“Both teams are well coached and play their structures very well,” Nelson said. “Toronto is more of a grinding team. They're not as offensive as Grand Rapids, but Toronto is bigger and more physical. It will be interesting to see who wins that series.”
Barons goaltender Yann Danis, who has a 17-5-3 record with 1.94 goals against average and .933 saves percentage since he returned from Edmonton two months ago, was in net last season when the Barons lost to Toronto in five games.
Oklahoma City has gone 13-4-2 on the road the past two months, including playoff games at Charlotte and Texas. But if OKC plays the Marlies, the Barons are 0-6 all-time in Toronto, including three losses in Ricoh Coliseum in last year's Western finals.
“We haven't lost a lot of road games lately, but one of our losses, a close, tight game, was up there,” Danis said. “But that's in the past. You have to keep it positive. It definitely wouldn't be easy, but we can't think about the past. We have to look towards the future.”
Regardless of the opponent, Nelson likes his blend of veterans and youth and momentum the Barons have gained the past two months. Oklahoma City won its series 4-1 over the top-seeded Texas, outscoring the Stars 20-6.
“We're finding different ways to win,” Nelson said. “We've come from behind. We've protected leads. I like the way we're playing right now. We have a lot of character and determination.
“It seems when we stare at adversity that's when we play our best. Our motto all year has been: ‘Complete the mission.' We got halfway there last year. We want to take it further.”