Tatar has three-point game as Griffins whip Marlies

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The Canadian Press
5/10/2013 9:58:56 PM
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TORONTO -- In their first-round playoff sweep of the Rochester Americans, the Toronto Marlies only conceded five goals.

But in the first game of their second-round series against the Grand Rapids Griffins, they allowed seven.

Tomas Tatar scored twice and added an assist as the Griffins thumped the 7-0 in Game 1 of the American Hockey League's Western Conference semi-final series on Friday night.

"I can't remember losing a game like that since I've been here," said Toronto head coach Dallas Eakins. "I loved the way that we started the game. I thought we came out stomping. It was exactly how we wanted to start."

Mitch Callahan, Chad Billins, Teemu Pulkkinen, Luke Glendening and Jan Mursak also scored for the Griffins.

Petr Mrazek made 25 saves in recording his second shutout of the playoffs.

It's not that the Marlies were overmatched in any way. It was quite the opposite off the start as the Marlies came out firing, registering the first six shots on goal.

But two quick Griffins goals in the first period put the Marlies on the back foot early and they were never able to recover.

Mrazek was stellar for the Griffins and penalty trouble in the third period killed any chance of Toronto's attempts to stage a late comeback.

Marlies goalie Drew MacIntyre had a tough night giving up six goals on 28 shots and was replaced by Garret Sparks early in the third period. Sparks made 10 saves on 11 shots.

"I was really bad. I was horrible," said MacIntyre. "I wasn't sharp. I did a lot of bad things. But I think I'll be fine."

Callahan opened the scoring at 8:55 of the first after the Griffins worked the puck around quickly off a faceoff in the Toronto zone. Brennan Evans quickly picked up the puck and got it back to the point where Callahan fired through traffic.

Just 34 seconds later, Billins was another recipient of some quick work off the draw as he fired in his first of the playoffs from the point.

While MacIntyre was critical of his own performance, his coach was quick to come to his defence as MacIntyre has bailed out the Marlies repeatedly since joining the team in February.

"None of those goals were soft goals on Drew's part," said Eakins. "It was just one of those nights where everything they touched was going in that net and it was a night for us where we couldn't get anything.

There was no let-up from the Griffins as they scored their third of the game just 1:14 into the second. After a poor Marlies clearance from the corner, Tomas Jurco found Pulkkinen beside the goal with a slap pass that Pulkkinen then converted from close range.

Tatar's first of the night game at 19:42 of the second when he was given plenty of time beside the Marlies goal to get a couple of shots at a loose puck before banging a shot in off MacIntyre.

MacIntyre's night was done after the Griffins added two more goals in the first 5:48 of the third.

There's not much time for the Marlies to dwell on getting blown out in game one. Game two takes place less than 24 hours later on Saturday afternoon.

"I wouldn't want to be thinking about this one for much longer," said MacIntyre, admitting he was pleased that he gets another crack at the Griffins on Saturday. "I'm really excited to get back out."

Tatar got his second of the night when he came out from behind the goal and was given plenty of time to wait and pick his spot at 3:16.

At 5:48, Glendening scored a close-range goal from MacIntyre's right side.

Notes: The Marlies were without defenceman Jesse Blacker who was called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Blacker had missed the entire first round with a lower body injury. a Spencer Abbott was also out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. a Attendance on Friday night was 3,812.

Grand Rapids Griffins (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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