After getting swept in three games last weekend, the Toronto Marlies looked to turn their fortune around as they headed out on a three game road trip against the Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins and Albany Devils.
While they are feeling the effects of losing William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov and Zach Hyman to the big club, they got some assistance as TJ Brennan is back with the squad for this three game weekend. Before the weekend started, Brennan led the Marlies in points with 55.
Rinat Valiev was called up this weekend on an emergency basis and participated in his first NHL game against the Ottawa Senators. He then played his second game yesterday against the Detroit Red Wings. Valiev has had an impressive season with the Marlies this season, posting 21 points in 54 games this season.
Even after losing the last three games, the Marlies rolled into Portland still sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 43-13-4 record. The Marlies also boasted the best winning percentage with 0.750.
The Toronto Marlies quickly put their three game losing streak behind them with a dominating win over the Pirates by a final score of 9-2.
It took the Marlies only four minutes to hit the score sheet with Mark Arcobello scoring his 22nd of the season. Tobias Lindberg followed just under a minute later with his ninth of the season.
Colin Smith chased Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna from the net with his 17th of the season. He allowed three goals on 10 shots with only 10:35 of ice time.
Wade Meagan cut the deficit by two, with his ninth of the season to make it 3-1.
The Marlies offensive onslaught continued in the second as they scored five in the frame. Sam Carrick notched his 10th and 11th of the season, while Justin Holl added his fifth goal of the campaign. Tobias Lindberg added his second of the game and Connor Brown tallied his ninth of the season. He would finish off with a four-point night along with Arcobello.
The Pirates would get one back as former Marlie, Greg McKegg scored for the Pirates in the second but it wasn’t enough against a deep Marlies squad.
Josh Leivo would make it 9-2 with his 14th of the year. Even without the likes of Nylander, Soshnikov and Hyman, this team still continues to produce and find ways to score and win games.
Connor Brown was named the first star of the game, while Tobias Lindberg and TJ Brennan were named second and third respectively. Lindberg now has five goals and seven points since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators. Brennan (before the game against the Providence Bruins) now has 57 points in 60 games played.
After missing a number of games this season with an ankle injury, Brown is showing no signs of slowing down. After tallying 61 points in his rookie season last year, he is having another impressive season with 24 points in 26 games played.
Here is Sheldon Keefe with his post-game comments:
On the second day of the weekend road trip, the Marlies rolled into Providence on a high note to try and take game two against the Bruins.
The Bruins however edged the Marlies in overtime on Saturday, 3-2.
The Marlies got the early lead in the game with goals by Matt Frattin (11th of the season) and Kasperi Kapanen (ninth goal) in the first period.
While the second period was scoreless, the goals picked right up early in the third period. Alexander Khokhlachev and Brian Ferlin scored in the first five minutes of the frame.
Ferlin ended up scoring the game-winning goal for the Bruins 3:22 into overtime.
In the final two periods, including overtime, the Bruins outshot the Marlies 26- 16.
Antoine Bibeau made 35 of 38 saves in this game after stopping 23 of 25 against the Pirates.
Since being acquired form the Colorado Avalanche, Colin Smith now has four goals and six assists in nine games with the Marlies.
Here are the highlights form the game:
In the final game of the weekend road trip, the Marlies rolled into Albany looking to bounce back after the overtime loss against the Providence Bruins.
Unfortunately, the Marlies took another loss, losing 3-2 to the Devils. Despite going winless last weekend, the Marlies went 1-1-1 over the weekend.
Brendan Leipsic and Eric Faille scored for the Marlies, while Raman Hrabarenka had two goals and Nick Lappin scored for the Devils.
Alex Stalock filled in for Antoine Bibeau in net after he started in the first two games. Stalock made 21 saves in the loss. He has lost both his starts and has allowed six goals since arriving in a trade to Toronto that sent James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks.
The Marlies still sit in first place in the Eastern Conference and 11 points ahead of the Devils.