PROVIDENCE — Calvin Pickard (33 saves) was the difference as the Toronto Marlies sent the Providence Bruins to their first loss of the season, 3-2, on Saturday night.
Despite the loss, P-Bruins coach Jay Leach was satisfied with the way his team took it to an excellent Marlies team.
“As the game went on – maybe from the 15-minute mark of the second period – I thought we really started to come and find our game, started to simplify and get pucks where we wanted to,” he said.
Here are three quick hits:
Toronto had better luck defending against the big line than Springfield did, but the trio was involved in both Providence goals and was a going concern all night.
I asked Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe for his impressions.
“There’s a lot of skill there. We haven’t seen a line play at that level. It’s my first time seeing (Kenny) Agostino. Clearly, he shows why he’s at the top of the league, the skill that he has. He’s in control of things out there. So it’s definitely a threat for them all the time when they’re out there. They’re definitely dangerous and they played a lot tonight. (They were) a headache for us,” he said.
CAVE and BLIDH
Neither has a point yet and they are a combined minus-7, but linemates Colby Cave and Anton Blidh played well on Friday and Saturday with a few different players on their right wing.
“They had a good weekend, energy all night, both nights. Really good on the kill. We’ve been killing a lot of penalties and they’ve been excellent,” Leach said.
“Caver is starting to hold onto pucks a little more, which is nice to see. Bleeder, as well, has shown a little bit more of that good puck play that you saw when he went up (to Boston) last year, starting to be a little more polished there. Really, every shift they were out there, they made something happen. They were good.”
Penalties have been a problem for the P-Bruins through three games. They’ve been hit with a total of 20 penalties while their opponents have been assessed 11.
Blame the referees if you want, though only a handful of the calls have been shaky. Many of the penalties have been deserved.
Maybe the tide started to turn in the third period last night, when all three penalties went against the Marlies.
“(Toronto took) penalties when we start to take it to them and give the refs a reason (to call penalties on Toronto). It goes hand in hand. You can give (the refs) a little nudge, but it’s on us to draw penalties, to get them in the offensive zone, put (opponents) in a position to take those penalties that we were obviously taking in the first half of that game. It’s on us to make them make those calls,” said Leach.