MONTREAL – The last time Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price played in the AHL, they were only 67 km (41 mi) from Toronto. In for a conditioning stint, both NHL’ers haven’t been in the AHL in over eight seasons; but in their brief return on Monday, they held their own in a game that they gave Laval an opportunity to win.
With all the buzz of Price, it’s worth noting that Michael Hutchinson started for Toronto. Hutchinson has mostly been in the press box this year, being on the Maple Leafs Taxi Squad. He’s had a swift .919 save percentage and a 2.42 goals-against average in his eight NHL games this year.
It wouldn’t be long before the Marlies found the first flaw in Price’s game. The play started with Justin Brazeau streaking in, patiently waiting for Bobby McMann to get into a shooting position to snipe one past Price for the game’s opening goal.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) May 17, 2021
The Marlies wouldn’t take long before finding twine again in the first. Just minutes later, Jeremy McKenna made a wrap-around attempt that was easily steered aside by Price. Still, on the rebound, Marlies wing Stefan Noesen finished the mission on the backhand for the 2-0 advantage.
With 20 in the books, I couldn’t help but feeling the Marlies still weren’t on target. Laval had great looks on the power-play and continued to dominate for a great portion of the first period. The Marlies caught a rusty Price, but Hutchinson put in work for Toronto. Things needed to shift in the final 40. The shots in the opening period were 17-9 for Laval.
But things didn’t shift for Toronto. In fact, it took them nearly eight minutes in the second period to generate a single shot on goal. With the aid of a few special team advantages, they rallied six shots near periods end, bringing the 40-minute total to 29-15 for Laval. Laval dominated Toronto early in the second period but coasted a little near the 30th minute. Hutchinson was strong, but going down the stretch, they had to find a way to solve Marlies goaltending – a similar proposition they had when the two teams played on May 4th.
— Zack Power (@FPHMarlies) May 18, 2021
Cayden Primeau started the third period. Price made 13 saves on 15 shots in his relief stint.
In the third, the Rocket didn’t give that same “oomph,” and Primeau ultimately went in net to save two shots through 20 minutes. Hutchinson continued to be a star through the third period, stopping all 10 shots in the final frame.
Laval would ultimately fail to punish Toronto, who was under constant miscommunication. The team didn’t feel intact. The team looked like they picked the names out of a hat and threw them in lines. Laval knew that; They took advantage of the Marlies. Hutchinson had some brilliant looks all game, topping Price, who notably looked rusty to start.
Laval didn’t look their best. Their legs looked a little inconsistent and could have used a bit of stride flowing between zones. Laval had four power-play opportunities with alright looks, but it was clear they needed to go back to the drawing board.
No, it wasn’t NHL Price on the ice, but he looked pretty solid in his final 30 minutes.
As for Gallagher, he had some good looks but didn’t have many good shots in last night’s game.
Not often will you see a team record two shots through the majority of the third period and win, but the Marlies somehow did, considering they were the underdogs.
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