Are the Toronto Marlies back? Well, it sure seems like it, as the team returns to 0.500 thanks to their fifth win in sixth games, a 4-0 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps which gives them both the positive results in a weekend with a quick turnaround and extends their actual winning streak to four games.
Like most of the previous night, the Marlies were in total control, with the IceCaps often lost as to where they should send the puck after receiving it. Toronto used that to their advantage, and with a minute to go in the first period, Seth Griffith fired hope his second goal in as many games to put Toronto on the board.
Their success continued into the second and third periods, as they outshot the IceCaps 31-22 in those periods. But what really mattered was how they converted on powerplay opportunities that were afforded to them in that stretch. Dmytro Timashov picked up two powerplay tallies and Andreas Johnsson buried his tenth goal of the season, putting the game well out of reach for a deflated St. John’s roster that started the weekend by taking 12 of the first 13 shots and ended up going 46-79 in that regard from that point on.
On the other side of the ice, Garret Sparks faced much less rubber than Yann Danis, but he made several key saves when it was deemed necessary. He fended away all 27 shots that he faced, getting himself a shutout and improving his full-season Save Percentage to 0.930, good for second in the entire AHL.
With the win, the Marlies improve to 20-20-2-1; a neat 0.500 record. What’s impressive is that they’re back to +10 in goal differential; that actually leads the division, with only two Syracuse and Albany even in the positives. For now, though, they’ll have to settle for fifth of seven in the standings component of the North.
Toronto now gets a full week off and will return to the ice next Saturday to take on the Syracuse Crunch. If they can win both of those matchups, or at least walk away with two of four points it would be massive for their odds of climbing back into the playoff picture.