Welch, Noah

NHL Game Night 3/31: Lightning at Bruins

The Lightning's forecheck officially belongs on a milk carton.

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BOS-3

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 39 shots in the loss. He rebounded from a couple of puck handling errors and was otherwise very solid. The Lightning have a tough decision to make with McKenna. Ordinarily, you would want a veteran #3 goaltender like McKenna in your organization. But, it will be very tough for the Lightning to send Riku Helenius or Dustin Tokarski down to the Coast if they do re-sign McKenna.

First Period
14:03 BOS Wheeler (20), (Savard)

Second Period
06:56 BOS Chara (17), (Bergeron, Krejci)(PP)
13:35 BOS Kobasew (20), (Chara, Krejci)(PP)

Third Period
12:07 TB Stamkos (20), (Malone, Lashoff)

Other than Stammer's 20th of the season tonight, there's not a whole lot to be excited about from the past couple of games.

Noah Welch had 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 11:34.

Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 hits in 20:30. Good to have the big guy back. I thought he moved pretty well tonight after sitting out the game against Ottawa.

Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 10:55.

Richard Petiot was +1 with 7 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 5 hits in 19:42.

Matt Lashoff had 1 assist and was +1 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 21:41. There were one or two plays tonight where Lashoff made plays that are hopefully indicative of the way his game is going to evolve next season: playing the proper angle defensively and then cancelling out the opposing forward physically. I'm just guessing he had a little extra juice playing against his old organization, but if he can do that consistently, he's going to be a stud defenseman in this league. The offense is there (6 assists in 8 games so far with the Lightning). If his defensive game rounds out, he's going to be every bit as good as Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/29: Senators at Lightning

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Ottawa's first goal was a short side shot you could fault him for, but otherwise he was solid. He got no offensive support and the refs decided to throw the shaft in at the end to wreck his stats by giving Ottawa a freebee 5-on-3.

First Period
09:45 OTT Heatley (35), (Fisher)(PP)
13:44 OTT Shannon (8), (unassisted)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
16:41 OTT Spezza (30), (Alfredsson, Kuba)(PP)

Ottawa took a string of penalties early in the Second Period that were a hand engraved invitation to get back in the game that the Lightning refused to RSVP. At even strength, the Lightning just couldn't get in behind the Ottawa defense to get any forecheck generated. That's a big part of why they only had an anemic 17 hits on the game.

Noah Welch had 2 blocked shots in 18:21.

David Koci had 2 penalty minutes in 12:40. Get well soon, Matt Smaby.

Martins Karsums had 2 hits in 10:36.

Richard Petiot had 1 blocked shot in 23:33.

Matt Lashoff was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 blocked shots in 22:49. He scored a beautiful goal banking a puck in off of the back of the goaltender's pads. Unfortunately, that goalie was Karri Ramo.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/27: Lightning at Capitals

A valiant comeback comes up short.

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Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 38 shots in the loss. He held the team in once the Caps got to three and gave them a chance to get back even. No complaints from me.

First Period
06:49 WSH Ovechkin (52), (Backstrom, Laich)(PP)
11:17 WSH Backstrom (20), (Ovechkin, Green)(PP)
15:48 TB St. Louis (29), (Pettinger, Lashoff)
19:38 WSH Backstrom (21), (Green, Ovechkin)(PP)

Second Period
19:06 TB Stamkos (19), (Malone, St. Louis)

Third Period
02:59 TB Prospal (19), (St. Louis)
04:30 WSH Pothier (1), (Laich, Aucoin)
19:53 WSH Ovechkin (53), (Laich)(EN)

The Lightning's penalty kill has been absolutely attrocious in the second half of the season. I suppose it's a combination of losing their most mobile defensemen on the backline and losing Smitty. Still, one thing I'd like to see next season is Tocchet giving Stamkos some PK time. He skates so well, I think he'll quite a bit of pressure on the opposing point men.

Noah Welch was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:44. His ice time in a game where one of the other d-men went out injured speaks volumes about what the coaching staff thinks of him. I think that of him too.

Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 8:01. He left the game after suffering a "lower body injury." The young man's been playing on a bad wheel for quite some time. Hopefully he'll get back quickly. He's just 4 games from graduating from prospect status here on BP.

David Koci had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 5:35. No shots, no kills.

Martins Karsums had 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:49. He does nothing for me.

Richard Petiot managed, somehow, to land the big +3 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 21:49.

Matt Lashoff got his first even strength assist, 4 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 24:01. I'd like to see him take better angles in his own end. I think it would keep him from taking so many minor penalties.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/26: Lightning at Canadiens

The Lightning stole a point they didn't deserve.

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MTL-3 (OT)

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the overtime loss. The 13 save second period he put on was the kind of mind-bending play that he used to display regularly as a rookie with Springfield in the AHL a couple of seasons back. Can you critique the goals he allowed? Sure. His mechanics were awkward on Montreal's first goal and he was completely out of his sorts on the Latendresse wraparaound goal. That said, the Lightning would've lost this game 7-2 easily without Ramo's play tonight. It wasn't just the saves: it was deflection save after deflection save. The athleticism is absolutely undeniable, and if you project Karri to, say, Mike Smith's age, you start to understand why the Lightning have so much hope tied up in the young man. He has gotten points in each of his last six starts, which is somewhat phenomenal given the defensive corps (corpse may be more accurate) assembled in front of him.

First Period
11:09 MTL Kovalev (20), (Tanguay, Schneider)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
05:48 MTL Latendresse (12), (Kostopoulos, Markov)
10:26 TB Koci (1), (Hall, Craig)
14:43 TB Krajicek (2), (unassisted)

Overtime
01:45 MTL Koivu (15), (Markov, Plekanec)

The first 40 minutes of this game were, other than Ramo, an embarassment for the Lightning. Were it not for the fact that the team has to play in Washington tomorrow night, a bag skate might still be in order, whether they stole a point late or not.

Noah Welch was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 11:33.

Matt Smaby was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 5 blocked shots in 23:34.

David Koci scored his first NHL goal and was +1 in 4:06. Call him the sniper: one shot one kill. He practically leapt right out of his skates when he realized what he had done.

Martins Karsums had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:37.

Richard Petiot was -1 with 4 penalty minutes, 4 hits, and 5 blocked shots.

Matt Lashoff was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/24: Blue Jackets at Lightning

Great ending to a horrifically boring game.

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CBS-1 (OT)

Mike McKenna was very strong stopping 33 of 34 shots for the win.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
04:21 CBJ Hejda (3), (Williams)
10:55 TB Malone (25), (Lashoff, Stamkos)(PP)

Overtime
03:04 TB St. Louis (28), (Stamkos, Petiot)

These two teams should be banned from playing games against each other. Fortunately, they rarely hook up. However, rarely should be reduced to never, ever, because they historically produce some of the biggest snoozers.

Good to see Steven Stamkos with a pair of helpers to continue his robust late season charge. He's now over a point a game in his last 17 contests.

The Lightning are playing themselves out of the opportunity to draft John Tavares or Victor Hedman. It brings up some interesting philosophical debates if they pick third or fourth? Take big Jared Cowen, who is a man child but is rehabbing a knee? Take the speedy Matt Duchene or Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson? Or sacrifice some burst for grit and character with Evander Kane? This is where I'm glad I'm not a scout whose livelihood depends on making the right choice. One or two in this draft is easy. Three or four is several sleepless nights and several heartfelt conversations pleading with the deity of your choosing.

Noah Welch played 14:38 in the game. He didn't break anything.

Matt Smaby had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 23:56. That's the line I'd like to see with Matt. He would've been +1 were it not for a bad bounce off of him and in for Columbus' lone goal. Team leading IT for big 32.

David Koci had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 8:07, as a winger, where he needs to be.

Martins Karsums had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:23. He's drawn a good card playing with Lecavalier and Prospal at even strength, but he's done squat with it so far.

Richard Petiot had 1 assist and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 21:06.

Matt Lashoff had yet another power play assist, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 23:49. The Lashoff trade continues to pay off like the loosest slot machines on the Vegas Strip. The hand wringing about the Lightning having to turn the power play over from Murphy to Lashoff a week ago is a distant, somewhat laughable memory.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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