With a 6-5 shootout tonight against the Syracuse Crunch the Marlies have secured their spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The clinching scenario tonight happened to be item (a) below.

The Utica Comets lost to the Providence Bruins in a shootout, and with the Marlies-Crunch game tied at the end of regulation that wiped out scenario (b) as a possibility, but wouldn't you know it the Marlies made it dramatic and took their game all the way to the shootout too, and that's where they finally got the win.

One big note about the game is the Marlies had Matt Murray in goal on loan from the Leafs, playing his first real game of this season after undergoing bilateral hip surgery last summer. In fact, it's been more than a year since he played his last game on April 2, 2023. Where Murray goes in the immediate future is uncertain, and in any case it will take several days to learn exactly how it will play out for him. We'll cover that in more detail later, but for tonight he certainly came through when needed, making the big stop in the shootout to get the Marlies the win and finally clinch their spot in the playoffs.

In the game, Logan Shaw proved his value as he has time and again, scoring his 30th goal of the season.

To no one's surprise, Alex Steeves was front and center with the offence in the game, scoring two goals big goals to keep pace with the Crunch who kept tying it up again.

And Topi Nimelä started a fight which was I think the first time he's ever done that, though not like he doesn't occasionally throw some hits, but committing to dropping the gloves is new.

The Marlies still have three more games to play through the regular season. The first is on the road in Rochester next Wednesday, and the final two are back in Toronto where they will host a back-to-back against the Cleveland Monsters next April 20 and 21. These games and those played by other teams will impact where they finally land in the tight standings, but we know for certain now the Marlies are in. Here is how the standings sit after last night. The Marlies can still easily move up a spot in the standings and avoid the play-in round.

For now, we know the Marlies are in and there will be playoff games at the Coliseum starting as early as this month. The regular season ends on April 21, so it won't be long after that for game #1. We'll keep you informed when a final first round playoff schedule is released.