Meeting the full quota of eight points from four games this past week has placed the Toronto Marlies firmly in a playoff spot through 54 games.

Sitting third in the North Division, the Marlies only trail Albany and Syracuse by two points and are by far the most in-form team among their division rivals. The AHL’s playoff primer is already up and running, with the Marlies magic number sitting at 38 points with 22 games remaining.

For the second consecutive week, the Marlies were comprehensively outshot, managing to hit the 30-shot mark just once themselves. They were fortunate to take four points from Manitoba after giving up 37 shots in both games.

Special teams were again a positive difference this week — the powerplay remains top four after striking three times at a rate of 21%, while the penalty kill’s rise up the rankings continues apace. The PK now sits 12th-best in the AHL after allowing a single goal on 12 kills.

Toronto’s home points streak has now reached eight games (7-0-1-0).

It was also announced this week that Associate Coach Gord Dineen, whose contract was up at season’s end, has been relieved of his duties. He will not be replaced behind the bench this season.

Game Reviews

Toronto Marlies 5 vs. Manitoba Moose 2

The Toronto Marlies bounced back from a disappointing defeat in Utica by dispatching the Manitoba Moose at the Ricoh Coliseum last Friday night. They’re at the foot of the Western Conference, but the Moose were more than a match at times for the Marlies, who were flattered by the final margin of victory. This win came thanks to the Marlies’ highly-effective powerplay and a great performance from Antoine Bibeau, who turned aside 27 shots over the final 40 minutes of play. Goals from Trevor Moore (x2), Dmytro Timashov, Seth Griffith, and Byron Froese. Full Recap >>

Toronto Marlies 1 vs. Manitoba Moose 0

Less than 24 hours after Antoine Bibeau stopped 35 of 37 shots, Garret Sparks slammed the door in this Saturday matinee rematch against the Manitoba Moose. Toronto extended their points streak to six games on home ice (5-0-1-0) in their 15th victory at Ricoh Coliseum this season.  Sparks will deservedly take the plaudits for this win, but credit also goes to a depleted Marlies lineup that dug deep to grind out a 1-0 victory and complete the two-game sweep. Dmytro Timashov provided the game-deciding goal. Full Recap >>

Toronto Marlies 4 vs. Binghamton Senators 2

Another victory over a divisional rival kept Toronto’s playoff push on course despite a makeshift roster that was missing Byron Froese, Milan Michalek, Brendan Leipsic, Marc-Andre Cliche, Kasperi Kapanen, Tobias Lindberg & Rinat Valiev (all injured), Sergey Kalinin (immigration), Frederik Gauthier and Andrew Campbell (personal). Goals from Colin Smith, Brett Findlay, Colin Greening, and the debuting Brendan Miller. Full Recap >>

Toronto Marlies 3 vs. Syracuse Crunch 2 (OT)

The Toronto Marlies pulled off one of their more fortunate wins of the season in front of 7,000-plus raucous children in the school day game at Ricoh Coliseum on Wednesday. The Marlies‘ performance was inept through 40 minutes and the visiting Syracuse Crunch should have held a bigger lead than 2-0 at that stage. Dmytro Timashov and Brett Findlay both stepped up to the plate in the final frame to ensure the Marlies extended their recent run of good results. Goals from Brett Findlay (x2) and Dmytro Timashov. Full Recap >>

Player News

– Rookie forward Dmytro Timashov led the way with three goals and as many assists this week. He’s undoubtedly the most improved rookie from the beginning of the season to now and he’s taken advantage of the bundles of extra ice time he’s receiving with Toronto missing their top three scorers. Timashov has 14 points in his last 13 games and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Trevor Moore is another rookie who has come to the party in recent weeks. With a pair of goals and two assists this week, the left winger continues to thrive on a line with Byron Froese and Seth Griffith. Moore has collected 19 points in his last 18 games.

– Four points this week for Kerby Rychel, who played an instrumental part in two goals in Toronto’s most recent victory. He’s now third in Marlies scoring, moving above the absent Kasperi Kapanen, and has taken his assist tally up to 25 for the season.

Brett Findlay is yet to let the Marlies down when recalled from Orlando. Handed a bigger role due to injuries, the centerman scored three times this week including a pair in the win over Syracuse. Paired with Rychel and a new linemate in Andreas Johnsson, the line has been a consistent threat.

– With his 24th goal of the season vs. the Moose, Byron Froese became the league’s leading goal scorer but has been absent since due to injury. There has been no word on the extent of his injury, but Sheldon Keefe has given off the impression that he’s not considered a long-term absentee.

Garret Sparks recorded his fourth shutout of the season with a 37-save effort in a 1-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose. Sparks has now won seven of his last eight games while posting a save percentage of .922 over that span.

Brenden Miller made his AHL and Marlies debut against Binghamton on Monday. Scoring a fluky goal in the process, it was more impressive that the rookie defenseman appeared as settled as he did in his new surroundings. He’s since returned to the Solar Bears, who are also short on the blue line right now.

Colin Smith scored for the first time since January 8, breaking a 15-game scoreless streak.

Rich Clune joined the ever growing Marlies injury list with what appeared an upper-body injury suffered while crashing to the ice.

Frederik Gauthier’s stay with the Marlies was yet again short lived after getting recalled by the Leafs.

Shane Conacher and Mason Marchment were both called up for the game against Syracuse. They drew praise from Keefe for the spark they provided in a game in which most of the Marlies’ regulars were listless for the first 40 minutes. Eric Faille has been reassigned to Orlando and made an immediate impact in their latest victory.

– Last Saturday, Viktor Loov was traded to New Jersey in exchange for Sergey Kalinin, who is set to join the Marlies once his immigration issues are sorted. If all goes according to plan, it’s expected that Kalinin will make his debut this weekend.

Toronto Marlies Player Stats – February 24

Byron FroeseC482415399188213617.6
Brendan LeipsicLW34112738-324419811.2
Kerby RychelLW52112536-1285901388
Kasperi KapanenRW33161733-314909716.5
Andreas JohnssonLW541416306348010813
Andrew NielsenD52102030-251401059.5
Colin SmithC5172027-322001007
Trevor MooreLW3791524312304420.5
Dmytro TimashovLW47111021-328509112.1
Seth GriffithRW1641418418003511.4
Travis DermottD393151822011614.9
Colin GreeningC508917031117610.5
Tobias LindbergLW35591453220568.9
Andrew CampbellD531121374400711.4
Brett FindlayC177512-26102231.8
Justin HollD524812-32601904.4
Frank CorradoD161101181200412.4
Richard CluneLW33369-370002015
Rinat ValievD3427917011573.5
Tony CameranesiF233367400417.3
Viktor Loov (X)D4124614300414.9
Brooks LaichC2315631200175.9
Frederik Gauthier (X)C2615661200313.2
Milan MichalekLW16235-12000258
William WrennD2814551200263.8
Nikita Soshnikov (X)RW61231610119.1
Eric Faille (X)RW11123-1000147.1
Marc-Andre ClicheC16123-1600185.6
Daniel Maggio (X)RW41121900520
Brenden Miller (X)D110100001100
Nikolas BrouillardD1000-100030
Shane ConacherRW1000000020
Alex GudbransonD3000200020
Ty StantonD3000100010
Willie Corrin (X)D4000-220020
Josh Leivo (X)LW50001600110
Mason MarchmentLW7000-34009

Toronto Marlies Goalie Stats – February 24

Jeff Glass2110042.05440.917
Garret Sparks2316704502.196100.924
Antoine Bibeau2391013652.855990.902
Jhonas Enroth3210093.03850.904
Karri Ramo30300113.8810.88