Is it just me, or did these next few games get a whole lot more important?
The Marlies have been on a monumental run, the club has collected at least a point in ten straight games and a win in eight of those. With the Toronto club on the heels of three straight sellout crowds, they now head to the road for a half dozen contests as the Ricoh ice surface becomes submerged and the boat show floats in. With eyes on so many of the talents that comprise the Marlies roster, this pivotal point of the season comes as an advanced proving ground.
As the clock continues to tick, the first team up is one all to familiar to the Marlies. They roll into Hamilton for the fourth time this season to prepare for the eighth meeting against the Bulldogs club, wildly accepted as their AHL rival. Fitting, being the Montreal Canadiens affiliate.
It may appear to be a one-sided affair so far, Toronto having won the past three meetings, to look at the contests at Copps Coliseum will show a different battle entirely. When skating with the home advantage the Bulldogs have won two of the three prior meetings, scoring a combined 10 goals in the pair of victories.
Here are my notes ahead of Tuesday’s game:
- While both Nazem Kadri and Korbinian Holzer returned to action this past Saturday, Jake Gardiner has now missed 11 straight
- After being on the receiving end of a hit this past Sunday, Greg McKegg left the game and did not return with what can be classified as an upper body injury
- Among the Marlies top active defencemen Paul Ranger has totalled 10 points over a nine game span, only being held off the scoresheet once
- You would have to turn your calendar back to early November (2nd & 8th) to find consecutive games in which Mike Kostka has not inked his way onto the scoresheet, most recently he has registered five points in two games
- Among the talented forwards, Joe Colborne has become forefront in onlookers minds with two goals and five points in two games while Ryan Hamilton has four goals and five points in three games
- Hamilton, although having a rocky season, has collected points in two of three games in 2013 (1-1-1)
- Brendon Gallagher, Frederic St. Denis and Gabriel Dumont all have a pair of points over the past two games
- The Bulldogs announced on Monday the recall of Joe Stejskal and Daultan Leveille from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL
- Robert Mayer has allowed three goals on 70 shots over the past two games
The Marlies return to TSN 1050 on Tuesday as Jon Abbott bring you all the action starting with puck drop at 7:30. If you would rather tune in over the interweb, AHL Live has you covered. Video is available through the AHL Live service, but it’ll cost you a few dollars.
Catch me on twitter (@chansler) through the whole six game road trip as I try to bring you continuous lineup news and notes as they become available.
Sound good? Cool.
11:23am : Matt Frattin is not expected to play against Hamilton on Tuesday. Other lineup decisions will be released closer to game time.
Jussi Rynnas expected to get the start in goal for the Marlies, his first nod in net since the Marlies 3-1 win over Grand Rapids on December 29th. Rynnas is yet to lose in regulation this season posting a 5-0-2 record. Two hundred feet down ice will be Cedrick Desjardins who has lost his last two starts against Toronto.
EXPECTED MARLIES LINEUP
IN GOAL: #40 Jussi Rynnas
Hamilton – Aucoin – Abbott
D’Amigo – Kadri – Scott
Ashton – Colborne – Ryan
Zigomanis – Acton – Deschamps
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS … to be announced