The Marlies finished off their back-to-back games against the Laval Rocket with a second win on Saturday afternoon. The game started only about 18 hours after Friday’s game, but neither team looked particularly worn out or tired. Indeed, the Rocket came out of gate much stronger than on Friday night.
Maples Leafs prospect injury updates and a 1-0 Marlies snorefest
Marlies Lines Saturday
Here’s a look at today’s lines vs. Laval. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/k1id4G5YNj— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) February 2, 2019
These were a slight change from Friday night’s lines as Mason Marchment is out for a few weeks with a broken collar bone, so Dmytro Timashov stepped in to his place. The defence pairings are the same, though there will have to be changes soon because of a trade. More on that later.
Michael Hutchinson started Friday night, so it was Kasmir Kaskisuo’s turn on Saturday. The Rocket had Connor LaCouvee in net, whom I have never actually heard of before. He was not drafted and attended Boston University. He started playing professional games only this season, only appearing in a handful so far.
The Game Highlights
Sam Gagner opened the scoring very early in the game when Toronto had a power play after a slashing call on Daniel Audette.
The Marlies nearly had another later in the period when Rocket goalie LaCouvee went on an adventure out of the net and nearly turned over the puck, but was able to recover. I guess it was a lesson learned as he didn’t do that again.
Kaskisuo had to make some big saves when the Marlies took two different penalties in the period, including a memorable stop with only 2:50 left in the period while Borgman in the penalty box.
The Rocket had a final chance with under a minute left in the period when a pass by Moore to Jardine wound up on the stick of Alexandre Grenier instead. Jardine was great on the forecheck to stop Grenier from even getting off a shot.
Goals? None by either team.
Not like they didn’t try. It felt like the Marlies spent the bulk of the first five minutes of this period in possession of the puck inside the Rocket zone. Multiple lines did a great job here, including even the fourth line.
That turned around quickly though when the Rocket finally got off a good scoring chance on Kaskisuo who was able to stop it.
Through the whole game, Kaskisuo stopped 33 shots-on-goal in the game.
The Rocket had two power play chances in the period courtesy of the Marlies, but couldn’t score on either one. That’s fortunate for the Marlies as unline last season where their penalty kill was best in the league at 88.9%, this season it sits at 27th in the league at 78.4% (including results of this game).
LaCouvee was called in to action early again with the Timashov pressing a long attack with multiple shots-on-goal. Timashov himself had one that LaCouvee barely stopped off what looked like the shaft of his stick above the blocker.
Adam Brooks got tangled on what I thought should have been a penalty for David Schlemko when he wrapped his arm around Brooks, throat along the boards, but nothing was called. It was also not the first time those two seemed to go after each other in the game. I don’t know if there’s some history or they simply don’t like each other.
With under two minutes to go in the game, and the Rocket goalie out of the net, two Marlies players sealed the win. First up was Trevor Moore.
Then Chris Mueller after a really botched play by the Rocket at center ice.
After the Game
Compared to Friday’s game, Sheldon Keefe was pleased with his team’s win as the Rocket were clearly much more aggressive. “I think we got more of what we fully expected from Laval in terms of their effort and their forecheck and the pressure they put on you,” he said. “As a result we really weren’t as effective as we were last night.”
We know the Rocket’s Byron Froese from his time on the Marlies a few seasons ago in which he was a top player. He still looked as sharp and fast as he did back then, but his new linemates on the Rocket appeared to always be two seconds behind him in what was happening in the game, and reacted too slow to the plays he setup causing problems on their attack.
I asked Scott Matla from Eyes on the Prize about what I saw and he confirmed this was the case. “He’s playing with a PTO on his left and Nikita Jevpalovs on his right, so you are correct. He was at his best with McCarron or Chaput with him,” said Scott of the situation. Michael Chaput is presently up with the Canadiens as the 4C and Michael McCarron is injured.
Here is a video of Keefe’s full comments after the game.
The Marlies have a rare Tuesday night home game against the Belleville Senators starting at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Martin Marincin will be joining the team again after clearing waivers on Sunday. He had a long stay with the Maple Leafs this season frequently spent in the pressbox; appearing in only 10 games.
UPDATED: Martin Marincin clears waivers and has been sent down
As always, everyone is interested in an update on Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. The answer is still “soon.” We really won’t know at which game they will return until they are there on the ice, but the shakeup of defenceman will be interesting to see as some are already regularly sitting out games like Jordan Subban.
The Marlies have already found a solution for one of them, trading away defenceman Stefan Leblanc in exchange for a forward on Sunday.
Toronto Marlies trade Stefan Leblanc for Tanner MacMaster