Careless mistakes from cost the Toronto Marlies early, and ultimately buried them late in a Sunday night tilt against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
With Timothy Liljegren out of the lineup with an injury he suffered Saturday night early in the first period against the WBS Penguins, #1 defenseman Calle Rosen was asked to step up even more than he has this season, and he ended up with a generally disheartening performance.
Dmytro Timashov and Trevor Moore each made sloppy mistakes in judgement late in the game, throwing a potential comeback victory out of reach moments after newcomer Morgan Klimchuk brought the team back into the fight.
On the bright side, Pierre Engvall had a great night, and we got a chance to see the utterly brilliant talent that is Carter Hart before the new management group in Philly find a way to waste his talents. The next Carey Price, y’all!
Right off the bat, the biggest news was that 19-year-old defenseman Timothy Liljegren is out with an injury. He took a hard hit into the boards on Saturday night and looked very shaken up on the bench. He tried to return to the game, but ultimately left for the evening. He wasn’t in the lineup tonight either as Jordan Subban replaced him. Andreas Borgman isn’t injured, but Marlies GM Laurence Gilman cited that he’s dealing with some soreness, so he sat for Sam Jardine.
Frankie Corrado has pretty much taken Subban’s spot in the lineup on the third pair with Borgman, but Subban got a chance Sunday night with Rosen to his left. Jordan played in his first game since missing the last five as a healthy scratch, but he was far from the most rusty pair of legs getting back in the lineup. Sam Jardine hadn’t played since October 23rd, a 12-game absence, and Emerson Clark (who came in for Griffen Molino) was in for the first time since October 14th, a stretch of 15 games off.
Dmytro Timashov - Chris Mueller - Jeremy Bracco
Pierre Engvall - Josh Jooris - Carl Grundstrom
Mason Marchment - Adam Brooks - Trevor Moore
Morgan Klimchuk - Colin Greening - Emerson Clark
Calle Rosen - Jordan Subban
Rasmus Sandin - Vincent LoVerde
Sam Jardine - Frank Corrado
Midway through the first, Phil Varone skated across the Marlies blueline, twisted Clark into a pylon, and got a shot to conveniently ricochet off Rosen and into the net. Varone was tied with Syracuse’s Cory Conacher for first in the AHL in scoring with 27 points in 21 games heading into. Conacher actually has 27 in 15, so he’s ahead in my mind even after tonight.
Phil VA-RONE— LehighValleyPhantoms (@LVPhantoms) December 2, 2018
A Lehigh Valley treat! pic.twitter.com/FobneIWwN7
Sandin and LoVerde got caught out against the Phantoms’ deadly first line and Varone scored again. It was a clear-cut mismatch as Sandin got stripped behind the net by Greg Carey, and there was no one in front of the net to stop Varone from slotting home his second goal of the game.
Holy Varone!— LehighValleyPhantoms (@LVPhantoms) December 2, 2018
That's ✌ tonight. pic.twitter.com/WtV3xsOQU3
Engvall had a good chance near the end of the period when his shot from in close at a shallow angle bounced off the crossbar. He had another moment in the offensive zone on the power play that caught my interest. He sent a bullet of a pass that almost looked like a half-clapper to Timashov across the ice past a penalty killers stick. It was insanely accurate and quick, and the Marlies got a good chance out of it in the moments after.
It was such a dynamic and quick pass that it reminded me of The Mitch Thing Mitch Marner does on the power play. I can’t wait to see the 21-year-old Engvall blossum this season. He has all the skills to be a great middle-six player in the NHL. Rosen has also shown the ability to make stretch passes of that skill level this season, despite a trying game on Sunday. Keep your eyes on him, too.
Engvall got rewarded with some great play with a tip-in shot early in the second period! Grundstrom did a great job pushing the puck into the offensive zone and clearing space for Subban to throw a shot at the net. Engvall was in front, fighting for position with a defender, and was able to tip the shot just slightly to the right and past Philadelphia Flyers top prospect Carter Hart.
With Rosen draped all over him, Phantoms forward Nic Aube-Kubel somehow found a loose puck while falling to the ice and sniped it far-side high on McAdam to put the Marlies down two.
Late in the second, Bracco, Timashov, and Mueller were rushing into the offensive zone. Bracco sent an amazing feed past Timashov and right onto Mueller’s backhand. Phantoms goalie Carter Hart (I’m sorry, I can’t help but say his full name every time) burst across his crease and stole the shot away with his glove. He has been nigh unbeatable this season, including tonight.
The Marlies largely were able to keep up with the Phantoms, especially the skaters, but the difference was in net. Despite his season-long numbers, Eamon McAdam has been a great goalie for the Marlies. He’s kept them in games, and stood tall during stretches of erroneous play in front of him. But even at his best, he wasn’t even close to the quality of Hart.
Hart’s rebound control has been something to watch and he’s got the ability to move anywhere on the ice and still be prepared to make a save. He reminded me of a less polished Freddy Andersen.
Coming off a disappointing power play, Morgan Klimchuk danced around a defenseman and sniped a shot to the top corner past Hart. One thing I’ve noticed with Klimchuk is that he has a swagger to him when he gets to deke and snipe. He loves it. And I can’t help but love it, too, especially when he does it like that.
With Timashov in the box once again for a dirty hit into the boards in the offensive zone, the Phantoms make the Marlies pay with a power play goal.
That Timashov penalty was completely unneccessary and it cost the Marlies a goal, and probably a win. https://t.co/9kIwpNN3lf— Frosty the SnowLad ☃️ (@HardevLad) December 2, 2018
After a urgent series of passes on the left side of the ice, the Marlies penalty killers left the entire right side open for business. Chris Conner stepped into that spot, stopped a pass from David Kase, and beat a diving McAdam, who was doing everything in his power to make a Superman save.
More unnecessary mistakes. With the two teams going for a line change, Trevor Moore tried to get fancy in front of his own net and gave the puck away to the lone forechecker in the offensive zone. Sandin was the only other player back and had to trip up Taylor Leier so that he doesn’t score. The referees called a penalty shot and Leier scored anyway.
Toronto’s next game will be on Wednesday night against the Providence Bruins. Puck drop at 7pm EST. The Teddy Bear Toss game will be Saturday afternoon against the Laval Rocket AT SCOTIABANK ARENA. I won’t be there because York University thought putting my second last exam in that same time slot would be a hilarious thing to do. Thanks, York.