Kasimir Kaskisuo got his first shutout of the 2019-20 season, making 30 saves in the Toronto Marlies 2-0 win over the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday afternoon. Timothy Liljegren provided two primary assists to Darren Archibald and Egor Korshkov, who scored for the Marlies. Archibald got his first goal of the season with a beauty deke, and Korshkov scored his fifth goal in as many games, tipping home Liljegren’s point shot as insurance.
The Marlies are now 5-0-0 to start the season and remain perfect on the penalty kill (16/16).
Beyond Kaskisuo, the star of the game was Liljegren. He had an impressive night on offense with the two assists and getting four shots off. He made some great defensive plays and really led from the back on a rough night for partner Rasmus Sandin. Liljegren’s become a very consistent, top-pairing presence for the Marlies since last spring and seems to finally be getting recognition for it because of his uptick in points (1g, 4a, 10 shots in five games).
We saw lots of lineup changes between Wednesday’s win and this game. Starting off with the coaching staff, Assistant Coach A.J. MacLean took the game off due to a personal matter, meaning OG analytics friend Jack Han got to be behind the bench managing the forwards.
At forward, Adam Brooks missed the game with a neck strain, meaning ECHL star Zach O’Brien was called up to take a spot in the lineup on the fourth line. Tyler Gaudet moved up to the first line, while fourth line centre Hudson Elynuik found himself in the top-six. Taking his spot was Tanner MacMaster. On defense, Ben Harpur missed the game and was replaced with Kristians Rubins.
Toronto #Marlies Adam Brooks is currently suffering from a neck strain that he suffered in practice yesterday and will be out of the lineup tomorrow against Cleveland at least— Captain Jace Tavares (@HardevLad) October 20, 2019
Kenny Agostino - Tyler Gaudet - Jeremy Bracco
Egor Korshkov - Hudson Elynuik - Matt Read
Garrett Wilson - Pierre Engvall - Pontus Aberg
Darren Archibald - Tanner MacMaster - Zach O’Brien
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Kristians Rubins - Jordan Schmaltz
Teemu Kivihalme - Jesper Lindgren
Sandin - Bracco - Aberg - Agostino - Korshkov
Liljegren - Gaudet - Engvall - MacMaster - Archibald
Wilson - Gaudet - Sandin - Liljegren
Read - Archibald - Rubins - Schmaltz
Korshkov - Engvall - Sandin - Liljegren
Liljegren had the first chance of the game when the Monsters overloaded the left side of their zone and Liljegren was able to slip into the weak space and rip off a shot that was very close to going in. From the early shifts, I really liked Wilson with the Engvall line, I think all three are able to push the play and cover for each other on the ice, which is exactly how the Engvall line has succeeded this season.
The Marlies got the first power play when Schmaltz went for an end-to-end rush and got elbowed in the slot by Doyle Somerby. The power play was decent, the first unit was able to try their low cross-ice play from Bracco, but it didn’t result in a chance. The second unit got a few shots off, but they didn’t have enough time before Somerby got out to sustain any pressure.
This was my live commentary from about nine minutes into the game. “Wow good faceoff by Engvall in the D-zone... He’s such a good skater, oh wow he’s ahead of everyone! POST! Gah...” Is it a little obvious I’m high on Engvall?
It wasn’t a strong first period for the Marlies at all. Their first period shot leader was Rubins (who impressed) and Liljegren, who had the lone quality scoring chance. Engvall had another chance, but his shot hit the post and was therefore not recorded as a shot and not in my data. Gotta love data flaws like that.
Game 5 stats from the first period. #Marlies vs Cleveland Monsters— Captain Jace Tavares (@HardevLad) October 19, 2019
Scoring Chances: 1-4
Disappointing period offensively from the Marlies, their worst so far this season.
Early in the second period, Darren Archibald got his first goal of the season and as a Marlie. He burst down the wing after getting a great outlet pass from Liljegren, went around the outside of his defender, before spinning around Veini Vehvilainen for a lovely goal. Good work done by Liljegren on the short, crisp pass to release Archibald (remember, I talked about that in the last recap). And an even better run of interference by the bird through the shot, it was just flying out there!
Kivihalme got a puck lost in his feet and the Monsters were able to pounce and hem the Marlies in for a solid minute. It was a small mistake that ended up being quite costly as Elynuik had to take an interference penalty in order to stop a goal. Rubins and Schmaltz were strong at stopping rebound chances in front of the net and cleaning up the shooting lane. Engvall had a shorthanded chance after winning a d-zone faceoff and beating everyone down the length of the rink.
Awful shift again in the defensive zone for the Marlies. Sandin made a pass to no one in the offensive zone that got the Monsters possession with numbers. Rubins and Schmaltz gave up way too much ice in front of them a few times. The forwards couldn’t complete a pass to get out of the zone, and Read tried a no-look between the legs pass that was turned over and resulted in a scoring chance. Kaskisuo was flying all over the place, making blocker saves, losing his stick, then making more blocker saves. He’s really proving me wrong about that AHL starter thing.
Liljegren might be the death of me. He broke up a cross-ice pass with some really good intuition and reflexes, then released Bracco up the wing. He followed, got the pass in the slot, split the defense, THEN PASSED IT!!!! WHAT!? The pass could’ve been something, maybe, but he had a wide open net in front of him!
The Marlies struggled a lot in this period. The Monsters ran rampant over them and Kaskisuo did everything he could to keep things from getting out of control on the score clock. He was outstanding.
Second period stats. #Marlies vs Cleveland Monsters— Captain Jace Tavares (@HardevLad) October 19, 2019
Scoring Chances: 3-10
Goals: 1-0 (Archibald )
I don't know how the Marlies have the lead.
Near the end of the second, the Marlies got a power play. On the first shift, Bracco got a shot from distance that didn’t trouble the goalie at all. Off the faceoff, Aberg had another that caused a stir in front. Sam Vigneault got really pushy and shovey around Agostino, mans needed to chill. Dillon Simpson then slashed Agostino’s stick, giving the Marlies a 5v3 power play for 17 seconds.
Right before the 5v3, Keefe called a timeout to get his boys set up in terms of how they were going to beat the Monsters. He had the clipboard out and was giving instructions to the first unit. After winning the faceoff, they gave the puck to Bracco by the corner where he slid the puck through the blue paint. One of Cleveland’s defensemen put his hand on the puck to stop it before clearing. That was the chance.
By the end of the second penalty, Liljegren got called for interfering in the play when Engvall was trying to get into the zone. He provided just enough of a pick that he got called on it. With Liljegren in the box, Jesper Lindgren was sent out with Sandin to cover the back end on the penalty kill.
Korshkov! The goal was initially credited to Liljegren, who had the shot from the point, but it was later found that Korshkov tipped the puck in. Korshkov has five goals in five games to start the season and all three of his shots in this game ended up being scoring chances.
With two and a half minutes left in the third, the Monsters pulled their goalie. Sandin missed an assignment thinking the team had gotten the puck out of the zone, but the puck came back for a great chance for Ryan MacInnis. Kaskisuo stood tall and stopped the point blank shot dead and kept any rebounds from coming out.
Engvall just missed an empty net goal. Seriously, the puck was in the blue paint and he was ahead of his guy, but his stick got checked at the last minute, pulling the shot just to the right of the post. So close.
Nevertheless, the Marlies were able to burn the rest of the clock and win the game 2-0. Kaskisuo earned his first shutout of the season.
The Marlies best period was the third; they were taking more chances and got a little more risky and it paid off. Marlies win!
Third period stats. #Marlies vs Cleveland Monsters— Captain Jace Tavares (@HardevLad) October 19, 2019
Scoring Chances: 6-1
Goals: 1-0 (Liljegren )
I couldn't find the lilypad emoji otherwise I totally would've used it.
Marlies had their best period of the game in the third and it was enough to secure the win.
Marlies play again today at 4 pm.