Johnson, Tyler

Prospect of the Week: May 1, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for April 25 is … Tyler Johnson, C, Syracuse (AHL – USA).

Him again?

Him again.

Two weeks ago Tyler Johnson won the AHL Most Valuable Player award and subsequently our Prospect of the Week honor. We tried to keep him off the medal stand this week but he wouldn’t let us.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-28-13 Pirates at Crunch

Game Two goes according to plan.

POR-2
SYR-4

Syracuse Leads the Best-of-Five Series 2-0

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 20 shots for the victory. He looked much more solid tonight in net. The team needs him to play like that moving forward if they want to reach their ultimate goal.

First Period
SYR Palat, (1) (Johnson, Taormina), 9:33
SYR Brown, (1) (Angelidis, Wyman), 10:41

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (2) (Palat), 0:49 (SH)
SYR Connolly, (1) (Sexton, Devos), 14:36
POR Gormley, (1) (Shinnimin, Johnson), 16:50

Third Period
POR Johnson, (1) (Lessio, Gormley), 9:40

Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Matt Taormina were the game's three stars.

I continue to be extremely impressed by Palat. He's been the complete package through 2 games in this series. Just like last season, good things happen when the man has the puck. I was also impressed with Vladislav Namestnikov, who got a lot more ice time with Richard Panik getting kicked out after a secondary altercation. Portland tried targeting Namestnikov, and Vladdy rose to the challenge. He was feisty and he landed some good hits in the Third Period, to go along with his usual puckhandling and playmaking.

Game Three is Thursday in Portland. This is where Zettler's going to earn his big boy coaching pants. Portland's going to throw everything they have left at Syracuse in the First Period, and if Syracuse is complacent, bad things will happen. Playoffs are about attrition as much as anything, and if you have a chance to finish an opponent off, you do it. Anything that extends a series is another set of shifts where one of your key players can get hurt, so you have to finish the drill ASAP, and with Providence falling behind 2-0 in their series and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up 2-0 in theirs, it's looking like a very good Pens team is lurking on the horizon. Syracuse wants to be healthy and rested for that potential opponent.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-27-13 Pirates at Crunch

Syracuse withstands Portland's best punch.

POR-3
SYR-4 (OT)

Syracuse Leads the Best-of-Five Series 1-0

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the victory. 2 of those goals were softies on wrap-arounds that Desjardins needs to wipe out of his game quickly moving forward in these playoffs. He scares me. Point blank, the guy scares me.

First Period
POR Dziurzynski, (1) (Werek), 10:53
POR Rundblad, (1) (Gormley, Martinook), 17:16 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (1) (Panik, Palat), 6:37 (PP)
POR Brown, (1) (Lane, Miele), 8:23
SYR Barberio, (1) (Palat, Johnson), 13:32 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Sexton, (1) (Sustr, Devos), 7:54

Overtime
SYR Panik, (1) (Palat, Johnson), 6:36 (PP)

Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson, and Radko Gudas were the game's three stars. While not terribly visible at even strength, Panik showed great hands around the net on the PP setting up Johnson's goal and outwaiting Portland's netminder on the game winner. Panik attack, y'all.

That, I suspect, was Portland's best chance to seize upset momentum in this series. They got a couple of softies out of Desjardins and had the 2 goal lead on the road with a chance to steal home ice in a short 5-game series. The Crunch kept chipping away at it though and eventually wore out the Pirates, who now may have to go without Boris Valabik for a few games after a vicious elbowing major that led to Panik's winner. Syracuse now just has to make sure Brett Connolly, the recipient of that elbow, is healthy along with Johnson and Mark Barberio, each of whom also got banged up during the game. All three returned to action, so hopefully everything is going to be fine.

As quiet as a 3 assist night can be, I thought Ondrej Palat along with Johnson were Syracuse's best players tonight. Palat also drew three penalties out of Portland on top of his scoresheet production.

Game Two is tomorrow night. We'll see what Portland has in the tank.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 4-21-13 Senators at Crunch

Get away day at War Memorial.

BNG-5
SYR-1

Pat Nagle allowed 5 goals on 37 shots for the loss. That was Nagle's second appearance of his AHL career and his first decision as the Crunch threw out a B lineup and B effort with nothing much to play for in the last regular season game.

First Period
BNG Cowick, (16) (Grant, Schneider), 14:13

Second Period
BNG Grant, (19) (Wideman), 1:56
BNG Ceci, (1) (Da Costa, Stone), 4:28

Third Period
SYR Sustr, (2) (Barberio, Sexton), 6:47 (PP)
BNG Schneider, (17) (Cowick), 12:13
BNG Robinson, (2) (Cannone), 19:17

Dan Sexton was the game's third star.

Tyler Johnson was not allowed to sniff the ice. Not surprising. Artem Sergeev made his AHL debut in the game. Again, not surprising. The kids were going to play in this one.

With Portland getting thumped by Bridgeport 4-1, Syracuse's first round opponent is now set. The third seeded Crunch will draw the sixth seeded Pirates. To be honest, if I had to pick an opponent, Portland's not the scariest one on the board. When you look at their lineup, they have some nice defensemen but lack scoring depth up front and, above all, their goaltending doesn't really terrify you. This first round series may be the toughest one for Syracuse to get past, so I am fairly relieved they didn't draw a team like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton right away.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-20-13 Sharks at Crunch

Syracuse wins the AHL East Division title... barely.

WOR-3
SYR-4 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 22 shots before stopping all 3 shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the SOW.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (31) (Sexton, Barberio), 11:39

Second Period
SYR Devos, (7) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 3:50
SYR Johnson, (37) (Brown, Cote), 5:40

Third Period
WOR Gogol, (4) (Comrie, Demelo), 6:37
WOR Hayes, (3) (Comrie, Tarasov), 8:20
WOR Tarasov, (14) , 12:26

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WOR- NONE
SYR- Sexton, Connolly, Wyman

Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

My God, they made that so much harder than it needed to be. Syracuse needed the win tonight to nail down the division title with Binghamton defeating Hershey, and they looked in good shape holding a 3-0 lead heading into the final frame against a non-playoff team. And then the bottom fell out. Thank goodness they were able to get the extra point in the skills gimmick, because if they didn't Binghamton coming to town tomorrow could've stole the division title with a regulation win.

Now tomorrow's game looks to be rather meaningless, and I wouldn't be surprised if certain key players like Mark Barberio, Connolly, and Johnson find most of their ice time given to younger players for precautionary reasons.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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