The Toronto Marlies are 37-19-2-3 (79 points) which puts them at the top of the North Division and third overall in the Western Conference.
In their last ten games they have gone 7-2-0-1 (15 points). During that span they have scored 34 goals and allowed 22 goals from open play. They had three games spill into overtime including two that made it into the shootout. In those games only the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were able to grab the extra point, 3/9/14.
Part of what has made the Marlies one of the top teams in the Western Conference this season has been their play on home ice. They have a home record of 20-8-1-1 (42 points) and have a goal differential of +26 (95 GF, 69 GA).
While their home power-play might be rather average, thirteenth in the league with a 19.2 PP%, it is their penalty kill that buzz-saws games for them in Toronto: second best in the league – killing 130 of 147 chances for an 88.4 PK%.
In their previous ten home games they have gone 7-2-0-1 (15 points). The Admirals in their previous ten road games have gone 3-5-0-2 (8 points) – four of those games went to overtime or a shootout – and, in those three wins, only one wasn’t decided in overtime.
During the previous ten road games for the Admirals they have a goal differential of -2 (23 GF, 25 GA) from open play. They have the league’s fourth worst power-play on the road: 18 power-play goals from 138 opportunities, 13.0 PP%. With offense already lacking in the absence of Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok – things have to change in that department if the Admirals are going to find success during the rest of this road trip.
The Marlies are led in scoring by 25-year old Spencer Abbott. In 58 games this season he has 68 points (16 goals, 52 assists). He currently leads the entire AHL in assists – besting the next closest to him, Travis Morin, by 5 assists.
Their top goal scorer is defenseman T.J. Brennan. He’s been a force for them at the blue line – and currently is running away in AHL scoring by a defenseman with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists). He holds a 12 point cushion to the next d-man in line Adam Clendening of the Rockford IceHogs – who has played in two extra games than Brennan as well.
Where things get that little bit interesting for them is between the pipes. This season they’ve wheeled out former Admiral Drew MacIntyre for 72.1% of their games. Yet, he is currently up with the Maple Leafs and that’s allowing Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson a shot in net.
Sparks was in net for the Marlies when they lost to the Admirals 3-2. In that contest he was brilliant: making 43 saves from 46 shots – and all 3 goals were scored on the power-play by the Admirals.
In Sparks last three appearances he has stopped 86 of 91 shots and won each of those three games. I fully expect him to get the start in net this afternoon against the Admirals.
Thoughts on this game? Can the Admirals get a season sweep of the Toronto Marlies? Who needs to step up for the Admirals on offense?