by Toronto. At the other end, the Senators’ Francis Perron tested Bibeau three consecutive times while picking up his own rebounds, with the Marlies goaltender forced into some unorthodox saves to keep the puck out.
Driving into the right circle, Trevor Moore had everyone thinking shot before reversing a perfectly-weighted pass into the slot area for the trailing Nielsen, who sniped a wrist shot past Driedger with a quick release.
Binghamton’s netminder bailed out his team from conceding a fourth time on a following penalty kill, with Toronto generating several good looks with the extra man.
Buoyed by the kill, the Senators came out flying in the next few shifts and created three good chances but were simply not able to find the finishing touch.
Whoever scored the fourth goal of the game looked likely to claim the points at this stage.
A wonderful piece of vision from Dmytro Timashov set up Nielsen — who had drifted in at the far post — but the puck somehow stayed out.
Andrew Campbell has struggled to rediscover his scoring form of 2015-16 this season, but he came up trumps for his team with eight minutes to play. A little pitch and catch with Griffith opened some room for the Marlies captain to shoot while perched on the blue line. Campbell fully connected to make it 4-3 Toronto.
The game was far from over, however, as Toronto contrived to gift the home team two shorthanded chances after drawing their fourth powerplay. A turnover from Moore allowed Kyle Flanagan a breakaway before Varone led an odd-man rush alongside Mike Blunden. Bibeau came to his team’s rescue for the umpteenth time in what would turn out to be the Senators’ best pair of opportunities to salvage a point.
A Binghamton powerplay with 3:15 to play was easily dealt with by the Marlies penalty kill. With Driedger pulled for the extra attacker, Frank Corrado looked to fire into the empty cage as the penalty expired. His attempt missed the post by an inch, but Campbell jumped out of the penalty box, corralled the loose puck, and sealed the victory with a wraparound.
Another empty net goal — this time from Johnsson — with one second remaining was the icing on the cake for Toronto, but the score line did Binghamton little justice.
Post Game Notes
– Seth Griffith registered three assists and has 21 points in 17 games. Andreas Johnsson netted a pair — the third time braced he’s achieved the feat this season.
– Kerby Rychel had one of his best games despite losing linemate Brett Findlay early in the game. He recorded five shots on net, two points, and is now riding a four-game points streak.
– Brooks Laich helped himself to two secondary assists, his first points since December 10.
– Andrew Campbell finally added to his goals tally of one through the first 54 games of the season with a pair in this game, including the game-winner.
– Andrew Nielsen was guilty of taking two undisciplined stick penalties but he was a constant threat offensively and scored his 11th of the season.
– Sergey Kalinin made his Marlies debut and played a huge part in the late penalty kill that secured the win. Considering the fact that he only met the team just before the game, the former New Jersey forward acquitted himself well, improving as the game wore on.
– Antoine Bibeau made 27 saves for his tenth win of the season.
Post-Game: Sheldon Keefe
Game Sheet – Toronto 6 vs. Binghamton 3