The road stretch wasn’t pretty for the Ads. With the game in San Antonio and Saturday-Sunday rodeo in Oklahoma City the team went: 0-1-0-2. In the three games, the Ads were outscored 10-9 despite outshooting their opponents 115-91. Their power-play in the three games converted two goals from sixteen chances. Their penalty kill allowed four power-play goals from thirteen kill opportunities.
Despite only earning two points from a possible six – the chances were there to take more. The power-play was a mess. The shootouts, as gimmicky as it may seem, offered great chances all their own to claim two more points from the road trip. Chances were there – and missed. Frustrating. The bright side is that there is a quick turnaround that has the Ads back in the comforts of home ice.
The difference between the Ads at home versus on the road is pretty extreme. The Ads are 11-3-2-0 (24 points from 16 games) at home and have scored 54 goals while allowing 36 goals (+18 goal differential). On the road they are 7-9-3-3 (20 points from 22 games) and have scored 49 goals while allowing 69 goals (-20 goal differential). The power-play at home is the eighth best in the AHL at 22.1%. On the road their power-play is rated twenty-second in the AHL at 14.0%. Their penalty kill at home is third best in the AHL with 88.7%. On the road, again the numbers dips big, twenty-fourth in the AHL with a penalty kill of 77.5%.
Question to the Roundtable: Why is there such a disparity between home and road numbers? What do they do so wrong that they can do so right at home?
In the Admirals last five home games they have gone 3-2-0-0 (6 points), scored 17 goals, allowed 14 goals, went 26.1% on the power-play, went 90.5% on the penalty kill, and even won a shootout before sudden death. For whatever reason – the team just calms down that extra bit when it comes to playing on home ice.
As for these Marlies – this will be the first meeting of two this season. The Ads will travel up to Toronto in late-March. Last year, the Ads won 3-1 in Toronto and the lost 3-2 (OT) in Milwaukee. The enemy are sitting atop the Western Conference’s North Division with a record of 22-11-2-2 (48 points from 37 games). They will be entering the game on a five-game points streak: 4-0-0-1.
The Marlies are lead in scoring by defenseman T.J. Brennan and right winger Spencer Abbott who both have 38 points: Brennan (16 goals, 22 assists) and Abbott (9 goals, 29 assists). Brennan leads all AHL defenseman in scoring this season and does so by a comfortable six-point margin over Adam Clendening of the Rockford IceHogs (we’ll see him enough to make us sick this coming weekend). As for Mr. Abbott, his 29 assists are second in the AHL this season – only Travis Morin of the Texas Stars, with 31 assists, has more.
The man logging the max-time in net for the Marlies has been former-Admiral goaltender Drew MacIntyre. This season he has played in 28 games and won 17 of them. He has a 2.43 GAA and a 0.915 SV%. When he played with the Admirals in the 2008-09 season he played 55 games, won 34, and had a 0.921 SV%.
Another possible positive about this match up is that the Marlies will be playing this afternoon against the IceHogs in Rockford before travelling up to Milwaukee and playing Tuesday. MacIntyre didn’t start the last game in net for the Marlies. Instead it was Garret Sparks playing in his sixth game and picking up his third win of the season. This makes for flexibility as to who the Marlies want to roll out both tonight and tomorrow. The way he has played – I could see MacIntyre starting both games. I will provide an update to this post once that game goes final later this afternoon.
UPDATE: Marlies took down the IceHogs 3-2 this afternoon in Rockford. MacIntyre made the start in net for Toronto and made 40 saves from 42 shots. Mr. Spencer Abbott had 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). T.J. Brennan had a 2 point game (1 goal, 1 assist). Make their season totals now Abbott with a team leading 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists) – that ties him for the league lead in assists with Travis Morin with 31.
What shall we expect from this game against the Marlies? A return to home ice and success or will the road struggles ride on in with the team off the bus?