Total Team Performance Leads the Way in Laval
The Toronto Marlies won their third straight game Friday night in Laval, defeating the Rocket by a 3-1 final in the first of two straight games against the Canadiens’ affiliate.
It was tough, close contest throughout but the Marlies were able to shut down the Rocket’s division-leading offense and hold them to just one goal on the night.
Kasperi Kapanen opened the scoring for the Marlies with under five minutes to play in the first, finishing a nice cross-ice pass from Kerby Rychel on the power play. The goal, Kapanen’s seventh this season, was also assisted by Chris Mueller.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 9, 2017
Less than thirty seconds later, Niki Petti responded for the Rocket with a quick shot that found the back of the net.
The two sides held each other scoreless in the second but the Marlies turned the pressure up in the third.
Chris Mueller broke the tie with a little over twelve minutes remaining as he walked in to the top of the circle and delivered a rocket that beat Charlie Lindgren. Kapanen had an assist for his second point of the night, while Miro Aaltonen earned the second assist.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 9, 2017
In the dying seconds, Travis Dermott sealed the victory with an empty-net goal from deep in his own end as the Marlies finish with the 3-1 win.
Defensively, the Marlies held Laval to just four shots in the third period.
Calvin Pickard, the game’s third star, made 15 saves after entering the game late in the first.
For Laval, Lindgren stopped 23 of 25 shots.
On special teams, the Marlies converted twice on five man advantage attempts, improving the power play to 16.3% on the season. They also killed off all 6 shorthanded situations, as the penalty kill improves to 90.0%.
With the victory, the Marlies improve to 19-5-0-0 on the season and 13-2-0-0 against North Division opponents. They are also now 11-2-0-0 when playing away from Toronto.
Laval falls to 10-10-4-2 and 6-6-1-1 in their new home.
Neither team will have much time for rest as the Marlies and Rocket face off again tomorrow at 3:00. That game will be available on AHL Live and Marlies Radio.
Toronto: K. Kapanen (7) PP (K. Rychel, C. Mueller), C. Mueller (5) PP (M. Aaltonen, K. Kapanen), T. Dermott (2) EN (Unassisted)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (6/7), C. Pickard (15/15)
Laval: N. Petti (2) (Unassisted)
Goaltender: C. Lindgren (23/25)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Kasperi Kapanen opened the scoring on the power play at 15:03 of the first period and later added the secondary assist on Mueller’s third period power play goal. Kapanen has 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) this season.
- Chris Mueller scored the game-winner on the power play at 7:55 of the third period and earlier had the secondary assist on Kapanen’s first period goal. Mueller has 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) this season, including four power play goals.
- Travis Dermott added an empty-net goal at 19:44 of the third period for his second goal of the season. Dermott has registered a point (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games.
- Kerby Rychel picked up the primary assist on Kapanen’s first period goal. Rychel has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last six games.
- Miro Aaltonen recorded the primary assist on Mueller’s third period power play goal. Aaltonen
- Calvin Pickard stopped all 15 shots faced against the Laval Rocket. Pickard is now 7-2-0-0 on the season with a .938 Save Percentage and a 1.74 Goals Against Average. Garret Sparks started the game and stopped 6 of the 7 shots he faced before leaving near the end of the first period.
- Toronto went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and 2-for-5 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 26-22 edge in shots in all situations.
- Adam Brooks led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 13-2-0-0 against North Division opponents this season.
Goals: A. Johnsson (9), B. Smith (9)
Assists: C. Mueller (13)
Points: A. Johnsson (18), C. Mueller (18)
PPG: A. Johnsson (4), C. Mueller (4)
Shots: K. Rychel (53)
+/-: M. Marincin (+12), B. Smith (+12)
PIMS: A. Nielsen (54)
On tonight’s game:
The first period, there were a ton of penalties, there wasn’t a lot of flow to it. We thought our bench and our depth was going to be a real factor in the game today but wasn’t able to be in the first. I didn’t think our penalty kill was great which gave them a little bit of life. Luckily for us, we had a power play goal. It’s tied after one in the second period, they were the better team. They slowed us up quite a bit and we didn’t move the puck great and I thought our defense units struggled. We made some changes between the second and the third and challenged our guys to respond. It was a real good response from them and it was enough to get us a win today.
On the power play:
We think it’s coming. We had a really good week of practices. We scored a couple today – obviously, it made the difference in the game. We could have had another one there late. We had some good opportunities so that’s really positive. They’re a team that’s had some struggles on the penalty kill this season so we looked to capitalize on that and we were able to. But it’s something we’re going to continue to work at. There’s still lots of room for improvement but definitely happy with the results.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
December 9 at Laval – 3:00 p.m. ET
December 15 at Rochester – 7:05 p.m. ET
December 16 vs Manitoba – 4:00 p.m. ET
December 17 vs Manitoba – 4:00 p.m. ET
December 20 at Utica – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies land in Laval Friday night for the first of two straight games this weekend against the Rocket, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s the third meeting of the year between the two clubs, who have split the season series so far. In their last matchup, the Marlies shutout the Rocket 3-0 in Laval.
Coming into Friday’s game, the Marlies (18-5-0-0) have won two straight games and nine of their past ten. They beat Hartford in overtime 4-3 last Saturday in their most recent effort.
The Rocket (10-9-4-2) are coming off of a 2-1 overtime loss to Binghamton at home and have gone to extra time in each of their last two matchups. They have won just two of their last ten outings.
After being issued a one-game suspension, points-leader Andreas Johnsson will miss Friday’s contest.
Offensively, they will look to Ben Smith (9G, 8A), Chris Mueller (4G, 12A) and Dmytro Timashov (8G, 7A), who all have fifteen points or more so far this season.
At the other end of the rink, the Rocket are led by defenceman Matt Taormina who has 23 points (2G, 21A) on the season while Chris Terry leads the team in goals with 12.
It should present an interesting battle between, statistically, the best defensive team in the division and the most prolific offense. The Marlies have allowed just 44 goals through 23 games while the Rocket have scored 79 times.
Coming into the game, the Marlies hold a 12-2-0-0 record against North Division opponents and are 10-2-0-0 when playing away from home.
Laval is 6-5-1-1 when playing at home.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 and fans can tune in on AHL Live or listen to the call with Todd Crocker online.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage as well as live updates from Place Bell.
Head to Head