The Toronto Marlies continue to produce slow starts to games and cannot keep the puck out of their net.
Despite some fantastic saves from Joseph Woll, Toronto was trailing 3-0 inside 21 minutes of Sunday’s game in Providence. From that point, the result of this 5-1 loss was pretty much a foregone conclusion.
For the 11th time in 20 games this season, the Marlies allowed five or more goals against — an extremely worrisome trend that didn’t appear to faze head coach Greg Moore in the post-game interview.
The game began at a frantic pace, and it was no surprise when the first goal arrived early.
The Marlies dodged an early bullet after turning the puck over in the defensive zone less than 30 seconds into the game. Toronto’s first foray into the host’s zone resulted in a nice play behind the net by Antti Suomela, who found Mikhail Abramov in the slot, but Troy Grosenick was equal to the effort with probably his best save of the entire game.
With 99 seconds played, Providence opened the scoring. Zach Senyshyn seized on a turnover behind the Toronto net and teed up Cameron Hughes for his fifth goal of the season.
The Marlies had an opportunity to get themselves on the board with a power play at the three-minute mark. Abramov was again in the middle of it, but his effort hit the crossbar from in tight. Sloppy with the extra man, the Marlies forced Joseph Woll into making three excellent saves to prevent a shorthanded goal against.
The period then settled down as Providence took control, with a second goal for the Bruins basically an inevitability. At the 14-minute mark, they doubled their lead.
Toronto was caught running after around in the defensive zone after Oskar Steen won the race for a stretch pass. A shot from Nick Wolff produced a lively bounce off of the backboards, leading to a tap in from the side of the net.
Providence finished the period on the power play and did everything but score in the final 40 seconds as the Marlies held on for dear life.
33 seconds into the second period, former Marlie Justin Brazeau finished a tap-in from the blue paint to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
Just like in the opening frame, the Marlies went to the power play shortly after conceding a goal, but they not only failed to score, they also lost Joseph Duszak to injury in the process. Jesper Froden went crashing into Duszak, sending the defenseman hard into the corner boards. That spelled the end of the night for the Marlies defenseman, who took the better part of five minutes to leave the ice after receiving attention from the medical staff on both teams.
As the game approached the midway point, the Marlies gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a goal out of nowhere. As Josh Ho-Sang exited the penalty box (after serving a minor infraction for Rich Clune), Bobby McMann surged down the left wing and ended up low in the left circle with a bad angle to shoot from. That seemed to deceive Grosenick, who perhaps thought McMann was looping around the back of the net.
In what was a strange encounter that had little flow to it, the game turned into an exchange of chances off the rush for the next five minutes. Providence generated the better scoring chances, but neither team was able to break through.
As the Bruins settled back down into their regular style of play and controlled the remainder of the period, the game would have been out of reach after 40 minutes if not for Joseph Woll.
The Marlies briefly showed some fire in their belly with a few good shifts to begin the final frame, with the best scoring chance falling to Joey Anderson, who was unable to find a way past Grosenick in this game despite seven shots on net.
Steen should have netted a fourth for the Bruins on a 2-on-1 break, but it mattered little.
Two goals in 24 seconds for Providence before the eight-minute mark of the period put an exclamation point on their victory.
Eduards Tralmaks potted the fourth and Steen the fifth, the latter of which Woll would want back. Little blame could be laid at the feet of the goaltender, however, as he had done his best to keep Toronto in the game despite a lack of support from the team in front of him.
Post Game Notes
– Toronto took two of a possible six points through a three-in-three weekend on the road against Atlantic Division opponents. The Marlies have allowed five goals against in three of their last four outings and five of their last seven games.
– The injury to Joseph Duszak is believed to be his right ankle, but there has been no official word on his status.
– Bobby McMann scored his second goal of the weekend and fourth of the season. He’s up to seven points in 14 games.
– It was an unhappy return to the AHL for Joseph Woll after a nice run with the Maple Leafs. He turned aside 36 shots and kept the game in reach for 47 minutes. There was little he could have done to avoid the inevitable, but he was without a doubt Toronto’s best player in this defeat.
– Pavel Gogolev returned to the lineup in the absence of the recently-recalled Brett Seney, while Matteo Pietroniro replaced the recently-recalled Carl Dahlstrom.
– Sunday’s lines:
Suomela – Abramov – Anderson
McMann – Douglas – Ho-Sang
Gogolev – Chyzowski – Clune
Kopacka – Der-Arguchintsev – McKenna
Krys – Duszak
Hellickson – Hoefenmayer
Pietroniro – Král