Lines tonight vs. Hartford
Lindberg Froese Kapanen
Rychel Cliche Clune
Timashov Smith Johnsson
Greening Laich Maggio
Pairings vs Wolf Pack
Jhonas Enroth was the starter for this game, backed up by Garret Sparks. Enroth had three full seasons in the AHL back before his NHL career took off, and he had good results and saw playoff action twice. He knows how this all works.
The first few saves of the game wen to Enroth. The Marlies, meanwhile, were not making clean zone exits but were playing with pace and doing well once they got in the offensive zone. Overall, it was a big improvement over the last game.
Enroth made a questionable choice to play the puck rather than freeze it, and had to make a save, but he made it and was very sharp early.
When you see that fourth line, with noted enforcer Daniel Maggio getting his first game for the Marlies after a few in Orlando with the Solar Bears, you have to expect them to grind hard. So naturally, Maggio made a great offensive play, got off a good shot and took away a well deserved primary assist on the first goal by Colin Greening. 1-0 Marlies
Kasperi Kapanen was up next with an excellent scoring chance; Holl nearly did something with the rebound, and they had a good scrum around the net, but then Kapanen took a high-sticking penalty off the play in the offensive zone. Enroth made a nice save on the ensuing penalty kill.
The Smith line with Andreas Johnsson and Dmytro Timashov were really cooking, doing a lot of smart things with the puck at high speed.
Enroth made several more good saves including a sliding pad save on a toe drag across his crease that was Hartford’s best chance at that point.
In the Hartford net was Brandon Halverson, who hasn’t been getting great results so far this year, and he was making some questionable plays, nearly giving an empty net goal to Kapanen.
Sparks, who often sits away from the small AHL benches when he dresses as backup, got some excitement when Rich Clune and Tanner Glass had a fight right in front of the spot he was sitting in behind the glass. Unfortunately, Clune took the extra two minutes on that fight—seemingly inevitable after Glass’s behaviour in the last meeting between these two teams.
Enroth made two more excellent saves on the penalty kill, but the aggressive style the Marlies use, where Kapanen takes the puck for a walk down to the offensive zone and then they have to regroup, got them again. The Wolf Pack turned the puck back and that is by default an odd-man rush. Enroth came as close to making a save on the play, a shot off of a cross-ice pass, as you can get, but Mat Bodie had tied the game.
In nearly the last minute of play, Byron Froese took a tripping penalty. This is what sinks this team, particularly on the road. You can’t PK your way out of every powerplay you hand the other team. The Marlies would start the second with the score tied up, but down a man. Clune got a misconduct on the fight as well, so they were shorthanded in that sense too.
Shots on goal were 13-12 Hartford, but it was Enroth making the tough saves as the defensive system broke down in front of him a little too often.
Kapanen and Froese for their offense which is born out of Kapanen’s speed. Timashov and Johnsson were the runners up.
Kerby Rychel for being largely invisible for the second game in a row.
The Marlies killed the rest of the penalty. Right after, Halverson decided to try that wander out of his net play again. Johnsson flicked the puck to Smith, and easy as pie, it was 2-1 Marlies.
The Marlies lost the plot a little, and got hemmed in. The Wolf Pack came on stronger. Enroth was making the saves he needed to make, but the team in front of him weren’t moving the puck the right way.
Maggio nearly stuffed in a wraparound on another excellent offensive play. The Marlies: where the enforcers score, and the, well, the other enforcer fights, I guess, are not your ordinary team.
The play opened up a little, which is all the Marlies need, just a small bit of shift in control of the neutral zone, and off they go. Smith and Johnsson teamed up for a near goal, but then at the other end, Enroth almost gave one up on a wraparound.
The Marlies fourth line got hemmed in, iced the puck, wasted some time on the faceoff to get their breath back, and then out of all that Brooks Laich got a breakaway which he seemed to score on, but Maggio picked up the rebound, and the goal was his. 3-1 Marlies. The enforcer to beat all enforcers had two points in his first game.
The Marlies finally got a powerplay off a play made against Kapanen with five minutes to go in the period. I’m not a refereeing conspiracy theorist, but it sure looks like Kapanen has a target on his back and everyone gets a free run at him.
On the powerplay, the Marlies won the faceoff and got the puck over to Kapanen who was waiting in the office space he rents from old friend Patrik Laine. Boom. 4-1 Marlies.
Kapanen got a penalty somehow off of the aftermath of his goal for unsportsmanlike conduct. Possibly for excessive celebrating. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but, I don’t think the referees like Mr Kapanen.
Clune hauled down Michael Joly on a breakaway as the powerplay began, and Joly got a penalty shot, which he overdeked on, but still scored on Enroth. The game was spiralling out of the control of anyone, including the referees. 4-2 Marlies.
Enroth had to make a great save on a Hartford chance as the powerplay still ran on.
Under the heading of the game being out of control: Hartford player Matt Carey tried to get it going with Travis Dermott behind the play, and Dermott did not engage in any way but still took two for roughing. At least it ended up with the extra minor going to Carey.
The ensuing powerplay was everything about the Marlies that is good. First of all, their powerplay is always good. Second of all, they get their emotions under control in a situation like this and get on with it. Rychel, Johnsson and Kapanen teamed up to make a tic-tac-goal. 5-2 Marlies.
The Wolf Pack took a penalty at the very end of the period, and they would start the third down by three goals, and down a man.
Glass went after Andrew Nielsen after the horn and continued to throw punches when the linesman had Nielsen pinned to the ice. Out of control.
Shots on goal were 26-18 Marlies after two and the score was 5-2.
Maggio. He played the game very clean and got the ultimate reward.
Kapanen for celebrating. Life is full of pain, so always celebrate your success.
The official word on the Glass incident was a game misconduct for Glass and a five-minute major that gave the Marlies a two man advantage for most of two minutes and a regular powerplay for more than two minutes after that.
With a five-on-three, the Marlies couldn’t really compress the defending triangle very well, but they did get one very good scoring chance out of it.
The powerplay broke apart on the five-on-four, and the Wolf Pack defended very well. Hartford ended up with the shorthanded breakaway, which Kapanen defended very well, not taking a penalty, and Enroth made a good save on it deep in his net. The ensuing very long review that came back no goal, might have bled some heat out of the emotions of the players.
Sheldon Keefe called a timeout after the fruitless powerplay, and the Marlies immediately drew a penalty after. They weren’t really any better on the next try, not getting a lot of shots off. They seemed to feel the game was in the bag, and it was hard to argue that. But you can’t ever play like that.
Glass finished draining the energy from the game. No, not, Tanner, the very, very long delay while a piece of glass was repaired in the arena.
It was Clune who came out immediately with a scoring chance. There was life back in the Marlies, not that it mattered much.
Maggio actually scored a second goal, but it was waved off as knocked down by a high stick. If the goal had counted he would have equalled his last three year’s of AHL goals in one night. His career AHL goals before tonight was three.
The Marlies gave the Wolf Pack a five-on-three late in the game when they got in a pickle and had to take a penalty to stave off a scoring chance. The Wolf Pack scored on the powerplay. 5-3 Marlies.
Shots on goal were 35-27 and the final score was 5-3.
Todd Crocker. This was an intensely tedious period of hockey broken up by a long review, a timeout and a long repair. He showed the compete level you need and kept it fun.
It’s easy to look at goalie performance in isolation and say Karri Ramo was bad last night and Enroth was good tonight. There’s truth in that, but the play of the team in front of them was night and day. Or really, Jekyll and Hyde.
The Marlies had nothing on Friday night. No effort, no jump, no spark, not much luck either. In this game in Hartford, they were rocking. When Kapanen is feeling it, or Johnsson or Smith, you get goals. They were all playing well, and yes, partly that is because the Wolf Pack are not the team the Providence Bruins are.
So it’s not enough to glance at the save percentage and the win-loss and say, ah ha! We have found the Leafs backup, and he was there all along!
I hope the Leafs give them all another bunch of games. Enroth, Sparks, Ramo, and Jeff Glass too. In these trying times, you can’t have too many options in net.