Connolly, Brett

NHL Game Night: 1-13-12 Lightning at Capitals

You know, if you don't start every game in a 2,3, or 4 goal hole, you don't need to try to make a miracle comeback.

TB-3
WSH-4

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss.

First Period
WSH Ovechkin (18), (Johansson, Wideman)(PP), 3:52
WSH Brouwer (12), (Semin, Wideman)(PP), 5:45

Second Period
WSH Brouwer (13), (Laich, Knuble), 5:25
TB Pyatt (4), (St. Louis), 17:06

Third Period
TB Stamkos (30), (Malone, Lecavalier)(PP), 16:34
WSH Brouwer (14), (Laich, Halpern)(EN), 19:00
TB Lecavalier (17), (St. Louis, Purcell), 19:49

It seems like every game this month has been an exercise in taking the first 20 minutes off and then trying to come back in the last 20. You can't survive on a half or a third of a game's effort. It doesn't work that way.

Brett Connolly had a hit in 8:43.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 3 hits in 7:04.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Prospect of the Week (1.10.12)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques, but we did have a medal in mind for this one since we’re late with the announcement.

Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Brett Connolly, Team Canada.

NHL Game Night: 1-12-12 Hurricanes at Lightning

It's sad to think with 40 games left to play the season may already be effectively over.

CAR-5
TB-2

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 8 shots for the loss before giving way to Dwayne Roloson who allowed 2 goals on 24 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
CAR Ruutu (15), (Staal, Tlusty), 3:27
CAR Tlusty (8), (Staal), 4:41
TB Thompson (4), (unassisted), 14:36
CAR Harrison (6), (Ruutu, Faulk), 15:10
CAR Tlusty (9), (Staal, Ruutu), 16:18

Second Period
TB Purcell (8), (Gervais, Stamkos), 2:49

Third Period
CAR Brent (5), (Stewart, Harrison), 13:41

It's time for Steve Yzerman to throw the switch and to begin working the phones as a seller. If there was a team in the NHL I could've hand picked for the Lightning to get a win tonight, it would've been the Carolina Hurricanes. Even in their darkest hours, the Lightning have always seemed to torment Carolina. To get blown out 5-2 at home by a club they've effectively owned is a pretty prominent red flag that indicates the comeback in the standings isn't coming.

There are a lot of veterans on this team that will be unrestricted free agents who shouldn't be back next season that should be converted into draft picks and mid-level prospects. There's still more players that the Lightning need to make a decision about, because there are passengers on this roster. Not everyone is taking a beating like Steve Downie to try to win hockey games, and those players deserve scrutiny.

Last, it's time for some youth. It's time to give Brett Connolly more ice time. It's time to give a look to guys like Carter Ashton and Mark Barberio who are currently in the minors. The 2012-2013 season begins now, and the next 40 games should be devoted to finding a mix for next season that can go out and get this Lightning team back to the elite status we thought they were headed toward at the end of last season.

Connolly had 2 shots and 1 hit in 9:44. He's been in the 9-10 minute range since returning to the team from the WJC's. The way I see it, he needs to be playing with Stamkos and/or Lecavalier the next 40 games on a scoring line. Prepare him for next season. And, if he plays well, he'll make certain guys who aren't carrying their weight as alleged scoring threats even more expendable.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-10-12 Canucks at Lightning

A glimmer of hope, but still no result.

VAN-5
TB-4 (SO)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 28 shots and 1 of 3 in the shootout for the penalty shot session loss.

First Period
VAN Edler (7), (Sulzer, H. Sedin), 2:36
VAN Hansen (13), (Hamhuis)(SH), 8:16

Second Period
TB Stamkos (29), (Malone, Bergeron), 10:12
VAN Malhotra (4), (Duco, Ballard), 12:27
TB Lecavalier (16), (Stamkos, Gilroy), 19:28
VAN Kesler (12), (Raymond, Hodgson), 19:58

Third Period
TB Downie (7), (Kubina, St. Louis), 6:14
TB Malone (8), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 18:59

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
VAN- Raymond
TB- NONE

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were the game's second and third stars.

Tonight was the halfway point of the season, and the prognosis is ugly, on paper. The team is 3 games under .500 and 8 points out of the final playoff spot in the East with 5 teams ahead of them that the Lightning need to jump over. It's bad. But, a comeback like tonight to force overtime gives a glimmer of hope. I wondered if this team had given up after falling down 2-0 in the first period. It might've been easy for them to lay down then. It'd be just as easy to lay down at 4-2 on the crippling goal by Kesler at the end of the second period. The team still pressed on, though, and so there's a tiny bit of life in Tampa Bay yet.

Brendan Mikkelson had a decent debut in a modest amount of ice time. There's something to work with there. He does skate well and he's got more willingness to pop people than had been advertised. You can see why Yzerman pulled the trigger to get him. That said, between Mikkelson, Gilroy, and Gervais: eat a little, boys. Drop by Babe's Pizza in Brandon after practice some time. Sweet mercy. Pavel Kubina sweats more weight off in a game than those three weigh combined, I'm fairly certain. Mario Larocque thinks they're skinny.

Vincent Lecavalier pulls into the halfway mark on a pace for 32 goals and 60 points. 32 goals would be his best output since 2007-2008. He's not what he was, but he's not a bum, either. I think the hyperbole about him being a glorified third liner at this stage of his career is a bit much.

Steven Stamkos is on a pace for 58 goals and 94 points. 60 and 100 isn't out of the question with all the home games the Lightning have coming up.

What's sad is, at their current paces, Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie, Ryan Malone, and Dominic Moore combined will only have 50 goals. So, Stammer's the equivalent of 4 mortal men, thus far. The secondary scoring has got to improve.

Brett Connolly was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:33.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-7-12 Lightning at Canadiens

That's all?

TB-1
MTL-3

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
TB Lecavalier (15), (Moore, Brewer), 3:24

Second Period
MTL Blunden (1), (Gill, Darche), 5:44
MTL Pacioretty (12), (Subban), 7:17

Third Period
MTL Cole (17), (Desharnais, Pacioretty)(PP), 19:43

Vincent Lecavalier was named the game's third star.

The Lightning knew this was a make-or-break road trip and after going 0-for-3 on this swing through Canada, it looks like the season may be broken. They're now 9 points out of 8th place, and while they have a ton of home games coming up, the fact is they need to be well above .500 on the road the rest of the way too to make up the gap. Getting swept on road trips through Ontario and Quebec is only going to guarantee a top-10 pick at the draft at this point.

New acquisition Brendan Mikkelson did not suit up for the Lightning.

Brett Connolly was +1 with 2 shots in 12:13 in his return from the Canadian junior team.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 1 hit in 3:41 in his NHL debut. Congratulation to Pierre-Cedric for making it to the show.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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