|MacIntyre stops Mueller's bid (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"He played good," said Chris Mueller, who had Texas' lone goal in the loss. "We need to penetrate more. We had a lot of shots from the outside. We gave them grade A chances and a lot of our chances weren't. When you give them those, they're going to score."
In the game, the Marlies were outshot 50-19 overall and 21-4 in the final frame as the Stars tried to dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole to start the period.
The game hinged on a 13 second sequence in the middle frame. Toronto scored twice in quick succession to put the game out of reach for the Stars.
Mueller continued, "We had huge mistakes end up in the back of our net."
"They had good structure," agreed Coach Desjardins. "We turned it over twice. You have to give them credit on their structure. That's why we turned it over and you have to give them credit."
The Stars would get a late power play goal from Mueller but it wasn't enough as two empty netters made a close game look like a blowout with a 5-1 final.
With the win, Toronto moves to a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs. They have yet to trail in any game in that stretch either. Texas suffered its first home loss of the postseason as well.
Texas and Toronto opened the game with quick back and forth action. The Marlies went up 1-0 early off an individual effort. Following a 2-on-1 rush that Texas fended off, Toronto held the zone. As the Stars tried to clear, they coughed it up to Brandon Kozun, who picked the top left corner on Nilstorp.
Texas had a shorthanded chance that almost went just a few minute later. Brendan Ranford just missed on completing the 2-on-1 with Travis Morin. Often-frantic sequences in front of MacIntyre came up empty for Texas. Rebounds were there, but the defense was clearing the out with facility.
It was clear throughout the period that physical play was going to be a much bigger part of this series than any prior. Mueller posited it was "like any other playoff game." However, the action certainly seemed amped up from the Griffins series.
An ill-advised offensive zone penalty for inteference put Texas on the power play. Just as it began, it ended with T.J. Brennan blasting a shot through Cristopher Nilstorp. Dustin Jeffrey appeared to have a stick on the shot but his twig snapped in his hand, betraying him and the team as Toronto took the 2-0 lead.
Just 13 seconds later, a pass from the corner across the slot by a Texas defenseman ended up on the stick of Peter Holland, who scored to make it 3-0.
The Stars put up a good showing through the final 33 minutes, but it was all Drew MacIntyre. The vet goalie put on a show. Despite his sometimes haphazard style, it would require a two-man advantage before Texas could penetrate the PEI native's defenses.
Down 3-0 in the third, Texas pulled Cristopher Nilstorp with over eight minutes remaining. Texas played with six men for over four minutes before it yielded a goal. Mueller scored on the power play to break up the shutout. The Stars continued with an empty net with the score now at 3-1. Two empty net goals, including one shorthanded empty netter, set the final score at 5-1.
Coach Desjardins summarized the night, "Some nights it just doesn't go, and that's the way it is. It's not like we weren't ready. We were. You have to give them credit. We'll be ready the next game."
That next game is Monday in Cedar Park.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Peters, Vause, Wrenn, Byström (scratched)
Klingberg, Dowling, Campbell, Petersen (injury)
Today's attendance was 4,693.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Toronto - May 23 2014