Toronto’s Ben Smith scored a pair of goals and Justin Holl added two assists as the Marlies scored four times in the final twenty minutes to sweep the Devils in the two game mini series in Binghamton on Veteran’s Day Saturday. The loss was the Devils fourth straight and sixth of their last eight as they fell below .500 for the first time this season. Toronto improved to 11-4-0-0 and are in first place in the North Division and the Eastern Conference.
Binghamton (5-6-1-0) came out with a really decent first period, however a couple of odd man rushes were mishandled early on, but led 1-0 on Joe Blandisi’s second goal of the season on a one-timer that beat Marlies’ goalie Calvin Pickard during a power play as Devils’ starter Ken Appleby was accurate in net with his 12 saves.
There was no scoring in the second but Binghamton had just a single shot on net compared to 14 by Toronto, as Nathan Bastian forced a turnover deep in the zone and fed Brandon Gignac in front only to have no luck as Pickard somehow was able to come up with the stop in what appeared to be a sure goal for the Devils.
Binghamton then caught a break as Toronto forward Nikita Soshnikov’s re-deflect in front was called dead after an apparent high stick that should have tied it. Perhaps that was the spark that Toronto needed as they were in full control after that in the third period.
Marlies roared back with four goals, with the first two 25 seconds apart as Andreas Johnsson let go a slapper from high in the slot that beat Appleby high on his glove side. Then Ben Smith got a piece of the puck in front on a floater from the point by defenseman Andrew Nielson and momentum was there and all she wrote for Toronto, as the Devils looked defeated.
Smith added his second of the night for a 3-1 Toronto lead as he lifted the puck over Appleby off a rebound in a scrum in front of the net. Soon after Marlies with a dagger on their fourth goal as Appleby had no help from his defensemen whatsoever when Kasperi Kapanen pushed the puck into an empty net on another rebound with Appleby down on his derriere. Binghamton players standing around befuddled and defeated in what turned out to be their fourth straight loss.
Forwards; Blandisi-Kearns-Lappin, Gignac-Kennedy-Bastian, Baddock-Rooney-Speers, Mandat-Cangelosi-Thomson. Defensemen; Strait-Jacobs, White-Kapla, MacDonald-Dyblenko. In Goal; Ken Appleby. Back up; Mackenzie Blackwood. Scratches; John Quenneville (inj.), Blake Pietila (inj.), Viktor Loov (inj.) and Ryan Kujawinski (inj.). Kearns, Strait and Lappin with the A’s.
Post Game Notes
- Loov a last minute scratch as Colton White was going to be a healthy scratch. Not sure on the extent of Loov injury but he did leave the ice early on Friday’s game and was a game day decision.
- Special teams were much better with puck movement and structure on the power play and effective PK results. The Devils kept out of the box with just two calls and were 1/2 on the PP.
- Appleby not solely the blame as the players looked lethargic going into the last 20 minutes, and one shot on goal in the second is not going to cut it. Their is some talented players but not enough to be with the middle bunch in the league, let alone the elite. A 60 minute effort has not been reached in what looks to me as a fragile group of players that need to fight through this if they are going to have a successful season. It’s still early, but bad habits need to break to create good ones.
- Shots 39-17 Marlies after a 35 shot effort by the Devils on Friday. Stamina could’ve been an issue on these back-to-back contests and third game in four nights.
- As far as Soshnikov’s call on a high stick, it was not a reviewable play however replays clearly showed the stick was below the shoulder(s) as he redirected the puck into the back of the net. Should have been a good goal.
#1 Ben Smith (2g), #2 Justin Holl (2a), #3 Calvin Pickard (16 saves).
The Devils are back at next Wednesday in Rochester followed by a pair of weekend games on home ice next Friday (Penguins) and Saturday (Amerks).