Sustr, Andrej

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-21-13 Lightning at Panthers

The big boys help keep the Lightning perfect in the preseason.

TB-5
FLA-4 (SO)

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 29 shots, but did stop 3 of 3 for the shootout "W".

First Period
3:08 TB Malone, (Hedman, Stamkos)
10:34 TB St Louis, (Stamkos, Purcell)(PP)

Second Period
9:40 FLA Gudbranson, (Kulikov)(PP)
11:15 TB Brown, (Salo)
12:10 FLA Kulikov, (Gilbert, Kopecky)(PP)

Third Period
4:14 FLA Butler, (Kopecky, Trocheck)
12:35 TB Stamkos, (Carle)
19:02 FLA Butler, (Gudbranson, Kulikov)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Droin
FLA- NONE

Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone were the game's first and second stars.

Rightfully, youngsters like Brett Connolly have been getting a lot of attention for their play in camp and preseason. Tonight was a reminder that, oh yeah, #91 is still the cat's pajamas. Shaky goaltending from Bishop does merit some concern, but sitting at 4-0-0 in the preseason is nice no matter how you slice it.

Now that the Lightning have run their 4 games in 4 nights gauntlet and made their first two rounds of cuts, the roster is starting to crystalize. Tonight was an opportunity to evaluate, in particular, a bubble player like Dana Tyrell, who got 16:10 of ice time. There's still another round of preseason games to go next week, so nothing is set in stone, but if the roster had to be finalized tonight, I think the team would have some painful decisions to make. Here's how I might set the 23-man roster and lines:

Malone/Stamkos/St. Louis
Killorn/Filppula/Purcell
Palat/Johnson/Panik
Pyatt/Thompson/Crombeen
Labrie/Connolly

Hedman/Salo
Carle/Gudas
Brewer/Aulie
Barberio

Bishop
Lindback

I have a hard time seeing Jonathan Drouin's spot on the team right now given how well Palat, Johnson, Panik, and Connolly have played. It's not that he couldn't play in the NHL this season, it's that there may not be any need to rush him into the show with so many other young players looking ready to step up. There's still a batch of games next week, so there's certainly time for Drouin to make a more definitive statement, but right now I think he's lagging those four other prospects. A veteran like Tyrell also looks to be on the outside looking in.

On defense, waiver eligibility and contractual particulars mean Andrej Sustr would probably have to lap Aulie and Barberio to make it to opening night. No, not beat them by a few car lengths. He'd have to lap them to make it. My guess is the Lightning will roll with that seven in the first half and hope they can do the job. If they can't, they have a more seasoned Sustr as an option to call up and perhaps a healed Brian Lee to give a shot to, as well. If they're in the hunt around the deadline, defense is obviously where Yzerman's attention is probably going to go to.

Of course, one injury here or there completely upsets the apple cart, which is why I should emphasize that there's still time in the process. A week can be an eternity at this time of year.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-13 Lightning at Blues

The most impressive win of the preseason.

TB-4
STL-3

Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 15 shots for the win before giving way to Anders Lindback, who allowed 2 goals on 15 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
7:31 TB Sergeev, (Filppula )(PP)
15:25 STL Steen, (Backes)

Second Period
14:10 TB Connolly, (Filppula, Killorn)
15:12 STL Shattock, (unassisted)
15:59 TB Palat, (Johnson, Panik)

Third Period
05:39 TB Labrie, (Filppula , Brewer)
07:28 STL Oshie, (Bouwmeester)

You don't want to overblow the importance of this game. It was, after all, a preseason game. But, in fairness, St. Louis pretty much iced their NHL side and the Lightning iced their third and fourth lines and a whole lot of prospect defensemen. To pull off the victory is an impressive case of a team fighting above its weight class, and at 3-0-0 so far in the preseason we're seeing, perhaps, that a different culture is rising up.

If you follow the ice time tonight, it was Mark Barberio's big showcase, garnering 22:22 in the match to lead all Lightning defensemen. Barberio was even on the night against, pretty much, the top weapons of a pretty good playoff team, so that's not a bad showing on paper for the young d-man. It's probably the minimum he needed to make sure he kept the upper hand in the fight for one of the last 2 defenseman spots on the roster. Artem Sergeev, surprisingly, also topped the 20 minute mark at 20:24, besting both of his Eastern European Soul Machine bandmates, Dmitry Korobov and the soulful Andrej Sustr.

Up front, the Lightning again got production and solid play from Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Richard Panik. These four, honestly, may be giving the Lightning the luxury of being able to take their time with young Jonathan Drouin. And, certainly, the Lightning have to be pleased with their $5M per investment, Filppula, getting helpers in triplicate against what really amounts to the Blues' opening night d-corps and goaltender.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-19-13 Lightning at Predators

The kids at forward stake their claim.

TB-5
NSH-1

Riku Helenius was perfect on 15 shots before giving way to Cedrick Desjardins, who allowed 1 goal on 17 shots the rest of the way. It's a good showing for the potential tandem for Syracuse this season.

First Period
5:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman)
6:51 TB Palat, (unassisted)

Second Period
6:44 TB Stamkos, (Malone, Witkowski)
18:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman, Sustr)

Third Period
0:46 NSH Cullen, (unassisted)(SH)
2:03 TB Panik, (Kucherov, Taormina)(PP)

Brett Connolly, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. Connolly also scored in a big scrimmage earlier in preseason to draw the praise of Jon Cooper and with Connolly and the PTP line (Palat, Johnson, and Panik) all playing well the roster calculus gets very interesting.

In particular, note Jonathan Drouin only got 12:23 of ice time tonight. Follow the ice time in these games, because it will tell you who the club is looking at and who is earning a little longer look. For instance, note Andrej Sustr with over 20 minutes of ice time, which was almost 4 minutes more than Keith Aulie. Interesting stuff.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

AHL Calder Cup Finals Game Night: 6-18-13 Griffins at Crunch

All good things...

GR-5
SYR-2

Grand Rapids Wins the Series 4-2
Grand Rapids Wins the Calder Cup

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 23 shots in a game that encapsulated the Finals for Desjardins. Brilliant at times, he allowed a goal through him on the eventual game winner by Evans that he surely wishes he had back. It will be interesting to see how Julien BriseBois retools between the pipes for next season, because you can make the argument the difference between Desjardins and Mrazek was, in large part, the difference between champion and runner-up.

First Period
SYR Panik, (9) (Taormina, Palat), 17:15

Second Period
GR Callahan, (6) (Ferraro, Grant), 2:23
GR Tatar, (15) (Nyquist, Ferraro), 12:41 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Sustr, (2) (Namestnikov, Devos), 5:14
GR Evans, (2) (Callahan, Sheahan), 9:54
GR Tatar, (16) (Andersson, Nyquist), 19:11 (EN/PP)
GR Andersson, (3) (Glendening), 19:54 (EN)

I think Lightning fans everywhere, even with the bitterness of this defeat, need to start by saying, "thank you" to this group of players. The team we've referred to as "SyraNo" on this site, which won a championship in Norfolk last year and almost did again this year with Syracuse has been one of the best groups of players ever to take the ice together in the AHL. A lot of these guys, like Radko Gudas who returned tonight from injury, are ticketed for the NHL next year. Others, some of the really veteran guys, may move on in the offseason. So, this group of guys will never be together again, but we should tip our hat to them for two years of sustained brilliance the likes of which we're unlikely to see again anytime soon.

As for the young prospects who will likely return to Syracuse next season, I found myself highly impressed with Vladislav Namestnikov and Andrej Sustr, both of whom got stronger as the playoffs wore on. Namestnikov is a legit threat to be an AHL All-Star next season, if not more, with his wizardry with the puck and Sustr is something rare and interesting in pro hockey. You have to put aside the fact Andrej is 6'8", because he refuses to play to type. He's not a bone crunching stay-at-homer, and there's a lot of times he looks like a forward with his ability to read the play offensively and jump into the action. His feed to Tyler Johnson in the slot in the Third Period tonight was an incredible bit of vision that I think stunned TJ a bit, and darned near got Syracuse the key goal they needed in the final frame. That's after he tied the game once in the final period with an absolute bullet from the point. These two guys will be fun to watch develop next season.

Ondrej Palat finishes the playoffs as the AHL leader in postseason scoring. Well done, Mr. Palat.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-9-13 Crunch at Monsters

Oh so close to getting the 2 points in the final road game of the season.

SYR-4
LE-5 (OT)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the loss. Yuck.

First Period
LE Thomas, (22) (Hishon, Lauridsen), 4:13
SYR Sexton, (8) (Palat, Richard), 18:28

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (6) (Sustr, Korobov), 10:50 (PP)
LE Connolly, (9) (Thomas, Beaupre), 14:14
LE Vincour, (15) (Pock, Sullivan), 18:34 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Sustr, (1) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 2:03 (PP)
SYR Devos, (6) (Brown, Taormina), 3:26
LE Vincour, (16) (Hishon, Carey), 9:42

Overtime
LE Agozzino, (19) (Walker, Pock), 2:49

Ondrej Palat got the extremely rare penalty shot in Overtime, but failed to convert against Lake Erie netminder Kent Patterson.

Congratulations to Andrej Sustr on his first pro point, first pro goal, and first pro multi-point game.

Tanner Richard got a helper. In related news, water is wet.

Syracuse is now 3 points back of Providence and 1 points back of Springfield in the conference and 3 points ahead of Binghamton in the division. They head home for a hugely important 5 game homestand to finish the regular season. With Ryan Malone back for Tampa Bay, might Coach Zettler get back one of his star players for the kick at the finish line?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Syndicate content