Heading into downtown Toronto during rush hour is
practically a suicide mission. Everything is so crowded, and you find yourself
in a panic, over-thinking every step you make in an attempt to get just a
little closer to your destination. As much as that’s a description of my
commute to Ricoh Coliseum, it could also be applied to the Toronto Marlies’
playoff push. Tonight, they attempted to further push into the crowd, taking on
the Chicago Wolves. However, as the 2-1 result would indicate, it didn’t work out.
Toronto started this game off by taking the first few shots on net, and in turn, this lead to the first goal. Just under five minutes in, Viktor Loov made a very intelligent pinch that lead to his sixth goal of the season, though the lead it created was eliminated before you could blink. Just forty five seconds later, Joel Edmundson tied the game for Chicago, giving the game a fresh start.
While the Marlies were bailed out by a waived-off goal towards the end of the period, their luck was overdue to shift. With three minutes to go in the frame, Magnus Paajarvi beat Christopher Gibson with his ninth goal of the year to legitimately put the Wolves up.
The second period had a clear cut story line, and it transcended Chicago vs. Toronto. No, it was everybody versus the fire alarm. For the bulk of the twenty minutes, a loud alarm beeped and booped, all while the two teams kept playing. The Marlies really poured it on in this time, but couldn’t convert it into a goal.
Toronto carried this pressure into the third period, all while Gibson regained his composure and began to look like the netminder that’s been starting for two and a half consecutive weeks. That pressure didn’t turn into pucks on net for either side; just nine shots were taken combined. With a minute to go in the game, the Marlies headed to their fifth powerplay, though even with a sixth attacker, they couldn’t find a way to make it work.
If I could be honest, there wasn’t a true standout in this one. A lot of guys played pretty well, but really, nobody was particularly spectacular. I suppose if I had to award it to anybody, Victor Loov would be the guy. Not just for scoring Toronto’s only goal, but for the fact that he took a bunch of other creative risks offensively. Even if they didn’t always work, he was at least carrying the puck into the offensive zone a bunch, which is always useful.
Summing It Up
With all of the focus on the likes of Hamilton and
Adirondack, it was almost easy to forget that the Wolves were in this playoff
race too. Considering that, it was good to see them spend most of the game outplaying their opponents, though obviously, a better result would have been preferable.
All of that said, the powerplay was once again a key issue, and probably cost them this game. Not just the last chance, but the fact that they weren’t able to generate anything significant in five opportunities must leave them a bit frustrated.
The Marlies play their next game on against the Lake Erie Monsters, in Cleveland, on Friday night. Puck drop
is at 7:30PM.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com