Bolt Prospects' Mike Gallimore made it out to Lightning practice today and had the chance to chat with new Bolts coach Jon Cooper. Some notes:
* Cooper said Cory Conacher's limited minutes last night weren't punitive. He thought Conacher played well and noted Cory created a couple scoring chances.
* Conacher's and Pyatt's ice time got clipped due to Cooper's decision to go heavy with a couple lines, especially Killorn-Stamkos-St. Louis.
* Cooper volunteered that - despite 89's hot start - Conacher is still an unfinished product at the NHL level.
* The Lightning did a number of situational drills today, with particular emphasis on puck retrieval and zone exits.
* Cooper noted that the team is in flux and it's going to take time, but felt the team rebounded well after first period of "throwing pucks up the wall."
* Cooper praised new Lightning prospect Andrej Sustr for his debut. He said Sustr kept earning additional shifts. Cooper was impressed with how calm Sustr played in his NHL debut.
* Cooper was excited when talking about Alex Killorn. He said it took Killorn about 10 games last year in Norfolk to figure out the pro game - and then Killorn took off.
* Cooper said Killorn has been instrumental on the top line as puck retriever for St. Louis and Stamkos.
* The team scrimmaged 4-on-4 today. Cooper said it served as a fun activity, but also that he believes in preparing thoroughly for non-5v5 situations.
Third Period collapse in Norfolk.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. So much for getting over the .900 save percentage line. No wonder the Lightning are rumored to be trying to sweet talk Bratislava into letting Jaroslav Janus come back.
SYR Connolly, (27) (Jacques), 3:51
SYR Neilson, (1) (Gauthier, Wyman), 17:07
NOR Maroon, (19) (Bonis, McMillan), 19:46
SYR Hutchings, (3) (Cote, Namestnikov), 18:59
SYR Sexton, (7) (Brown, Wyman), 0:10
NOR Smith-Pelly, (11) (McMillan), 0:50
NOR Wagner, (7) (Pelley), 2:46
NOR Maroon, (20) (Guenin, Vatanen), 8:49 (PP)
NOR Maroon, (21) (Sarault, Vatanen), 1:41 (PP)
I've said it many times, a 3 goal lead in the final frame in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. When you cough up a lead like that, it lingers like a bad stench for a while. When you cheat the reaper like Norfolk did, it can propel you.
The news is bad with Bingo and Providence winning tonight. The Crunch now are tied with the Bruins and tied in points (and in their division) with Binghamton. Rematch with Norfolk tomorrow night. 9 games are left in the regular season, and every single precious point matters now.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Famine in Zettler's debut.
Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 14 shots for the loss. That's his second 1-0 loss in recent weeks, I believe. That just stinks for a goaltender.
RCH Schofield, (7) (Girgensons, Biega), 19:18
Zettler is being assisted by Martin Raymond and ex-video coach Brian Garlock. Brian Lee made his debut for the Crunch after being sent through waivers by the Lightning. Syracuse actually outshot Rochester 38-14 in the contest.
Syracuse now heads to Norfolk for a 2 game set on Friday and Saturday. They hold a scant 1 point lead on Providence in the conference with 10 games left in the regular season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for March 27 is … Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA).
Undrafted and undersized, Tyler Johnson has been huge for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
One night after being shutout, the Syracuse Crunch were glad to be right back on the ice.
The Crunch jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, added another in the second, and held on for a 3-1 win over the Albany Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday night.
With the win, Syracuse paces the league with 86 points, two ahead of Binghamton for the Eastern Conference lead and one ahead of Texas in the Western Conference.
"We weren't going to let what happened last night happen tonight," said Syracuse forward Dan Sexton. "That's what makes good teams good -- they respond and they don't lose two in a row."