Photo Credit: Paul Hendrick / @HennyTweets
The Toronto Marlies won’t get much time to regroup after yesterday’s 3-1 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Less than 24 hours after the final buzzer, they’ll head back onto the ice at the GIANT Center and take a second crack at their opponents. Here’s what’s going down tonight.
Not much has come out of anybody as of the time of publishing. Then again, we’re running ahead of morning skate here. If Sheldon Keefe’s comments post-game were any indication, though, expect some shakeup.
“We got worse and worse as the game wore on,” said the head coach last night. “There was no urgency, no purpose or structure to our game. It was a massive step backwards for us.”
Whether that shakeup comes through a lineup change, systems change, or from Keefe
yelling at politely asking his team to get their heads out of the sand is anybody’s guess.
Nobody was banged up last night and the Bears looked very impressive. I’d be shocked if there was any noticeable change to the team in any way today, which could work in Toronto’s advantage if they’ve been overnighting the game tape. Somebody should go check on Justin Bourne.
Justin Peters will presumably get back in net for the Bears. Yes, it’s a back-to-back night, but they’re likely going to ride this 0.936 hype train until it hits 88 miles per hour and brings him back to where he was in the regular season. Peters was excellent yesterday, stopping 19 of 20 shots.
As for the Marlies, I’m going to assume that Garret Sparks ran over somebody’s pet if he isn’t in tonight. Three consecutive sub-0.900 starts for Antoine Bibeau, two of which were losses, and the second half of a back-to-back. It’s now or never, right?
What To Watch For
The Marlies aren’t cracking Justin Peters if they’re only going to put 20 pucks on net again. Hershey are a tight defensive team, but Albany was better in the regular season and still wasn’t as effective as the Bears were last night. Keefe is on point when he states that Toronto needs to bring back a sense of urgency if they want to win this series, and for the Marlies, that involves flexing their offensive muscles. If they have to win 7-6 rather than 2-1, so be it. But this can’t be a night where the team goes for pretty setups and waits for “the moment” to score; the net has to be their punching bag.
Puck drop is at 7:00 PM. Once again, you’ll find them on TSN2, TSN 1050, AHL Live, or you can watch a Nicolas Cage movie instead.
Note: Our post-game coverage will likely be delayed tonight; I have other plans and am unlikely to be near a computer until the morning.