Bolt Prospects would like to acknowledge one monster who has been mashing his way all through October. Some Bolt Prospects readers felt tricked this past week when we didn't name this prospect the Player of the Week, but we were holding a treat in reserve. True, there were several worthy honorable mentions who scared up some excitement along the way. There was the wolf man, Brett Connolly, who came out of nowhere to crack the Lightning's NHL roster. There was the evil genius, Mark Barberio, and his stylish 2 goals and 11 points in 10 games. And, there was the leprechaun, Matthew Peca, who got his own pot o' gold today when he was named the ECAC's Rookie of the Month.
But the nail in the coffin came when the AHL gave a certain power forward (sort of a pale Incredible Hulk) a minor award (hardly worth mention in the same breath as Bolt Prospects' Prospect of the Month).
You usually don't win if you only show up for 20 out of 60 minutes.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 31 shots in the loss. The Lightning would have had zero prayer without his efforts tonight. None.
TB Purcell (4), (Bergeron, Malone), 15:14
CAR Larose (2), (Harrison, Ponikarovsky)(PP), 18:21
CAR Skinner (5), (Pitkanen), 0:22
CAR Skinner (6), (Jokinen), 10:38
TB Connolly (1), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 14:16
CAR Larose (3), (Tlusty), 15:10
The Lightning were down 27-17 in shots after 40 minutes before they decided to apply the proper effort on the forecheck. They outshot Carolina 13-4 the rest of the way, and got the game back within 1 goal momentarily, but it takes a 60 minute effort to succeed.
Brett Connolly had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 13:50. Congratulations.
Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 8:47.
Dwayne Roloson has officially pulled himself up off the canvas with a 28 save shutout.
TB Lecavalier (5), (Stamkos, Brewer)(PP), 19:20
Roli and Vincent Lecavalier were the game's first and second stars. Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec got the third star, as he was the only thing keeping the Jets from utter annihilation for the first two periods before Roli slammed the door in the third.
And the third jerseys (and the black, and the celebration stripes) retain their unbeaten record this year...
Brett Connolly had 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:34. Diminished ice time with the score tight is the plight of the NHL rookie.
Defense/goaltending snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Mathieu Garon got lifted after allowing 5 goals on 17 shots for the loss. Dwayne Roloson stopped all 10 he faced the rest of the way. So, Garon's hot streak may be over, and hopefully Roli is refreshed from a few nights off.
NSH Kostitsyn (3), (Smith, Fisher), 6:25
NSH Fisher (1), (Kostitsyn, Smith), 14:05
TB Stamkos (5), (Purcell, Malone), 16:36
TB Purcell (3), (Connolly, Bergeron)(PP), 19:33
NSH Hornqvist (1), (Halischuk, Geoffrion), 7:43
NSH Spaling (1), (Hillen, Blum), 11:20
NSH Fisher (2), (Spaling), 12:10
TB Stamkos (6), (Bergeron, St. Louis), 17:03
Defensive zone coverage and turnovers continue to be an Achilles Heel. Offense continues to not be a problem, though, even with a fizzling power play. Heaven help the NHL if Boucher can get those items smoothed out. Lecavalier, Stamkos, and St. Louis all seem to be on their games, lately.
Brett Connolly had a helper and was -2 with 1 hit in 13:42.
The Lightning will have no prospects in the WHL this year, and that's just fine with Brett Connolly.
Late last night, after Connolly's ninth game in the NHL, the St. Pete Times reported Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman told Connolly he was staying in the NHL this season.
That loud obscenity you heard from the northwest around that time was the head office of the WHL's Prince George Cougars, who were counting on their captain and homegrown star to return to the club this season.
As soon as Connolly plays his 10th game his NHL contract kicks in. Nine games is the cut-off for junior age players who aren't yet old enough to play in the American Hockey League.