Marlies Sweep Chicago Wolves

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The Toronto Marlies found themselves in prime opportunity today to do something outside of the expectation for any team, not just themselves. A win tonight would knock out the Chicago Wolves and send the blue and white to the Western Conference Finals without having yet lost a game.
Certainly nothing that anybody would predict, but they got the job done again tonight, winning the game, and the series,  4-0.

Just like in every other game of this postseason, Toronto was first to strike. After Drew MacIntyre made a flurry of saves, they rushed the puck back up the ice, leading to Greg McKegg putting home his 3rd of the playoffs. An extensive list of powerplays ensued, but neither team wss able to do much with them.
Just three minutes into the second period, the Marlies picked up where they left off. Sam Carrick passed over to Carter Ashton, who winded up a slapshot and blasted the puck into the back of the net. Chicago began to heat up in the bottom half of the period, peppering MacIntyre with shots, but couldn’t convert any into goals. 
The scoresheet momentum didn’t stop there. Seven minutes into the third period, Carrick sent Peter Holland on a breakaway, and the team’s top centre widened the gap to 3-0. Korbinian Holzer added an empty netter with five seconds left to seal the deal. 

Other Notes

  • Drew MacIntyre started in goal, and stopped all 30 shots for the shutout. He stood on his head at times and kept the Marlies ahead for the bulk of the game. One of the best performances of the year from him.
  • Andrew MacWilliam left Game 3 with an upper body injury, and didn’t play tonight. Kevin Marshall drew back into the lineup to take his place. Steve Spott gives him a 4-5 day timeline for recovery. 
  • The forward lines saw a shakeup tonight. Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick switched lines, and David Broll came out of the lineup for Frazer McLaren. I’m not too hot on that last move, but hey, he got an assist on the McKegg goal.
  • The powerplay was ineffective, scoring on none of their five opportunities. The penalty kill unit was thrown to the Wolves 4 times, and fended them off all of them.
  • Attendance at Ricoh Coliseum was 7388, which was a much more impressive number than Wednesday’s game. More than double, actually. 
  • The Marlies will face the winner of Grand Rapids / Texas in the conference finals. 
  • TGT23

    Why the marlies success? According to the many of the advanced stat folks and Simmons the leafs have NO top end prospects.

    Is this just PDO luck with the team playing above them which will result in the typical leaf collapse? OR does this team “compete” at a high enough level to win?

    • TGT23

      It has a lot to do with how you rate prospects. they often overweight potential, especially as it relates to possible star players taken in the first round.

      Lots of ratings systems overweight small, super talented 18 and 19 year-old offensive players with great junior stats.

      These same systems underweight the value of 20-25 year-old two-way players who have already made the jump from junior and have decent stats in the the AHL…even though some of these guys are about to make the jump to the bottom 6 or third pairing of an NHL and have a 10 year career.

      Guess which type the Leafs have?

      It’s crazy that reporters don’t talk about Granberg, Carrick or Leivo as great prospects. They are, and all sorts of players and coaches in the AHL already know it.

    • TGT23

      The Quick answer is, the Marlies best players aren’t prospects. Drew Macintyre is a 30 yr old journeyman goaltender and TJ Brennan is 25, and probably get signed by a team next year. Neither guy was slated to have a future on the Leafs outside of injuries, or if they decide Macintyre is a better option than resigning Reimer/signing a new backup for Bernier.

      The longer answer is a the Leafs prefer to draft safe players, guys like Frederik Gauthier who are big, physically developed, and well rounded enough to make it at least into the Leafs bottom 6.

      As a result they have a lot good but not great prospects. A lot of guys who will probably be in the NHL but are unlikely to be game changers.

      Percy and Granberg are both solid two way defensemen, but no would mistake them for future a Shea Weber or Drew Doughty. Similarly Leivo and Carrick are both solid contributors on the Marlies but are unlikely to score at the same level in the NHL.

      One of the things Shanahan talked about in relation to the upcoming draft is to buck this trend and to go after players with high end potential even if they’re considered high risk.

      As for their “compete” Steve Spott and the coaching staff have done a great job with a largely rookie team. The Marlies play a structured sound game, and their PK and PP are both pretty solidly, and unlike their parent club they don’t look completely lost in their own end.

    • TGT23

      Two things come to mind.

      1) You don’t know what “Top Prospect” means.
      2) You don’t fully grasp what the AHL or Marlies are about.

      The term “Top Prospect” refers to skaters that have potential to be top 6, top pairing, #1 goalie type players.

      What the Marlies have are a lot of really good potential bottom 6 guys, fringe NHLers, and journeymen. Their best players are not prospects anymore but developed players that fit the journeyman label.

      You can be a great AHL player and never be quite good enough for the NHL. That’s the league.