Drew MacIntyre made 49 saves as the Toronto Marlies opened the Western Conference Finals with a 5-1 win over the Texas Stars at the Cedar Park Center on Friday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Monday night in Cedar Park.
MacIntyre was outstanding in improving to 8-0 this postseason, stopping 12 shots in the first period, 17 in the second and 21 more in the third as Texas finished with a 50-19 edge in shots on goal.
As it had in each of its previous seven playoff games, Toronto opened the scoring in Game 1. Brandon Kozun took a pass from Trevor Smith, raced in unchecked from the blue line and snapped a shot over the catching glove of Cristopher Nilstorp (5-2) for his fourth goal of the playoffs at 3:11 of the first period.
T.J. Brennan gave the Marlies a 2-0 lead on a power play at 7:15 of the second, finding room in the slot and snapping a shot off the post and in behind Nilstorp.
Just 13 seconds later, Sam Carrick got a piece of Jyrki Jokipakka‘s clearing try and the puck landed right on the stick of Peter Holland, who went top-shelf from between the hash marks to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
Still down 3-0, Texas pulled Nilstorp in favor of an extra attacker with 8:51 left in regulation, and finally got on the board on their 43rd shot of the night as Chris Mueller one-timed a pass from Travis Morin and beat MacIntyre from the bottom of the left-wing circle with 4:27 to play.
Mueller had a golden opportunity to pull the Stars to within one but caught the outside of a yawning cage with MacIntyre down, and seconds later Carrick hit the open Texas net from inside his own blue line to put the Marlies back up by three with 2:10 remaining. Jerred Smithson added another empty-netter with 1:41 to play to cap the scoring.
Texas was 1-for-6 on the power play; Toronto went 1-for-2.
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 3-Toronto Marlies | Series Snapshot
Game 1 – Fri., May 23 – Toronto 5, TEXAS 1
Game 2 – Mon., May 26 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
Game 3 – Wed., May 28 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 29 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 31 – Texas at Toronto, 3:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 2 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., June 3 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
*if necessary… All times Eastern