The Toronto Marlies can find strength in many of the stellar numbers they have put forth this playoff run, however, it is one number that stands out..that of the penalty kill. That penalty killing number is more than a stat, it illustrates strength through unity – the penalty killing unit.
As promised, content out of round 2 would appear in this blog and when looking back on the series victory that was over Abbotsford (in 4-1 fashion) the pk results are staggering. Toronto last gave up a power play goal in game one of round one against Rochester. That means they have killed off 33 straight penalties and have played nearly 440 minutes of hockey without a power play goal against providing possible momentum change or victory for the opponent. Even more evident is the role the killing unity played in getting Toronto to the 3rd round of playoff hockey. This is where the series vs the Heat comes to the forefront.
The Marlies were perfect on the kill in round 2. Perfect. Twenty-four, count them, 24 penalties fought off. It is with tireless effort that groups of 3 and four at a time come over the boards to join their goaltender and aim not to break, despite being outnumbered in attack. Abbotsford entered the Western Conference semi-finals having scored four power play goals in three games. Those goals included the series winning tally, off the stick of Dustin Sylvester, to eliminate Milwaukee. None of the Heat players touched twine while on the power play in round 2.
Not only did the Toronto penalty kill provide spark by keeping the opponent off the scoreboard, but the aggressive structure created plenty of momentum with opportunities while playing short men (not in the literal sense). One of those opportunities went in during game 4, off the stick of Greg Scott. That short handed goal (in the middle of a hat-trick) not only helped win that game, but aided heavily in the series outcome, thanks to that victory.
The overall results from the Marlies pk read like this for the post season: The club is 35/36 with only the 1 goal surrendered…they are 1st in the AHL in this department, boasting a 97.2 success rate heading into round 3.
Who would have thought taking penalties could lead to such a positive impact? While the club would like to never end up shorthanded, the reality is they deal with it well…real well. Since game one of the regular season Toronto have turned penalty negatives into positives, thanks to the pk.
It brings the team together. It keeps the game together. It adds wins together.
Strength Through Unity.
Thanks for stopping by the blog, again. It’s a great pleasure to bring you more from the post season and I look forward to doing so in the Western Conference Finals.
So long for now…
Oh, and remember…..
May 21/23/possibly 25 – home dates and opportunities to show the Marlies how great their fans are! Tickets can be purchased over the phone> 416-597-PUCK or by following along online at marlies.ca or theahl.com #RocktheRicoh!