May 10 2014 09:53PM
It's as if they don't know any better. I still don't know if it's possible to call the perpetual underdogs "for real", but one thing is for sure - the Toronto Marlies are putting up some out of this world results in these playoffs. Tonight, they had a chance to effectively crush the Chicago Wolves' home ice advantage, and did just that, winning by a score of 5-2 and bring home a 2-0 series lead.
Toronto made their biggest statement in the first period, and it only took a minute to get the ball rolling. Carter Ashton began the play with a hit behind the net, and as the puck sailed back, Peter Holland went backhand to open the scoring. Just six minutes later, Brandon Kozun confused Jake Allen with a pass that looked like a wrist shot, and Trevor Smith was left with a wide open net as a result.
Before the period could close, Kenny Ryan found himself on a breakaway, but couldn't convert. What he did do, however, was grab the puck, turn around, and look for a pass. Josh Leivo became open, and earned himself his second of the playoffs.
Chicago clawed back to an extent. Shane Harper broke Drew MacIntyre's shutout bid just two minutes into the second period, and with Allen on the bench, Dimitrj Jaskin added a powerplay tally to set up an intense ending. However, the second attempt at pulling the goalie didn't go as well for the Wolves, and Jerry D'Amigo added the insurance marker for the game's final goal.
Before we get to the usual notes, I have to point this out. The Toronto Marlies have played four of their first five playoff games on the road. This is typically a significant disadvantage. They're 4-0-0 in those games, and have a goal differential of +12. It's a small sample, but it's also incredibly impressive.
Drew MacIntyre made 22 saves on 24 shots. Not a mindblowing night, but a good one and certainly one that was good enough to get the win.
Sam Carrick lead the team with four shots on goal, but was held off the score sheet entirely. He's been due for a game like this for a bit, they'll probably happen again, and it's not a bad thing. Especially when one considers that this is a development team first, one should prefer it when players are controlling the play to when they are producing points. The team itself, on the other hand, is probably happy that he's usually doing both.
Peter Holland and Carter Ashton came storming out of the gate, and then the entire line went kind of quiet. Not entirely surprising, an early three goal lead was enough excuse to rest to their just-made-healthy firepower a bit.
- Jerry D'Amigo now has an obnoxious nine points in five playoff games. This brings him to 31 in as many career post-season battles, significantly above his regular season rate.
- Only a combined 14 penalty minutes tonight, and the Marlies gave up their lone penalty kill just four minutes in. One of the most disciplined games I've seen all year.
The Marlies return home to Toronto for Game 7 on Wednesday. It's a 7PM start.