MGD Game 2: Here We Go Again

Photo Credit: Bob McGill/Twitter

Last night worked out pretty well for the Toronto Marlies. They started off with one of their weaker periods of the year, but quickly reverted back to their typical game and skated away with a 4-1 victory (more on that here). Now, though, they must get rested up quickly and prepare themselves for a just-as-important Game 2. Here’s what you need to know.

The Marlies

Last Night’s Lines, subject to change

Josh Leivo (22) Mark Arcobello (27) Connor Brown (22)
Tobias Lindberg (20) William Nylander (19) Zach Hyman (23)
Brendan Leipsic (21) Sam Carrick (24) Ben Smith (27)
Rich Clune (28) Frederik Gauthier (20) Nikita Soshnikov (22)

Andrew Campbell (28) Rinat Valiev (20)
Stuart Percy (22) Connor Carrick (22)
TJ Brennan (27) Justin Holl (24)

Looks like my line projections were a swing and a miss in some respects yesterday; guess that’s why they’re called projections and not locks. Scratching Colin Smith was a bit of a shock to me given his scoring prowess of late, but Lindberg fared pretty well for himself in putting two shots on goal and adding more defensive reliability to a second line that already fared well with Zach Hyman on the right side.

It’ll be interesting to see if Smith gets a shot today; you’d think a 22-year-old prospect that’s putting up points wouldn’t be held out of the lineup forever. Defence is should remain the same; as much as Hall-of-Famer Viktor Loov would like to get in the lineup, I don’t know how likely that is (so, based on yesterday’s projections, he’ll play 36 minutes tonight).

The Sound Tigers

Last Night’s Lines, subject to change

Michael Dal Colle (19) Bracken Kearns (34) James Wright (26)
Mike Halmo (24) Connor Jones (25) Tanner Fritz (24)
Justin Florek (25) Ben Holmstrom (29) Sebastian Collberg (22)
Jared Gomes (27) Marc-Andre Cliché (29) Colin Marikson (23)

Kevin Czuczman (25) Scott Mayfield (23)
Matt Finn (22) Patrick Cullity (29)
Kane Lafranchise (27) Parker Wotherspoon (18)

Michael Dal Colle finally got his first professional shot on goal yesterday; he even added two more after that! He was one of many, however, that didn’t look so hot in this game. I wouldn’t be shocked if the lineup that actually plays today is different from what you see above, as the Sound Tigers try to find a winning formula.

Though they shouldn’t scratch Kevin Lafranchise. He’s the franchise, after all.

Starting Goaltenders

One would expect that Garret Sparks will get the nod in net for Toronto tonight. Much like Bibeau deserved to start Game 1 as a reward for the vast improvements he’s made in the calendar year, Sparks was one of the best goaltenders in the AHL this year before being called up to the big club on a semi-full time basis. Now that he’s no longer the strapped-up-Milhouse of the Maple Leafs, many expect Sparks to be able to string some good performances together in the playoffs; his return game saw him stop 45 of 47 last Sunday.

Meanwhile for Bridgeport, this could be the night that they give Eamon McAdam a second chance. The 21-year-old pro graduate was 13-8-1 with a 0.913 save percentage at Penn State this year but was shelled for six goals against in his AHL debut last Sunday. It is worth keeping in mind that his torturers were the Providence Bruins, who were one of the hottest offensive teams in the league before being swept by Wilkes-Barre this weekend (amazingly, Providence lost Game 3 despite taking 63 shots on goal).

What To Watch For

As expected, there was a lot of pushing and shoving in Game 1 and neither team looked particularly eager to back down from it. It’s possible that we see a “big” event happen in this one, especially if the Marlies take an early or substantial lead.

Toronto is best suited keeping their nose to the grindstone and playing their game, though. The back 40 minutes of yesterday’s matchup were a display of the type of hockey the Marlies will need to go the distance: overwhelming and unwavering from beginning to end.

Puck drop for this one is at 5:00 PM. Once again, it’ll be on your choice of TSN 1050 (Audio), Leafs TV (Video) or AHL Live (both, depending on your budget).