It was a tremendously successful weekend for the Marlies, who played 3 games in 3 days. We-ll both review and preview in the latest edition of the Pre Game Meal blog, so I hope you’re hungry!
Last week I was hoping to speak to you about career win number 126 for Dallas Eakins behind the Marlies bench, by the time the weekend was through. Sure enough, following 3 straight games, Eakins has surpassed Greg Gilbert for all-time wins by a Marlie coach in Toronto franchise history. For Eakins, however, it is nothing more than something to look back on when he is telling his daughters about his coaching days; for him the important stat is the three wins carrying over to the standings. By defeating division rivals Rochester and Lake Erie this past weekend, Toronto moved from 4th to 2nd in the North. It sets up another exciting weekend with Rochester and Abbotsford as opponents and Toronto only separated from the two by a five point gap, at the time of this posting.
The Marlies have produced 9 wins over their last 13 games, with winning streaks of 4, 2 and 3 allowing Toronto to reach that total. Over those 9 wins, 43 goals have been produced by the Marlies who have scored 4 or more in a game during 7 of those 9 victories. This may be the true identity of a deep, offensively talented roster coming into the light. Names that continue to come to the forefront over that time are: Jake Gardiner, Keith Aucoin, Spencer Abbott and Nazem Kadri. Together this group of players totaled 29 points in that stretch and Nazem Kadri led the way with 9 of his own. This illustrates the how a core group of players have helped pave the way to the recent stint of Marlie wins, but also how the club relies on more than one or two players to get the job done; as 15 different players had at least 2point contributions in games adding up to their most recent 9 victories.
The Rochester Americans are the first to battle the Marlies this week and play one game, prior to facing Toronto. Rochester enters this week 5 points back of the blue and white in the North Division. The Amerk’s have yet to defeat Toronto this season and have been outscored 10-4 in the process. Consistently one of the league leaders in minutes logged and games played, goaltender David Leggio seems to also be the consistent difference in games between Toronto and Rochester. The Williamsville, New York native has now made 92 saves in 3 games vs the Marlies.
Abbotsford arrives in time for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game this Sunday. Toronto hopes to pile up the bears and the points vs the Heat, as the Marlies enter the week 5 pts back of the Calgary Flames affiliate for first place in the North Division. Pacing the B.C. club is rookie forward Sven Baertschi. The winger has a share of the team lead for points with 17 and one goal and two assists over two of the three games against Toronto.
The Marlies are desperate to come out of the weekend holding top spot in their division and that could also mean extending their winning streak to 5 consecutive games. Toronto hold a winning record over Rochester at 3-0, while they look for revenge vs Abbotsford at 1-2. A solid week of practice at home also means you should be tuning into Leafs TV to find Marlies Today. The daily show based around Marlies practice will keep you up to date with the possible returns of Mark Fraser and Jussi Rynnas upcoming.
As for the audio version of games this weekend, you can find the broadcasts here:
Saturday Dec 8th vs Rochester: 7pm on TSN 1050 AM Radio
Sunday Dec 9th vs Abbotsford: 3pm on TSN 1050 AM Radio
Have a great week and stay hungry for Marlies news, until the next Pre Game Meal….