The Toronto Marlies are no strangers to postseason winning streaks, rattling off 10 straight victories between the deciding game of their first round against Utica and Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final against Texas last season, but their record of success in the playoffs has been even more impressive.
Toronto opened up the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final with a 2-1 win over the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum on Friday, giving the Marlies their eighth straight playoff win and a perfect 8-0 record this postseason.
Mason Marchment snapped a 1-1 tie early in the third period, typing a Timothy Liljegren shot past Checkers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic for the game winner. Dmytro Timashov also scored for Toronto and Kasimir Kaskisuo made 26 saves for the victory in the closely contested series opener.
“I thought defensively both teams did a really good job. That’s why there wasn’t a whole lot happening. It comes down to offensive execution when you have your chances. We missed a breakaway, we had a couple two-on-ones, a couple three-on-ones. (Charlotte) had some similar looks as well.” Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “Those executions have to be at a high level because the chances are few and far between. So we have to continue to be really good defensively and do a good job against all their lines.”
The Checkers benefited from the elimination of their parent Hurricanes on Thursday, as players like Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury, Clark Bishop and Patrick Brown who were with Carolina for most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were sent down to bolster the Charlotte lineup. The Marlies made only one lineup change in Game 1, as defenseman Calle Rosen made an unexpected return.
Rosen missed the last three games of the Cleveland series with an upper body injury and wore a non-contact jersey for most of the week leading up to the start of the Conference Final. Jesper Lindgren practiced and was expected to make his season debut, but Rosen was inserted instead.
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