KNOW YOUR OPPONENT – TORONTO MARLIES
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are in the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Their first opponent? The Toronto Marlies.
Toronto finished first in the American Hockey League this season, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for the most points in the league with 114. Their 54 wins are the most by an AHL team since 2012-13 when the Norfolk Admirals went on to win the Calder Cup. They are the only team with single digit road losses this year, losing just seven games in regulation with the next team coming in with 11.
Despite all these accolades, the Sound Tigers do have one key advantage – the element of surprise. These two teams have never faced each other, ever, and Bridgeport will look to use that as a way to get off to a hot start in a series that begins in Bridgeport.
So we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Marlies and what to expect in this series.
NHL Affiliate: Toronto Maple Leafs
Overall Record: 54-16-5-1 (114 pts), first in North Division, 1st in Eastern Conference, 1st in AHL with .750 point percentage.
Home Record: 27-9-2-0 (.737), 2nd in AHL to the Albany Devils
Road Record: 27-7-3-1 (.763), 1st in AHL
Power Play: 57/328 (17.4%), 10th in the AHL. They finished tied for fourth in the league in power plays drawn. They also gave up 12 short-handed goals, third most allowed in the league.
Penalty Kill: 242/288 (84%), 12th in the AHL. The Sound Tigers have a better penalty kill than the Marlies percentage-wise, but Toronto scored 13 short-handed goals, tied for third in the league.
Last 10: The Marlies finished 8-1-0-1 to close out the season, with their only defeat coming at the hands of the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Goals For: 294, best in the AHL. The next closest team in the league is Texas with 277 while the closest team in the East is Hershey with 259, then Providence with 238.
Goals Against: 191, fourth in the AHL. Toronto was one of just four teams in the East to allow fewer than 200 goals.
Hey, I Remember You: Although he never played for the Sound Tigers, Mark Arcobello grew up in Milford, played his high school hockey at Fairfield Prep and Salisbury, then went to college at Yale for four years. Arcobello has played 237 AHL games along with 139 NHL games, tallying 220 points in the American Hockey League. Ben Smith is also from the Nutmeg State, growing up in Avon.
Player to Watch: T.J. Brennan won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s best defenseman this year, putting up 68 points from the blue line in 69 games. Brennan was part of the deal that landed Nick Leddy in New York during training camp last season.
Fun Fact: The Sound Tigers have played eight games all-time against a Toronto affiliate – the St. John’s Maple Leafs. The two teams played eight times from 2001-03, with the Sound Tigers going 2-3-3 against St. John’s, but swept the Maple Leafs in four games during the 2001-02 Calder Cup Playoffs. Bridgeport has never lost a series against a Canadian team (3-0).