Connolly, Brett

NHL Game Night: 1-15-12 Penguins at Lightning

The Lightning squander a rare opportunity to begin to turn their season around.

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Mathieu Garon allowed 5 goals on 43 shots for the loss. The inability to make key saves in the third period when the club desperately needed them may have contributed to the writing of their obituary this year.

First Period
PIT Neal (23), (Martin, Malkin)(PP), 2:43
PIT Park (3), (unassisted), 10:38

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
PIT Neal (24), (Malkin, Sullivan)(PP), 0:34
TB Gilroy (1), (Stamkos, St. Louis), 2:00
TB Malone (9), (Lecavalier, Purcell)(PP), 4:53
TB Purcell (9), (Lecavalier, Gervais), 6:50
PIT Malkin (19), (unassisted), 7:38
PIT Malkin (20), (Orpik), 9:27
PIT Malkin (21), (unassisted)(EN), 19:04

Vincent Lecavalier was the game's third star. I've been waiting for the kind of emotional outburst he showed in the third period today chasing down Malkin and throwing some fisticuffs. Frustration? Sure. But the Lightning are too robotic, and they need more than just Steve Downie to show a little fire. I didn't mind it. I wouldn't mind seeing more of it, in fact.

A 3 goal lead in the third period, as I've said many times, should be a death sentence in pro hockey. And, if you manage to be the team that overcomes such a deficit to win that slim 1 in 100 times it happens, well, it can have a lasting positive effect on a team's confidence. The Lightning desperately needed the kind of bounce in faith they would've gotten from completing their comeback from 3-0 down this afternoon. And, they were right there. It was there for the taking. The failure to convert the opportunity may have been the final nail in the coffin of the team's playoff hopes this year. They needed that. Badly.

Brett Connolly had 1 hit in 7:08. He's been playing hard and he's been close to creating chances, but they're not quite there for Brett like they were early in the season.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and 5 for fighting in 2:48. That's the kind of stat line I expected to see.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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.

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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.

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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.

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