The Toronto Marlies did not play the way they hoped in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final, but showed some resilience in bouncing back from a pair of deficits and winning 4-3 over the Charlotte Checkers on Michael Carcone’s overtime goal.
Carcone, who was acquired from Vancouver in December for Josh Leivo, had a four point night (3 goals and 1 assist), opening the scoring late in the first period on a shot through traffic, tying the game early in the third on a deflection of a Jesper Lindgren point shot and notching the winner at 7:29 of overtime on a wrist shot that went through the legs of Charlotte goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
The Marlies started with some energy, as Mason Marchment laid the body to a number of Charlotte players, but the Checkers controlled play for most of the second and third period before Jeremy Bracco forced overtime with with a spin-o-rama backhand that got past Nedeljkovic.
Toronto had control and most of the scoring chances in overtime, outshooting Charlotte 5-0, which resulted in their evening the series, but after the game Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe recognized how fortunate his club was.
“We didn't like our game today. There was a lot of the game that (the Checkers) were the better team. Part of that third period there they took it to us pretty good.” Keefe said. “We got a goal that brought us to life and we got back from there. That was just so nice to see our guys feed off some positive energy and then just not look back.”
The two clubs play a pivotal Game 5 at Coca-Cola Coliseum on Friday before the series shifts back to Charlotte for Game 6 on Sunday and potentially a deciding Game 7 on Tuesday.
Some further information on the Leafs coaching staff following the D.J. Smith hiring in Ottawa, the likely departure of Jim Hiller and the hiring of former Florida assistant Paul McFarland.
According to Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman on their recent “31 Thoughts” podcast, the Leafs pounced on McFarland pretty quickly after he and head coach Bob Boughner were fired in Florida after the end of the regular season with the knowledge that changes were coming to Babcock’s staff after a third straight first-round exit.
Toronto will be looking to hire another assistant and it is very unlikely that Keefe will be in the mix, but names that have been bandied about are former NHL head coach Marc Crawford (who coached Auston Matthews in Switzerland), ex-Flyers and Kings head coach John Stevens and former NHLer Dave Lowry (an assistant under Stevens with LA), but other names that could be in the mix are Boughner and former Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher, who was the Leafs fallback if Babcock did not come to Toronto in 2015.
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