The hottest team in hockey didn't let a nine-day break in the schedule cool off its drive toward its first AHL championship.
The Norfolk Admirals, the AHL's regular-season champions, got 23 saves by goaltender Dustin Tokarski and killed off all 11 Toronto power plays as they beat the Marlies 3-1 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night.
Cory Conacher had a goal and an assist for the Admirals, the Tampa Bay Lightning's top affiliate, who ended the regular season by winning their last 28 games, the longest streak in the history of professional hockey. They are now 12-3 in the playoffs, meaning that Norfolk has won 40 of 43 games since a loss on Feb. 5.
Conacher opened the scoring when he beat Ben Scrivens at 12:21 of the first period with the teams playing 4-on-4, then assisted on Tyler Johnson's power-play goal at 10:03 of the second as the Admirals took a 2-0 lead.
Carter Ashton, who spent most of the season with the Admirals before being traded by Tampa Bay to the Toronto Maple Leafs near the NHL trade deadline, got the Marlies on the board at 3:57 of the third period. That goal ended a shutout streak of 202:06 for Tokarski, who posted back-to-back shutouts as the Admirals completed a sweep of St. John in the Eastern Conference Finals -- a series that ended on May 22.
Scrivens kept the Marlies, the Western Conference champs, in the game with 39 saves as Norfolk outshot Toronto 42-24.
Game 2 is Saturday night at Norfolk before the series moves to Toronto for games on June 7, 9 and 10.