Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The situation is bad. You don’t need an expert to tell you that being down 3-0 in a series isn’t particularly ideal. Most would have had the Marlies as the team in this type of drivers seat if you asked them a few weeks ago, but tonight, the team faces a much quicker elimination than anybody expected from these Eastern Conference Finals.
We’ll set the stage with these two posts:
- Marlies playoff hopes diminished after huge loss to Hershey
- The Marlies are in trouble, so let’s see what they do with it
It doesn’t undermine the rest of their season to date, but let’s call a spade a spade; Game 3 was an embarrassment; particularly the third period. Sheldon Keefe talked about the team having to decide how they want to be remembered with their play moving forward.
We’ll see which group sets out to do that. At time of publishing, roster changes haven’t been made open knowledge. I’d imagine that Frederik Gauthier, Tobias Lindberg, and maybe Matt Frattin get at least a shade of consideration for drawing into the lineup. What happens in reality, though, is anybody’s guess.
They won 8-2 and have four chances to close out this series. Nobody on the team appeared to be banged up, and the lineup is so hot that Zach Sill is out there scoring multiple goals in a game. I wouldn’t bet on there being many changes.
Justin Peters is going back in net for Hershey. Why wouldn’t he? They’ve relied on him this far down the stretch and he still hasn’t let them down. At this point, he’s five wins away from silverware with a 0.937 in the playoffs; he might not actually hit his taper off time before the playoffs end. That’s Hershey’s wish and Toronto’s nightmare, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
I have absolutely no idea who I’d want to start in goal for the Toronto Marlies tonight. Antoine Bibeau was very sub-par in Game 3 and Garret Sparks was even worse, though he did come in as his team had given up all hope. Is Jonathan Bernier around to post back-to-back-to-back shutouts again? Realistically, though, the team goes with Bibeau; he’s been the goalie down the strech and he’s going to be given the chance to either escape the dug hole, or bury into it.
What To Watch For
The Marlies need to treat this situation for what it is. It’s not about four games; it’s about one. Hell, make it about a period, or a shift. Nobody gets anywhere by reaching for a goal that they’ve accepted that they won’t reach. Toronto is a great team that can achieve reasonable expectations, and if they break this one up into segments, they can make a reasonable series out of this, or possibly even more.
They wouldn’t be the first team to come back from 0-3. They won’t even be the first to do it after giving up eight goals in a loss. If the crowd stays behind them for all 60 minutes and they’re able to get some halfway decent goaltending, anything is possible.
A step at a time, though. Crawl before you walk before you run. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM; catch it on TSN2, TSN 1050, or go watch your favourite Nicolas Cage movie. I hear Gone in 60 Seconds is about cars.