The Toronto Marlies dropped a 2-1 decision on Tuesday night to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Considering Toronto sits in first place in the Western Conference while Hamilton occupies last position, the Marlies effort was anything but stellar. The Marlies saw their consecutive games streak of recording at least one point snapped at ten. Here are a few things that stood out from the contest.
The Marlies went 0-for-7 with the man advantage, and have now recorded just one goal in their last 13 power play attempts. Toronto has plenty of offensive firepower so there is no need to panic, but coach Dallas Eakins has the right to be slightly concerned. If you consider that the Marlies may be losing a few offensive weapons to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the near future, the power play needs to be clicking in order to help manufacture offense for the team down the stretch.
Solid Defensive Effort
Toronto was outshot 38-24 in this one by Hamilton, but that stat could be a little misleading. The Marlies actually didn’t play that poorly from a defensive standpoint. The Bulldogs didn’t have a ton of quality scoring chances, as the defense of the Marlies did an excellent job of keeping shooters to the outside and giving goaltender Jussi Rynnas good looks at shots. Rynnas was really able to settle in and made three pretty routine glove saves in the first period, after his defense forced the Bulldogs to try their luck from distance.
Poor Finish To Periods
Both Bulldog goals came in the final minute of periods. At 19:59 of the second, Patrick Holland capitalized on a scramble that the Marlies just couldn’t clear, and at 19:12 of the final frame Gabriel Dumont was the benefactor of a fortunate bounce for the game winner. His shot, which was more of a pass from a bad angle, deflected off a few people in front of Rynnas before sliding in. I thought Ben Scrivens could only be the victim of such a bad bounce, but apparently not. Coaches typically can’t stand giving up goals late in periods, and I’m sure Eakins is no different.
Ranger Continues To Impress
In a game where the Marlies didn’t play particularly well, Paul Ranger was arguably the best player in the ice. Although he was a minus-1, Ranger led Toronto with seven shots on goal and continues to make his case to get a look from the Maple Leafs. Ranger is starting to become hard to ignore.