Some people say that a team can’t score away their problems. This might be true; the Toronto Marlies can look across the street to their local soccer field to see an example of it. Thankfully for them, however, the team has been responsible in its own end and between the pipes, meaning that when they score a lot of goals, they win a lot of games.
This continued tonight, with a 5-4 shootout win over the Utica Comets, which made the Marlies the highest scoring team in the league.
Toronto’s success has no doubt been built upon a core of high-octane offensive talent.
William Nylander was expected to be one of the league’s top scorers while being one it’s youngest members, and he’s done that; through 11 games, he’s taken an incredible 35 shots and picked up twelve points, putting him in a tie for 5th in league scoring, despite being the only teenager anywhere close to the top 25.
TJ Brennan is one point shy of a point per game pace from the point, averaging nearly three shots on goal per game and leading all league defencemen in points with ten in eleven games.
Josh Leivo, who struggled heavily last year and picked up just 32 points in 51 games, has nine in his first ten. Richard Panik has seven assists in ten games, and newcomer Marc Arcobello has five points in three, hitting the scoresheet in every night he’s played.
Factor in the secondary pieces, who all seem to be producing quality offensive numbers, and it’s no shock to see that this team leads the league in goals with 45, especially when a group of quality shooters averages 31 shots per game.
Almost all of the aforementioned group came to play tonight. Brennan set up Casey Bailey’s first goal of the year before scoring one of his own. Nylander and Arcobello set up Nylander’s fellow teenager Kasperi Kapanen for his fourth of the year, and Leivo fed Nylander for a game-tying goal midway through the period.
I’m sure that when overtime ended, many of these guys were more than eager to hop over the boards to grab their team the win. They didn’t have to, though, as Arcobello and Kapanen easily beat Jacob Markstrom, while Garret Sparks, who took slight a save percentage dip but made a number of key saves, easily shut down Linden Vey and Alex Grenier.
With the victory, the Marlies move to 9-3-0, giving them a significant hold on the North Division while having the sixth best points percentage in the league. They also now have four wins in a row, despite three of them coming at the start of an extended road trip.
Their opportunity to make it five in a row will come tomorrow, against the Binghamton Senators. Binghamton is the only team to beat Toronto by more than two goals thus far, so this will be a huge statement game for the team. Puck drop is at 7PM.