ABBOTSFORD, B.C.--It was the Shutsy and Scrivens Show.
The second part of that equation, as in Toronto Marlies goalkeeper Ben Scrivens, would surprise no one. Scrivens moved to 6-1 in the AHL post-season on Tuesday night by stoning the Abbotsford Heat to give the Marlies a three games to one lead in the best-of-seven series.
The surprise, in the 3-1 triumph, was who scored the Marlie goals. All three came off the hard-checking blade of winger Greg "Shutsy" Scott, one of those improbable heroes that any team hoping for a long playoff run needs to find.
With the Marlies down 1-0 early in the third, and with their top shooters being checked into the ice by the Heat, the native of Victoria, B.C. raced down the right side and snapped a short-side, Mike Bossy-like wrist shot under the crossbar past a stunned Abbotsford goalie Danny Taylor to tie the game.
"To be honest, I didn't even look," said Scott. "I was just trying to get a puck on net."
If that one was a bit lucky, the second one wasn't. The 23-year-old accepted a clever lead pass from Juraj Mikus while the Marlies were killing a penalty, outlegged a Heat defender off his off-wing and then beat Taylor with a nifty forehand move to make it 2-1.
Finally, with Taylor lifted for an extra skater, Scott completed his natural hat trick by blocking a shot at the Toronto blueline and then skating with the puck the length of the ice and depositing it carefully into the open net. He said he had no intention of doing anything fancy on that play.
"Who was that guy? Patrik Stefan?" he smiled, recalling Stefan's infamous empty net miss from 2007. "No way. It wasn't going to turn into that."
Before a sparse crowd of 1,704 at the 7,000-seat Abbotsford Sports and Enterntainment Centre, exactly one hat hit the ice after that third goal.
Scott wasn't too bothered by that, as he got the souvenir all the Marlies want these days, a Canadian Forces camouflage jacket brought back from Afghanistan by Maple Leafs president/GM Brian Burke last year that goes to the top Marlie every game.
"I was a little overdue," said the unassuming Scott, who had 21 goals during the regular season but none in the first six games of the playoffs and missed shorthanded breakaway in Game 3.
Head coach Dallas Eakins calls the undrafted Scott a "late bloomer," and there are some voices within the Leaf organization who believe he could play a third or fourth line role in the NHL.
"I went into this season with a shoot-first mentality," said Scott, a good junior scorer with the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds. "I definitely want to make my mark. My goal is to play in the NHL.
"But tonight, I'm just happy to contribute."
Scrivens, meanwhile, stopped 35 of 36 shots and has a .959 save percentage in this series, allowing only five goals to the Heat in four games.
"That's the best game I've seen him play in a while," said Eakins.
Both teams made lineup changes. The Marlies took out injured forwards Joe Colborne and Jay Rosehill and sat defenceman Jesse Blacker, dressing winger Colton Orr, junior-aged forward David Broll and defenceman Matt Lashoff, who had been out since October after knee surgery.
Abbotsford, meanwhile, surprisingly took out top scorer Krys Kolanos and youngster Max Reinhart, although it wasn't clear whether either or both were injured. The Heat played a strong defensive game, but have now scored just three goals in losing three straight after beginning the series with what was their 11th consecutive victory.
The 30-year-old Orr, in his first playoff appearance, played solidly on a fourth line with Will Acton and Broll and in the final minute fought Heat forward Guillaume Desbiens, who had been terrorizing Marlies all night long.
The Marlies were outshot 36-17, and while the actual play wasn't that lopsided, Scrivens had to make a series of tricky stops in the third while Scott was supplying all the offence.
"It wasn't our best game, but you need those types of wins in playoff hockey," said Scrivens.
The Marlies, who missed the playoffs a year ago, need one more win to advance to the AHL Western Conference final against the winner of San Antonio-Oklahoma City. Game 5 goes Wednesday night in Abbotsford, with Games 6 and 7, if necessary, back at the Ricoh Centre in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.