Artem Sergeev saw his opportunity and responded.
With three significant injuries to the Crunch blueline, Sergeev has thrived with increased ice time. The 20-year-old rookie defenseman has averaged close to 20 minutes a night and played in all situations, as Syracuse has gone 4-2 to snap out of a recent slide.
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, Sergeev has elevated his play in the last few weeks.
"I've really liked his physical play," Zettler said. "He's been smart. He uses his body well. He's a big, thick guy and he's strong. He's starting to understand how he can best use it to his advantage, and he's done that lately."
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forwards Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Dalton Smith from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Dana Tyrell and defenseman Matt Taormina Wednesday, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Audy-Marchessault, 5-8, 184 pounds, has played in 56 games with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League this season, recording 14 goals and 41 points. He leads the Falcons in games played, points and power play goals with seven. He ranks second for goals. Audy-Marchessault has been selected as an AHL All-Star the past two seasons. He has played in two career NHL games with Columbus, both during the 2012-13 season.
A native of Cap-Rouge, Quebec, Audy-Marchessault played four seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts from 2007-11 and was undrafted.
Smith, 6-2, 214 pounds, has played in 50 games with Springfield this season, recording four goals and nine points. He leads the Falcons with 99 penalty minutes and also led the them in 2012-13 with 128.
Even after one of the biggest performances of his young career, Kristers Gudlevskis tempered any excitement with perspective.
The Syracuse Crunch goalie made 55 saves, as Latvia nearly stunned Canada in the quarterfinals of the winter Olympics in Sochi late last month. The Herculean effort earned Gudlevskis praise worldwide.
But in his first practice back with the Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis was back to focusing on the task at hand.
"It was only one game," Gudlevskis said. "So I need to show everybody I'm really consistent every game all season long. I think only then I'm going to prove myself."
Syracuse's point streak is snapped at 6 games.
ADK Gervais, (8) (Akeson, McGinn), 1:35
ADK McGinn, (18) (Manning, Akeson), 12:31
ADK Matczak, (1) (Akeson, VandeVelde), 13:46
Syracuse sees the opportunity to get back to .500 slide by the boards. Syracuse's next game is Friday, the night after Steven Stamkos is supposed to return in Tampa Bay. Presuming Valtteri Filppula is also back for the Lightning by then, one would presume Gudlevskis may be joined by 1-2 players from the Lightning to bolster the Crunch for next weekend.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch won their fourth-straight, but they didn't make it easy.
The Crunch let a three-goal lead slip away in the third period, but converted on a power play in overtime to slip past the Adirondack Phantoms, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
Syracuse coach Rob Zettler was glad to get the two points, but believed his team shouldn't have given up four goals.
"I thought our third period was, frankly, borderline embarrassing," Zettler said. "I thought it was bad. I thought they controlled the whole third period. I thought we controlled the whole second period, and we turned around and we were completely flat in the third period."
Surging Syracuse outlasts Adirondack.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 36 shots, but got the OT victory.
SYR Tyrell, (8) (Richard), 7:25
ADK Cousins, (6) (Flanagan, Holmstrom), 17:28 (PP)
SYR Paradis, (2) (Labrie, Angelidis), 11:29
SYR Tyrell, (9) (Richard, Panik), 14:58
SYR DiSalvatore, (9) (Connolly, Paquette), 15:16
ADK Flanagan, (5) (Alderson, Alt), 8:43 (PP)
ADK Alt, (3) (Lauridsen, Bordson), 17:10
ADK McGinn, (17) (Gervais, Manning), 18:01
SYR Panik, (3) (DiSalvatore, Taormina), 1:37 (PP)
Richard Panik and Dana Tyrell were the game's first and second stars. Tonight was Panik's third straight multi-point game and he has 2 goals and 8 points over those three games. Simply put: we're starting to see the dominant version of Richard Panik re-emerge. Tanner Richard also posted back-to-back multi-point nights for the first time in his pro career.
The victory moves the Crunch back to just 1 game under the .500 mark. Unfortunately, they're 13 points out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference, as of this posting. But, if they continue to extend this 5 game streak of games where they've gotten points, who knows, they might just make this thing a little interesting before all is said and done. Tomorrow they face Adirondack again with the planned starter being Anders Lindback before he completes his conditioning stint and returns to the Lightning.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The first tests for Anders Lindback came just moments after the puck dropped.
The Tampa Bay Lightning netminder, sent to Syracuse for a weekend conditioning assignment, made a few crucial saves in the opening minutes. Once he had time to settle in, Lindback stopped a steady stream of shots in his first game since Jan. 30.
"I got a couple of good shots early on, and they came pretty hard," Lindback said. "Then it was continuous the whole game, it was an even pace, which is what you prefer."
Lindback registered a 30-save shutout in his Crunch debut, as Syracuse won its third-straight by topping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"He's huge. He takes up a lot of the net," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler of the 6-6 Swede, who is expected to make another start Sunday. "Just him going down in the butterfly takes up a lot of net. They've got to make a great shot to beat him."
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gets Lindbacked!
Anders Lindback stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout victory. I guess the ankle is feeling better.
SYR Richard, (2) (Panik, Tyrell), 2:02
SYR Taormina, (5) (Panik, Richard), 19:18
SYR Taormina, (6) (Angelidis, Paradis), 5:23
SYR Olson, (3) (Rankin, Langelier-Parent), 6:50
Richard Panik extended his point streak to 3 games with 2 goals and 7 points over that span. Tanner Richard closed February with his second multi-point game of the month and third overall this season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
After a tough overtime loss on Friday, Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler decided to shake up his lines.
The newly formed trio of Richard Panik, Vlad Namestnikov and Dana Tyrell found instant chemistry. The trio combined for four points Saturday, and added nine points in a 5-2 win over the Hershey Bears in the AHL Showcase at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Sunday.
Syracuse, which finished the weekend with five points in three games to break a recent slump, has won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-January. For Zettler, the effort has been there, but the team hasn't seen the rewards.
"Tonight I thought, from start to finish, it might have been our best hockey game," Zettler said. "The work ethic, the smarts, how to play it. It was just really good overall."
When Panik Attacks...
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Namestnikov, (15) (Panik, Tyrell), 19:22
HER Taffe, (15) (Stoa, Brouillette), 1:57 (PP)
SYR Panik, (2) (Tyrell, Namestnikov), 6:16
SYR Angelidis, (9) (Labrie, Landry), 10:32
HER Deschamps, (12) (Kolomatis, Wellman), 17:30
SYR Tyrell, (7) (Panik), 9:01
SYR DiSalvatore, (8) (Connolly, Panik), 16:38 (PP)
Richard Panik and Dana Tyrell were the game's first and second stars. The Lightning organization has been waiting 4 and a half months for Richard Panik to wake up. With 1 goal and 3 assists tonight, the young Slovakian winger may very well have finally answered the bell. Beyond that, the Crunch got contributions from all their key prospects including Namestnikov and Connolly, leading to back-to-back pastings of Hershey.
Unfortunately, it's likely too little too late for Syracuse this season. Even with the wins over the past couple of games, the team is still a full 15 points out of 8th in the Eastern Conference. With that said, though, getting back to .500 for the season and playing the role of the conference's most feared spoiler heading into the playoffs is definitely a reasonable objective for this group to achieve, and it would set them up well for a comeback next season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.