TORONTO – The last time the Toronto Marlies and Manitoba Moose played each other, it was a back-to-back set on November 23 & 24, 2019, with Toronto taking both games on home ice. It led to this sensational save, caught below:
— Zack Power (@SinBinMarlies) November 24, 2019
These two teams haven’t faced each other in the Calder Cup playoffs since 2009. The deciding 5-2 game pushed the Moose ahead of the Marlies, moving onto the second round of the playoffs. The Moose would eventually surpass another two rounds before falling in the Calder Cup finals to the Hershey Bears. Manitoba’s 4-2 loss in the finals was the only time the team was in the playoffs fourth round in their franchise history.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Marlies lead the head-to-head series 23-5, dating back to 2015.
Here are the pertinent stats for each team from the 2019-20 season:
|2019-20 Stats||Toronto Marlies||Manitoba Moose|
|League Rank||20th (7th in North)||27th (8th in Central)|
|Conference Rank||13th Eastern||13th Western|
|Power Play||19.4% (11th in AHL)||16.6% (22nd in AHL)|
|Penalty Kill||77.7% (30th in AHL)||80.3% (23rd in AHL)|
Here are some of the storylines I’m following for tonight’s game:
Long Time Coming
Just the third game of the Canadian AHL division, it’s a new page for both teams. Manitoba’s last contest was a 3-2 loss against Iowa, 344 days ago. Meanwhile, tonight’s post-valentines day match is the first time Toronto has hit the ice since March 10th. Having their last game dating back to early March 2020, one might say that it’s the longest road trip in Marlies history.
In last season’s AHL debut with the Toronto Marlies, Joseph Woll backstopped the Marlies to a 4-0 win against the Moose. The Missouri state tendy became the first rookie goalie in franchise history to record a shutout in his AHL debut.
“I thought he was really good,” said Sheldon Keefe. “We didn’t give up a great deal, but he looked really confident back there and moved really well. Not just the saves, but anything that came his way — puck handling, that kind of stuff. It certainly didn’t look like a guy in his first game, so that is a really good sign for us in terms of the confidence that he has. We can come out of this weekend feeling pretty good about our goaltending.”
Also a First
The Marlies and Moose opened up the Moose’s second run in Manitoba back in 2015. On exhibition grounds, the Marlies mangled the Moose 5-3. Brenden Kichton scored all three of Manitoba’s goals to start the 2015-16 season. The Marlies took the second game in the series as well, with a 3-2 shootout win.
Did you Know?
Both Winnipeg and Toronto had an affiliate in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The Maple Leafs were first to get their toes wet with the Rock, back in 1991. The St. John’s Maple Leafs only made it to the Calder Cup Finals once, losing to the Adirondack Red Wings, just 22 years before the Flames would moved their AHL team to Adirondack.
Additionally, the Maple Leafs helped the Moose launch the Bell MTS center in 2005. The Moose took that game 4-2 after Nolan Baumgartner scored in the second on the powerplay.
The last bout in the playoffs for the Baby Leafs came in 2005 against the Moose.
Zack Power covers the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMarlies.