Last night the Toronto Marlies played the Rochester Americans. It was a special night with old friend of Leafs fans Brian Gionta in the lineup for one night to play a game — the only game he’s played all season outside of the Olympic team. He is now off to be the captain of Team USA, having made himself feel good by scoring one goal.
It was an off night for Garrett Sparks, and he let in two goals.
Yeah, two goals against is an off night for him. Andreas Johnsson isn’t the only player on a super hot streak right now.
Garret Sparks is now 18-6-0-1 with a 1.62GAA .944% and is four wins away from being the #Marlies all time leader in wins. He has 67, Justin Pogge had 71. Sparks has played 104 games, Pogge played 142— Todd Crocker (@HockeyCrock) February 3, 2018
And lest you think this is the old Amerks who were always bad, they are in second place to the Marlies in the North Division and only seven points behind. Only. It wasn’t an easy win even if the final score was 4-2, padded with an empty net goal.
About the goals. Andreas Johnsson scored this one in exciting fashion less than half a minute after Gionta’s go-ahead goal.
He then had the primary assist on Miro Aaltonen’s game winning goal in the third period. This is after a hat trick last weekend, a trip to the All-Star game where he scored a key goal on the way to a win, and you have to ask: Why is this guy sitting in the AHL?
The answer is, of course, that the Leafs have a lot of wingers who can score goals. The other answer is that sometimes you just do get stuck in the minors even if it looks like you’re ready. Linus Ullmark, in net for the Amerks, is a good goalie, but most AHL goalies aren’t NHL-level. Goal scoring doesn’t always translate.
What Johnsson has going for him is that he plays left wing, so at least he isn’t looking up at Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen ahead of him. He might get a chance.
Johnsson needs a new contract this summer and he will not be waiver exempt next year like he is now. If it was time for Frederik Gauthier to get a long, and in my opinion undeserved, look, it’s time for Johnsson too.
Two views of the epic battle last night:
Capitals vs. Penguins Recap: Pittsburgh Puts Hurting on Washington - Japers' Rink
Malkin and Kessel provide punch behind Penguins’ 7-4 victory
Penguins vs. Capitals Recap: Punxsutawney Phil sees a goal light 7 times. Pittsburgh crushes Caps - PensBurgh
Phil Kessel and his best bud Evgeni Malkin each score 2 goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins blow open a game in the 3rd period to defeat the Washington Capitals 7-4.
The Sharks are waking up at the right time of the year:
And so are the Wild:
Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild slay Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 - Hockey Wilderness
The Wild scored a dominant win against the West’s best team.
Hockey should get harder in February, and if you’re in it to win, you have to play every game like you’re Garret Sparks and Andreas Johnsson.
If the Leafs call up Johnsson, who do they sit to play him?
This poll is closed
James van Riemsdyk
Some other fanciful scheme involving a non-centre at 4C