Turning point of the early season?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win. He wasn't good, and gave up a couple of questionable goals. But, the Crunch had his back in the Third Period tonight.
NOR Theodore, (2) (Wagner, Sarault), 5:47 (PP)
NOR Theodore, (3) (Winchester), 15:10 (PP)
SYR Marchessault, (5) , 6:15 (PS)
NOR Leblanc, (2) (Sarault, Kerdiles), 15:32
NOR Blacker, (1) (Steckel, O'Brien), 17:29
SYR Smith, (3) (Angelidis, Koekkoek), 3:51
SYR Gourde, (1) (Richard), 4:32
SYR Smith, (4) (Cote, Blujus), 14:38
SYR Gourde, (2) (Richard, Paradis), 15:23
Yanni Gourde, Dalton Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault were the game's three stars. Gourde gets the monkey off his back in a big way after not potting a goal all season by getting 2, including the game winner.
Being down 3 goals in the Third Period in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. Teams in that position seem to lose 98-99% of the time. It's a rare and sometimes galvanizing thing if a team can come back against those odds, and a hugely demoralizing thing to the team that blows that kind of lead. So, for Syracuse to overcome those odds tonight is no small thing, and is likely to give them some momentum as a team that they can carry forward from here on out into the season. Big, big win.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the role Tanner Richard played in the comeback, as the next wave of Lightning prospects starts to step it up.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Jonathan Marchessault tallied up the time.
A three hour flight to Minnesota, two hours back to Boston, and another hour and a half drive to Springfield. The three-day excursion was a little more straining on his body than the usual call-up, but the Syracuse Crunch forward was happy to make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut, even if it was just one game.
"It was a helluva ride, but I think it was good for me," Marchessault said. "It was a positive to get called up."
Weekend ends with a clunker.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. Despite the setback, he still sports a respectable .912 save percentage for the season.
SPR Madaisky, (1) (Gibbons), 0:19
SPR Collins, (1) (Gibbons, Craig), 4:00 (PP)
SPR Rychel, (2) (Sedlak, Collins), 8:32
SPR Tynan, (1) (Labrie, Anderson), 13:32
SYR Vermin, (2) (Blunden, Marchessault), 2:32
SPR Monardo, (5) , 7:19
Playing 3 games in less than 72 hours is hard enough. Doing so with your entire roster in flux the whole time makes it nearly impossible to have anything resembling continuity or consistency. It's a reality of minor league hockey when you have a rash of injuries up top, and that's what bit Syracuse this weekend. Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault, for their parts, did assist on Syracuse's lone goal, fresh off the plane from Minnesota.
Syracuse heads home to face Binghamton on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Bad goaltending and bad habits come home to roost.
Evgeni Nabokov allowed 4 goals on 8 shots for the loss before giving way to Ben Bishop, who allowed 3 on 14 shots the rest of the way. Nabby allowed 2 short-side softies and and small, weak effort on a player swinging in wide from the wing before being lifted. Terrible.
7:37 MIN Scandella (1), (Pominville, Parise)
8:16 MIN Koivu (1), (Vanek)
11:04 TB Stralman (1), (Brewer, Johnson)
12:41 MIN Haula (1), (Niederreiter)
17:15 MIN Zucker (3), (Cooke, Carter)
2:11 MIN Parise (3), (Pominville, Suter)
11:12 MIN Spurgeon (2), (Vanek, Coyle)
16:50 TB Kucherov (1), (Stralman)
13:44 MIN Zucker (4), (Scandella)(SH)
The deck was pretty well stacked against the Lightning to start with playing at the end of a grueling road trip on a back-to-back against a quality opponent with a makeshift lineup due to multiple injuries. When Nabby gave up what I would consider to be 2.5 soft goals, those were the straws that broke the camel's back. Your veteran backup's got to be better than that. He doesn't have to win the game for you, but he's got to allow you to keep contact and give your team a chance to manufacture a point or two. Minnesota didn't exactly light the world on fire with a 22 shot effort, and once Nabby was lifted, 2 of their goals came off plays where the Lightning were taking chances because the score was so lopsided. In other words, it would've been a very different game if Nabby had made the stops in the First Period he was supposed to.
The Lightning return home for the final game of this first 10 game segment of the season needing 1 more point to hit the 12 you want them to get from each segment.
Cedric Paquette was -1 with 1 blocked shot and he was 75% on draws in 13:57.
Jonathan Drouin was -2 in 19:10. Ineffective, and he might've worn the second largest set of goat horns in the game on a weak turnover behind the Lightning net that killed the team's momentum after closing the game to 2-1 and Gudas nearly tying it with a point shot off the post. Drouin's turnover ends up behind Nabby and it's 3-1 Wild. The rest was history.
Jonathan Marchessault was -1 with 1 shot in 12:33.
Vladislav Namestnikov was -2 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 12:27. He was also 25% on draws and took an elbow to the mush that cost him a few shifts. Rough night, although I can't fault him for the two minuses he was on the ice for.
Legends were born tonight in Syracuse, New York.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for his first professional victory in North America.
SYR Marchessault, (1) (Cote, Blujus), 8:44
SPR Tyrell, (1) (Madaisky, Sedlak), 15:45
SPR Monardo, (1) (Sifers, Madaisky), 3:53
SYR Paquette, (3) (Marchessault, Kunyk), 18:51
SYR Drouin, (1) , 7:18
I envy the folks who were in the arena tonight. Not only did they get to witness the first North American pro win by Vasilevskiy, but the first pro point by one of the truly great young players in the game. A future immortal. A young man who needs no introduction. 50 years ago when they recount this night to their grandchildren, and they will, they'll speak his name with the hushed reverence it deserves...
But, seriously. We love Blujus here at Bolt Prospects, and we love Vasilevskiy, but all that was overshadowed by the professional debut of Jonathan Drouin, who lived up to his billing. He was +3. He was dangerous all night in helping to tilt the ice in Syracuse's favor. And, of course, he scored the game winner on a partial break that began with a quick little defensive play in his own end and was completed with a top shelf, cookie jar breaking shot.
Syracuse gets Binghamton tomorrow night as the Jonny (Jouer au) Hockey road show continues on its short run in the AHL.
Box score from TheAHL.com.