William Nylander briefly takes AHL scoring lead as Marlies and IceCaps combine for seventeen goals

150321-sm-1-TSG_4355

Over the past few weeks, everybody from journalists, to players, to Toronto’s own Mike Babcock have had their say on the goal increase debate. Does the league need to, or is everything fine? If it’s a necessity, should it be done through shrinking pads, or increasing the size of the nets? Is strategy the problem?

The Toronto Marlies and St. John’s IceCaps heard everybody’s arguments, and responded by having the AHL’s third 17 goal game in the last 17 years. Leading the way was William Nylander, who was lights out in the closing stages to help Toronto pull off a four-goal comeback en route to a 9-8 victory. Here are the key stories from tonight’s game.

Nylander’s Big Night

The Marlies didn’t want a repeat of last night, where they picked up a point but fell to their suddenly-actually-rivals in overtime. The big guns were going to have to fire at all cylinders for tonight to work, out, and when Nylander set up TJ Brennan for an equalizer in the first period, things seemed like they were going to be okay; especially when the Marlies quickly followed with another pair of goals.

But then, things began to slip away from them. The IceCaps scored seven of the next eight goals. Zach Hyman’s second tally of the season acted as a midway-point, so to speak, but the Marlies had just nineteen minutes to crawl out of an 8-4 deficit.

No problem, after Marc Arcobello’s goal began the rally, Nylander fed Josh Leivo not once, but twice before the midway point of the period. Sam Carrick capped off the rally, setting the game up for for an unlikely overtime. The hero, on the other hand, was much more predictable. 

With the goal and three primary assists, Nylander briefly took the top spot in the AHL scoring race from Bridgeport’s Joe Whitney, thanks to games in hand. Whitney, however, picked up an assist shortly afterwards, leaving Nylander in second place. That’s still incredibly good; his 19 points in 14 games puts the teenaged Calgary-born Swede on pace for 101 over 75 games played.

Goaltender Struggles

This wasn’t a fun night to be a goaltener on either team, as both Antoine Bibeau and Zach Fucale were left in for an exraordinarily long time. Bibeau, who was playing his first game since being called up by the Leafs, allowed eight goals on the night, seven of which came in a span of just twenty one minutes and eighteen shots on goal. Fucale lasted fourteen minutes longer, but also gave up eight on the night.

Garret Sparks had a significantly easier time in between the pipes. In twenty and a half minutes, he faced just three shots, all of which he saved without hesitation. Eddie Pasquale was perfect in regulation, but ultimately allowed Nylander to break his mini-shutout.

Bibeau moves down to a save percentage of 0.880 on the year, while Sparks moves up to 0.929.

Hot Streaks Live Forever

All the usual suspects continued to light it up for Toronto. Josh Leivo’s pair of goals and assists brought above the point-per game mark (14 points in 13 games) while Richard Panik’s three assists brought him to 13-in-13. Mark Arcobello continues his massive tear; he’s picked up a point in every game he’s played in since coming down, and has six goals and four assist sin ten games. TJ Brennan also remains with grasp of of a point-per game.

With that, three Marlies are in the top 20 of AHL scoring, and five players are in the top 50. Needless to say, they can score when they want to. Toronto became the first AHL team to score 55 goals on the year in the first period; they also became the first to score 60 in the third.

The Marlies have a point in every game since October 30th.

Almost Done

The road trip makes its last stop on Wednesday, when the Marlies take on the Rochester Americans. Puck drop is at 7PM. After that, Toronto will close November with four of five games at home.

Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com

  • CMpuck

    Never been this excited for a Leafs prospect before, I mean I saw Clark during his prime but didn’t get to see him develop.

    Just bought my tickets for Marner coming to town with the Knights, who needs the Leafs?

    Also for an ‘ask Jeffler’ why is Alex DeBrincat ranked to low given his ppg? Is it just his size and would you like him as a candidate to take with Pittsburgh’s 1st?

  • FlareKnight

    It is kind of amazing. Seeing one of our prospects playing so insanely good…just incredible. Of course Marner is having another amazing year in the OHL, but this is a 19 year old just lighting up the AHL.

    Ever since Nylander got drafted the guy has impressed again and again. He may still be working on his defensive game and center responsibilities, but offense isn’t an issue that’s for sure.

    I can’t wait to see him on the Leafs. Can already see what Babcock has been able to pull from a group with not much talent outside a few guys. Giving him a Nylander to work with will be great.

    We just haven’t had a prospect that has been able to excite in his development the way Nylander has. He isn’t just meeting expectations, he’s blasting them out of the water.

  • Gary Empey

    The Leafs have no center to play with Dzerkals – – Timashev, Bracco — Brown, Soshnokov- – Vesey, Leipsig- – Hyman, and Korostelev and Panik, -. And added to Johnson-Nylander-Leivo and Kapanen-Marner-2016, the Leafs are overloaded with small forwards.
    Among Centers with 1 ppg and NHl size -6’0 or taller – Matthews, McL,eod, Bellows and Jost will go early. I wouldn’t just take BPA, based on IMO, I would guess what other teams were doing. So, 23rd/Pitts pick, Logan Brown; 2nf rnd, German Rubtsov, 2nf d rnd, 52nd ? Otto Somppi, 3rd rnd, Trent Fox. Others: Pascal Laberge, Cameron Morrison C/W, Tim Wahlgren, Rodrigo Abols, Noah Gregor (C)
    = Dzerkals –L Brown -Timashev, Bracco – Rubtsov- Brown, Soshnikov- Somppi -Vesey, Leipsig- Fox -Hyman, and Korostelev-.Igumnov – Pilipenko, and Panik- Wahlgren – Stransky,
    Draft Goalie Tyler Parsons 3rd rnd 80th, then 4th,, 5th, 6th rounds draft 3 defencemen (from Kristians Rubins Tarmo Reunanen Sebastian Aho, V. Rykov), (Charles McAvoy Chad Krys Victor Mete = 2nd rnd) ,(forwards Taylor Raddysh Simon Stransky Brett Howden _ 2nd rnd).
    late 6th and early 7th Russians.( Igumnov, Pilipenko)

    • magesticRAGE

      Hyman, Vesey, Bailey, R. Rupert, all play center. There are more on Orlando in need be. Gauthier is having good chemistry with Soshnokov as well. This is also assuming that Marner plays in the NHL. Not sure about the lack of centerman that you are alluding to. Orlando has many, just waiting for the chance, NCAA as well.
      Drafting a center would be ideal, but it’s always better to get the most skilled player available, small or not. In the case the need for size arises, you’d have skill to trade, which has a higher value.
      My two cents

    • Gary Empey

      Leaving our first pick aside, I think what the scouts will be looking at, is the positions now being filled by our older players. We should/may already have their replacements in the minors. If Hunter and his staff do as great a job this year as they did last we may end up with too many NHL caliber players in the system. This would be a pleasant problem we have never had to deal with before. Leafs have already 11 picks in the 2016 NHL draft.

      Let’s not forget about the coming 2017 expansion.
      The 2000 NHL expansion draft model was: Teams were each allowed to protect either one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards.

  • Gary Empey

    AHL is now considering smaller nets and bigger goalie equipment.

    Those broadcasters in St. John’s are very colourful. I only watched the highlights but I think they had to hit the kill switch on the microphone a few times. They closed with ” It’s a staggering loss for St. John’s”

  • Gary Empey

    Nylander just continues to get better and better. The first time I ever saw him play live was for Sweden in last years world juniors against the Swiss. Even then his ability to split the defence so casually was a sight to behold. And he still surprises me. He gained an impressive amount of size over the summer and filled out his frame. I do not think it is a stretch to say that he has been dominant in the AHL and presents an interesting problem to the Leafs brain trust. Do you call the kid up, because he seems to be almost too good for the AHL at times and could compete in the NHL, or do you let him develop further against lesser competition. The way they handle Nylander will set the precedent as to how we handle prospect under the new regime.