The Toronto Maple Leafs signed winger Yegor Korshkov earlier this week and the big Russian made quite an impression in his North American debut, scoring a goal and throwing some big hits in the Toronto Marlies 4-3 overtime victory over the Cleveland Monsters on Friday.
Michael Carcone scored 73 seconds into overtime to give the Marlies a 2-0 lead in the second round series, who were outshot 38-26 and outplayed for most of the game by the Monsters. Chris Mueller and Joseph Duszak also scored for Toronto, Jeremy Bracco added two assists to tie for the playoff scoring lead and Kasimir Kaskisuo made 36 saves in his fifth straight postseason victory.
Korshkov was tentative early but seemed to get more comfortable as the game progressed playing on a line with Dmytro Timashov and Pierre Engvall. The 6’4” 185 lb. forward was eager to make his presence known with his father traveling from Russia to be at his first game, and laid out some crushing checks.
“It’s very important for us to win the game. And of course for me personally, it was such a great feeling for me to score in front of my Dad here tonight.” Korshkov said via an interpreter. “I was just trying to show my hockey style (with the hits). I didn’t want to let the team down. I wanted to play my best and I hope it worked.”
Egor Korshkov, welcome to the AHL. Scores his first professional goal in North America and gives the #Marlies a 3-2 lead. Great puck movement from Hollowell-Sandin to set it up. pic.twitter.com/QGaAGWQ5Q4
The big 22-year-old effectively screened Cleveland goalie Brad Theissen on Duszak’s long shot that made it 2-0 and had a good scoring chance late in the first before putting Toronto in the lead late in the second after a nice pass from Rasmus Sandin.
“I thought (Korshkov) showed a lot of good skill today, a lot of good patience and poise with the puck for his first game and his first time in this league, first time on smaller ice and all that kind of stuff. That was very encouraging.” Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “He was involved physically. That’s a part of his game and part of who he is. For him to feel comfortable enough to make his presence felt physically in the game, that was very positive.”
While very few things went wrong in his debut, the big winger’s skating stride was short and choppy at times, which is something that will likely be addressed over the summer with Leafs consultant Barb Underhill.
The Marlies now head to Cleveland for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday, before returning home on Saturday for Game 5 (if necessary), but will not have Calle Rosen available to them. Keefe indicated after the game that Rosen’s injuries after crashing into the boards in Game 1 were more extensive than first thought and that the defenseman will be out the rest of the second round.
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