On the surface, it would appear that AHL Western Conference final foes Toronto and Chicago are closer to exhaustion rather than being in the peak form necessary for a post-season war that will take the winner to the Calder Cup championship series.

The Marlies beat the Syracuse Crunch Monday to finish off their second seven-game series in a row, giving them an AHL-leading 14 playoff games in the bank. The Wolves are one game shy of that, with 13 games, and a just-finished seven-game series against Rockford.

But the Marlies say they’re feeling just fine as they get ready to face Chicago in Game 1 tomorrow night.

“We’ve played more games than the other teams and we’ve faced our share of adversity, being down 3-1 to Syracuse and coming back,” Marlies goalie Scott Clemmensen said.

“But that’s been how we’ve been successful. We have a good feeling in our dressing room, we’re confident now, but not over-confident, and we just want to keep it going.”

Toronto returned to practice yesterday, and there was an obvious levity on the ice and in the dressing room. The Leafs’ farm team refused to wilt when down 3-1 against Syracuse in the North Division final.

The Marlies will most certainly need every facet of their game in top order against a Chicago team, led by coach and former Leaf John Anderson, that some are picking to win the Calder Cup.

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