Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
May 31 2014 03:57PM
This wasn't a must-win game mathematically, but realistically, it may as well have been. A loss today would put the Marlies in an elimination situation with the final two games of the series on the road, a situation you don't want to be in against an elite team that thrives in their home building. Unfortunately for Toronto, this is the exact situation they now face, following a 2-1 loss in Game 5 of the AHL's Western Conference Finals.
The game got off to a stupendously quick start. Just forty one seconds in, Spencer Abbott opened the scoring by putting in his fourth goal in as many periods. It was a great start for Toronto, but one that didn't last very long. Texas began to swarm them, as they've done many times before, with three consecutive Marlies penalties giving the Stars even more opportunity to thrive. Despite being outshot 17-5, the 1-0 lead remained at the end of the first period.
Eventually, the wall that has been Drew MacIntyre was slightly cracked. Midway thorugh the second period, Scott Glennie scored his fourth of the playoffs, and almost exactly a period later, Taylor Peters popped a rebound in for the eventual game winner. Toronto pressed in the final minutes, but struggled to get shots on net, let alone past Cristopher Nilstrop.
Drew MacIntyre should probably get Playoff MVP even if this team doesn't make it to the finals. 31 saves on 33 shots tonight, and he was often hung out to dry. His run over the course of these playoffs has been a treat to watch.
Peter Holland's point streak ended today, not jumping on the score sheet for the first time in these playoffs. He didn't have any shots on goal, and took a hooking penalty two and a half minutes into the game.
Jerry D'Amigo took a slapshot to the knee in the first period and was extremely slow to head to the bench, but came back quickly and finished the game.
Dylan Yeo and Josh Leivo co-led the team in shots on goal, with four.
Toronto has been outshot 193 to 117 in this series. You'd think these teams were in different leagues, with a gap like that. To put today's performance into context, the Marlies had one more shot the entire game than the Stars had in the first period.
Taking three penalties so quickly probably killed any chance at momentum that the Marlies could have gained. They did kill all four powerplays against, but if you're letting the Stars establish and dominate the zone, that isn't much better.
Game 6 is on Monday Night, in Texas. It could be the last game of the season, so tune in on LeafsTV if you have a chance.