The Manchester Monarchs arrive in Portland looking to snap a three game losing streak, still trying to deal with a trio of losses on the blueline (Campbell, Kolomatis, and Muzzin). Deslauriers has been promoted to the top pairing with Slava Voynov, but both have struggled at times (whether turning over the puck or trying to do too much). As a team, Manchester has been giving up more shots and scoring chances than they had in the first few weeks of the season, and the penalty kill hasn't been effective in this slump. To top it off, their power play isn't clicking either.
They'll face a Portland Pirates team (6-6-1-1) which is also in a bit of a slump. Chad Johnson (.919 SV%), who gave up 5 goals to the Monarchs earlier this season, will be in net.
Manchester's goal is to re-establish a strong forechecking game, but they'll have to find some chemistry quickly if they want to keep in the hunt for the division. They have three games in a row coming up this weekend after the Thanksgiving break.
Forward scratches for the Monarchs tonight: Andrei Loktionov (is he injured again?), Justin Johnson, and David Meckler.
Cliche takes over the top line between King and Kozun.
Bullet point recap:
- Martin Jones keeps the Monarchs in it early. Deslauriers' turnover almost led to a goal against on the first shift, and the Monarchs spend way too much time in their own zone.
- Tyler Toffoli's goal at 10:33 bucked the trend. His shot from the right circle looked like it might have been deflected by Tanner Pearson in front, but the credit for the goal was later changed. Vey had the assist.
- Monarchs kill a 5v3 but the Pirates had some dangerous chances.
- Toffoli scores again with a beautiful shot at 16:14. That's his sixth of the year.
- Martin Jones makes a great glove save on Brett Hextall on a 3-on-1. Monarchs are still giving up too many outnumbered rushes.
- The Pirates outshot the Monarchs 19-6. Yeesh. Credit to Jones for having them come out with the lead.
- The Monarchs are able to generate more pressure, outshooting the Pirates 11-8. I still don't like the chances Manchester is giving up.
- The Pearson-Vey-Toffoli line strikes again. They get a cycle going, and regain possession just when it looks like the Pirates would clear it. Vey's shot is stopped, but Toffoli nabs the fluttering puck out of the air for the hat trick.
- The parade to the penalty box continues, which doesn't let the Monarchs establish any sort of a rhythm. Czarnik is the worst offender with three trips to the box of shame. Fortunately, the PK goes 10 for 10.
- The top PKers Cliche, Legein, Hickey and Voynov got a workout. Legein hustles and gets some chances shorthanded.
- Martin Jones is both lucky and very, very good. Even before Portland's second lengthy 5v3 is over, they seem to despair.
- At 10:52, a hard shot from the right circle by Legein makes it 4-0. Assists by Weal and O'Neill.
- Late in the third, during one of Manchester's rare power plays, Voynov scores on a one timer from the point. Vey's assist gives him four points on the night.
- Martin Jones' shutout bid is unfortunately spoiled with just 32 seconds left. He is still rightly awarded the first star of the game. How many times does a goalie top a guy with a hat trick? It happened tonight.
Final score: Monarchs win 5-1. The Pirates had outshot them 43-25.