The Toronto Marlies faced the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday afternoon and had yet another loss to yet another team they are chasing in the division standings. The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Marlies 6-3 in the first of back-to-back weekend games here in Toronto. It was the Marlies sixth loss in a row.
This was a winnable game where the team started with the first goal, and ended the first period up 2-1 with Nick Abruzzese getting a rare power play goal.
The Marlies right now are 29th in the league in the power play at only 15% conversion. This is something that needs to get more effective, and fast.
Little mistakes are adding up in each game that move the team from being able to hold a lead, and then put them on the back-foot by the the third period. This move by Dmitry Ovchinnikov last night had me floored as it is a high risk and low reward kind of play to drop pass there at the blue line. A young William Nylander used to do this when he played for the Marlies too and it drove Sheldon Keefe crazy and then Nylander quickly cut it out of his game.
And then this simply cannot happen; Topi Nimeleä (#47) and Max Lajoie (#48) on defence here.
Plus who even knows what is going on here?
Coach John Gruden made no effort to mask that his disappointment was with all of the players, the entire team, in their play in the game. "It's getting a little ridiculous now," he said, adding a quip on how they once again couldn't hold a lead by saying "maybe end the game after 40 minutes next time."
When asked about the leadership group of players stepping up to help stop the slide and keep the team focused on their game plan he said it didn't matter as no one was playing effectively at the moment. "We're playing like rookies kind of, like first year pros when we get to these moments, and it's not just the young guys it's... it's everyone," he said.
"There's a disconnect of what reality is and what perception is for them on how the game needs to be played because when they go off script and play it their way, obviously it's not working." The wide variety of errors he sees are pinned across the whole group. "It's someone different every time." Visibly frustrated at the end, he added "I'm kind of lost for words because it's the same old thing."
Gruden still has optimism this can be fixed. "We win together, and we lose together. We've got to fix it, there's still lots of season to be played, and knowing the group we have in there, I know they'll find a way."
Here's the highlight pack of Saturday's game.
One final note, there was a controversial moment in the game with respect to this goal by called off after video review because the net had come off its moorings. However, this really appears to be a goal that would have gone in anyway if the net was still in the correct position, and since it was the Crunch goalie that caused the net to move, I feel like it should have counted.
What do you think? Video angle is the best one I could find in the replays.
The Marlies and Crunch faceoff at the Coliseum again today at 4:00 p.m..