Ritola, Mattias

NHL Game Night: 3/5/11 Canadiens at Lightning

Pretty ugly first 40 minutes.

MTL-4
TB-2

Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 23 shots tonight. He was as off as most of the rest of the team tonight.

First Period
05:27 MTL Gill (2), Gionta (12), Plekanec (30)
08:41 MTL Desharnais (8), Kostitsyn (21)(PP)

Second Period
01:25 TB Moore (12), Kubina (19), Purcell (26)(PP)
14:05 MTL Pacioretty (13), Plekanec (31), Subban (22)(PP)

Third Period
01:18 MTL Pacioretty (14), Gomez (25)
14:07 TB Lecavalier (16), Moore (12), Purcell (27)

Dominic Moore was outstanding. Sean Bergenheim was outstanding. Most of the rest you could load in a cannon and shoot to the moon for the way they played for the first 2 periods tonight. The silver lining was a well played third period where they outshot Montreal 15-5, but it shouldn't take falling behind 3 goals to find an extra gear.

Marc-Andre Bergeron needs to sit. Someone needs to pay for how this PP is playing right now.

Mattias Ritola was -1 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 12:23. He's come back from Norfolk with a lot more tenacity in the physical game. I hope he keeps it up. With injuries, the more depth the Lightning have in the playoffs the better.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3/3/11 Lightning at Bruins

Much more entertaining than last night... but the same result.

TB-1
BOS-2

Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the loss. It's a shame. He played well in his first start since being recalled.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
04:04 TB Brewer (9), B. Jones (2), Downie (20)
06:06 BOS Kampfer (5), Kelly (13), Peverley (21)

Third Period
16:18 BOS Lucic (28), Krejci (39), Horton (24)

It's a disappointing result because the Lightning had so much stacked against them with Smith in net and Lecavalier out hurt and they still performed so well. But's it's a disappointing result with a silver lining for the resiliency the club showed. I feel like I learned something valuable about the team's character tonight, and I really liked what I saw.

Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:19. Holy cow, what did they sprinkle on Ritola's cereal this morning? He threw a colossal hit and actually did some board work tonight. Nice.

Blair Jones had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 9:33. He skated well and he played hard. He also got popped pretty hard a couple of times, but he looked good. I really believe this guy would be an NHLer if the Lightning weren't so deep at forward right now. He really has the makeup of a pretty good fourth line soldier.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Ritola, Jones Re-join Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forwards Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Ritola, 6-foot, 192 pounds, has appeared in a NHL career-high 24 games this season with the Lightning, recording career-bests with two goals, four assists and six points. He was reassigned to Norfolk on February 9. Since then he has registered two goals and 11 points with a plus-4 rating in nine games with the Admirals. Of his nine contests, five of them were multi-point games.

AHL Game Night: 3/2/11 Bears at Admirals

It was Bear hunting season tonight at Scope.

HER-1
NOR-6

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the win. With Curtis McElhinney plucked away by Ottawa on waivers, the number one job in Norfolk is now Tokarski's, unless Cedrick Desjardins finds a way to return from injury. Tonight was a good opening statement for Tic.

First Period
HER Pinizzotto, (16) (Willsie, Greentree), 7:44
NOR Ritola, (1) (Fornataro, Tokarski), 12:51

Second Period
NOR Jones, (19) (Vernace, Szczechura), 9:05 (PP)
NOR Jones, (20) (Pouliot, Milam), 9:41
NOR Pouliot, (18) (Milam, Harju), 19:55 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Durno, (15) (Angelidis, Wright), 0:32
NOR Ritola, (2) (Pouliot, Gudas), 13:17

Blair Jones, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, and Mattias Ritola were the game's three stars. Jones became the first Admiral to hit 20 goals this season, matching his career high set two years ago. Difference is: his 20 goals in 2008-2009 came in 80 games and was largely the product of Jones playing a lot of point on the power play. He reached that threshold in 47 games this season and has developed into a far more well-rounded player. Ritola scored his first 2 goals as an Admiral and now has 11 points in his first 9 games with the club.

With Chris Durno scoring his 15th goal tonight, the Admirals now have 6 players with 15 or more goals: Pouliot, Jones, Johan Harju, Matt Fornataro, Durno, and Mike Angelidis. Entering the year, it appeared the formula for success in Norfolk would involve having multiple scorers chasing around 20 goals without pure snipers like the departed Brandon Bochenski. It certainly appears that formula has been followed so far.

With the win, Norfolk seized 4th in the East Division outright over Binghamton by 2 points, while still holding 1 game in hand. They also burned a game in hand on Charlotte and are now 3 points back of 3rd place with 2 games in hand. They're also now 7 points back of the Bears for 2nd place with 2 games in hand. In the crossover, Norfolk holds an 8 point advantage on the Atlantic's 4th place team, Worcester.

There are 20 games left in the regular season. Norfolk next faces Albany on the road on Friday. They'll face the Bears again this weekend (Saturday) in Hershey and finishes out the week in Binghamton on Sunday. With three games in three nights, it will be interesting to see if and when Coach Cooper starts Jaroslav Janus.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/12/11 Crunch at Admirals

Norfolk's goaltenders and defense hold Syracuse to zero for the weekend.

SYR-0
NOR-4

Dustin Tokarski stopped all 19 shots he faced for the shutout. It's Tokarski's 1st shutout of the season after posting 4 a year ago, and it comes one night after Mike Smith blanked Syracuse 3-0.

First Period
NOR Jones, (16) (Ritola), 14:30
NOR Pouliot, (15) (Ritola, Vernace), 16:12 (PP)
NOR Barberio, (5) (Szczechura, Durno), 19:55

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Milam, (10) (Berry, Vernace), 19:04 (PP)

Tokarski, Mattias Ritola, and Blair Jones were the game's three stars. Ritola has 2 assists in each of his first 2 games as an Admiral. Jones has points in 6 of his last 7 contests.

Stat of the game: through 40 minutes the Admirals had only allowed the Syracuse Crunch 6 shots on goal: 3 in the first period and 3 in the second period. Norfolk showed up this weekend ready to play in their own 3rd of the rink, and to hold any professional team to 3 shots in a period is remarkable. To do it for 2 periods in a row is absolutely absurd, though.

Tonight's schedule saw intra-divisional games across the board in the East Division with Binghamton beating Hershey, Norfolk beating Syracuse, and Adirondack taking out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Also, Charlotte currently is tied late in the third period with Albany. So the state of play in the East Division has Norfolk maintaining its 5 point lead on 5th place Binghamton, moving to within 5 points of 2nd place Hershey, and temporarily opening up a 2 point lead on 3rd place Charlotte, pending the outcome of their game against Albany. 27 games remain on the regular season schedule and points are at a premium already.

Update:
Albany beats Charlotte 4-3 in OT, so the Admirals now hold 3rd place in the East Division outright, by 1 solitary point.

Hershey travels to Norfolk Tuesday to play the Admirals, and a regulation win over the Bears can shrink Hershey's advantage in the standings to a scant 3 points. Norfolk needs that game in the worst way.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/11/11 Crunch at Admirals

It was the Smitty and Ritola show!

SYR-0
NOR-3

Mike Smith stopped all 29 shots he faced for the shutout.

First Period
NOR Durno, (14) , 6:32 (SH)

Second Period
NOR Milam, (9) (Ritola, Vernace), 18:14 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Pouliot, (14) (Ritola, Roy), 14:00

Smith, Chris Durno, and Troy Milam were the game's three stars.

Mattias Ritola had a pair of helpers in his Admirals debut.

It's a critical victory for Norfolk, which moves back into a tie with Charlotte at 63 points for third in the East Division. They also maintained their gap on fifth place Binghamton of 5 points. 28 games remain in the regular season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Ritola Clears Waivers; Assigned to Norfolk

TSN and the St. Pete Times are reporting Lightning prospect Mattias Ritola has cleared waivers. Despite injuries to Lightning forwards Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson, Ritola was assigned to AHL Norfolk late in the day.

The Times' Damian Cristodero wrote today that Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said "We just need [Ritola] to play games."

Ritola, who has battled Meneiere's disease all season, has played 24 games with the Lightning and has frequently been a healthy scratch so coach Guy Boucher can dress seven defensemen. Ritola, who displays good offensive ability but has been suspect along the walls, has two goals and six points with Tampa Bay.

He was acquired off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings in September. With Ritola clearing waivers today, it's obvious the Wings did not want him back as they have the choice to reclaim him and place him with their AHL affiliate.

By joining Norfolk, Ritola will provide an offensive spark to a club that appears to have hit a wall.

NHL Game Day: 1/23/11 Thrashers at Lightning

11 straight wins over Atlanta, and a sweep to boot!

ATL-1
TB-7

Dwayne Roloson spoiled his own shutout by allowing a late softie. He stopped 21 of 22 for the win.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
00:14 TB Thompson (7), unassisted(SH)
01:56 TB Tyrell (5), Moore (9), Kubina (16)
05:39 TB Stamkos (38), St Louis (40), Lundin (9)
10:05 TB St Louis (20), Downie (17)
17:40 TB Gagne (7), Lecavalier (14), Purcell (19)

Third Period
05:32 TB Kubina (3), Purcell (20)
10:56 TB Gagne (8), Lecavalier (15), Purcell (21)(PP)
15:57 ATL Peverley (13), Bergfors (17)

Simon Gagne, Teddy Purcell, and Pavel Kubina were the game's three stars.

It's nice to be on the right side of one of these blowouts, for a change. The Lightning cut their goal differential for the season from a -8 to a -2, with eleven games left in this homestand. That's looking up, all of a sudden.

You know the rest of the Eastern Conference is going to be deeply unhappy to see the Gagne/Lecavalier line having a multi-point explosion like this when they look at tonight's scoresheet. If Gagne and Lecavalier get going on this homestand and carry it through to the postseason, the Lightning are going to be one of the two toughest outs come the playoffs in the East.

Mattias Ritola had 3 shots in 12:12. There was some discussion on the message board who the Lightning's new human victory cigar is in blowouts. It used to be Andre Roy. I'm voting for Ritola, now.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1/15/11 Lightning at Hurricanes

Frustration in Carolina.

TB-4
CAR-6

Dwayne Roloson allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
01:44 TB Stamkos (33), Downie (15), Kubina (13)
04:42 CAR LaRose (8), Corvo (14), Cole (11)(PP)
17:23 CAR Skinner (16), Ruutu (24), White (10)
19:37 TB Lecavalier (8), St Louis (37), Malone (22)

Second Period
01:02 TB Gagne (5), Stamkos (28), Hedman (15)
04:19 CAR McBain (2), Jokinen (23), Staal (23)(PP)
06:31 CAR Jokinen (9), Samsonov (11), Skinner (20)(PP)
12:51 CAR Staal (22), Cole (12)(SH)

Third Period
11:05 TB Gagne (6), unassisted
19:53 CAR Jokinen (10), Staal (24), Cole (13)(PP)(EN)

Special teams was a nightmare this weekend. Carolina ends up 4-for-5 on the power play on the night. When you allow a team to go 80% on the power play, you have no chance. When you give up a shorthanded goal to boot, you're really in trouble. I can only hope that when Marc-Andre Bergeron joins the team in a few weeks, he'll help correct the epidemic of shorthanded goals the club has suffered from all season with their five forward power play alignment.

Mattias Ritola had 2 shots in 11:21.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 1/9/11 Lightning at Devils

The Lightning implode in the third period on the short turnaround in back-to-back games.

TB-3
NJ-6

Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 24 shots in the loss. He had his opportunity to step up and carry his team over the finish line in the third period, and couldn't do it.

First Period
02:36 TB Purcell (7), Ritola (4), Downie (13)
05:55 NJ Clarkson (6), Sestito (1), Pelley (2)
16:01 TB Malone (11), Lecavalier (11), St Louis (35)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
04:14 NJ Clarkson (7), Kovalchuk (12), Elias (20)(PP)
07:52 NJ Arnott (10), Tallinder (4), Zharkov (1)
14:06 NJ Zubrus (6), Rolston (4), Elias (21)
18:45 NJ Elias (9), Rolston (5)(EN)
19:08 TB Moore (7), Hall (5), Ohlund (5)
19:46 NJ Palmieri (1), Kovalchuk (13), Brodeur (1)(EN)

It's a bad loss. New Jersey is the worst team in the East this season, by far, and the Lightning couldn't put them away in the first 40 minutes when they had a chance. They've got Jersey on the schedule quite a bit in the second half, so that's a mistake they can't repeat down the road.

Mattias Ritola had a helper and 2 penalty minutes in 8:07.

Dana Tyrell was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:48. Tyrell's next game will be his 41st of the season, which will graduate him from prospect status on BoltProspects. So, 1/12 against the Capitals will likely be a day of congratulations for young Mr. Tyrell.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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