Jake Gardiner scores highlight coast-to-coast goal
May 17: Marlies 5 at Barons 0
Forward lines:: D’Amigo-Kadri-Frattin, Deschamps-Dupuis-Mueller, Scott-Zigomanis-Hamilton, Rosehill-Acton-Colborne
Defence pairings: Fraser-Holzer, Gardiner-Blacker, Gysbers-Mikus
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Win 59:58 minutes played, 31 saves, 0 GA), Rynnas (0:00)
A seven-day break between games didn’t result in any signs of rust, for the Toronto Marlies.
In fact, the layoff appeared to have helped the team as they cruised to a 5-0 win over the Oklahoma City Barons in the opening game of the Western Conference Final.
Forward Joe Colborne – who missed much of the second round series against Abbotsford because of a lacerated finger – was reinserted into the lineup. Colborne responded with a third period goal, scoring for the first time since February 17.
The Marlies – the lower seed in the series – dictated the game from the outset, facing the top-ranked team in the conference. Marcel Mueller had the first goal of the game, seconds after Barons goalie Yann Danis stopped Nicolas Deschamps on a breakaway. Oklahoma city failed to clear the zone after the save with Toronto applying pressure, resulting in Muller’s tally. Deschamps gained redemption later in the first period, connecting on a power-play.
In the second period, Matt Frattin continued his torrid scoring pace, registering his fifth goal in 6 games, and sixth overall in the playoffs. Frattin scored on his off-wing as he did on at least two occasions in the previous round.
Colborne found the net at the 5:03 mark of the third period, getting somewhat of a gift goal after finding a rebound off the back boards that was initially shot by Nazem Kadri.
To close out the scoring, Jake Gardiner scored a highlight reel coast-to-coast goal. After picking up the puck in the Marlies zone, Gardiner cruised all the way into the Barons end and was forced into the boards by Oklahoma City forward Mark Arcobello. Gardiner then beat Arcobello to the inside and brought the puck in front of the Barons crease, beating Danis on the backhand.
Deschamps was named the game’s first star, while Ben Scrivens – second star of the game – was once again solid in posting his second shutout of the playoffs. Of Scrivens’ 31-saves, arguably his best came off the stick of Magnus Paajarvi at the edge of the crease in the first period.
Nazem Kadri drew a pair of penalties by outskating his defenders, and collected two assists in taking third star honours.
The Marlies penalty-kill was once again perfect, stopping the Barons on all 6 of their power-play chances. Toronto has now killed off 39 consecutive man advantages against them, dating back to the opening game of the Calder Cup playoffs against Rochester.
Game 2 of the series is Friday night at 8pm Eastern.