Still riding in first place.
SYR Devos, (5) (Gauthier, Taormina), 2:01
Philip-Michael Devos, Desjardins, and J.P. Cote were the game's three stars.
Syracuse expands their Eastern Conference lead to 3 points over the Providence Bruins with Providence holding 1 game in hand. They'll also move 1 point ahead of the Texas Stars for the best record in the league, as well. They draw Hamilton next on Friday with 13 games remaining in the regular season. It's going to be a nail biter for Syracuse as they chase the conference crown.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
With five of its top 10 scorers out of the lineup, the Syracuse Crunch still made due.
Brett Connolly registered a pair of goals and assists and 12 Crunch players showed up on the scoresheet -- including four with multiple points -- as Syracuse routed the Albany Devils, 6-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday night.
"It's one of those nights, everything was going well and we got a little lucky," Connolly said.
The league-leading Crunch, who had AHL points leader Tyler Johnson called up earlier in the week, have registered a point in four straight games.
Jon Cooper? Still Jedi.
Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory.
SYR Connolly, (25) (Namestnikov, Devos), 6:08
SYR Cote, (2) (Angelidis, Nightingale), 6:38
SYR Panik, (22) (Connolly, Sexton), 10:38 (PP)
SYR Brown, (9) (Angelidis, Mikkelson), 7:22
SYR Devos, (4) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 9:11
SYR Connolly, (26) (Barberio, Oberg), 9:57 (PP)
ALB Kelly, (2) (Wohlberg), 8:00
ALB Whitney, (22) (Zalewski, Anderson), 12:38
With Tyler Johnson up in Tampa, Connolly becomes the Crunch's hope for hardware and plaudits. He currently sits in 3rd in the league in scoring, 4 points back of Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist. His 26 goals are also now tied for 5th is the AHL.
Vladdy Namestnikov continuing to play well continues to bode very well for the future.
As good a coaching job as Jon Cooper did last season, if he wins the Eastern Conference and even manages to post the best record in the AHL this season, it'll be an even more amazing job. It's hard to believe that with half of his team's core torturing the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa, Cooper's team still managed to fly out to a 6-0 lead in Albany. He's a special coach. I can't say anything more and still do it justice.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Shootout in Syracuse.
Cedrick Desjardins was back with the Crunch tonight and stopped 34 of 37 before allowing 1 of 4 to convert in the shootout session to take the SO Loss.
SYR Namestnikov, (4) (Devos, Barberio), 1:43
NOR Wilson, (6) (Brittain, Guenin), 5:55
NOR Wagner, (5) , 11:14
NOR Brittain, (10) (Clark, Lindholm), 6:23
SYR Nightingale, (2) (Angelidis, Namestnikov), 7:19
SYR Angelidis, (10) (Taormina, Barberio), 19:40
I guess tonight was the first time you could honestly say this Syracuse roster was nearly unrecognizable compared to the team the organization has iced much of the last 2 years. No more Conacher or Johnson or Palat. No more Gudas on the backline. Tokarski traded.
All that said, it's a hopeful sign the team was competitive tonight and that one of the next wave, Vlad Namestnikov, stepped up in an expanded role. That's the way it's going to have to be the rest of the way with the Lightning floundering and so many of the veteran prospects getting their chance in Tampa Bay.
The Crunch face Albany tomorrow. Syracuse holds a 3 point edge in the Eastern Conference with the Crunch holding a 2 point edge of Binghamton and a 3 point edge on Springfield and Providence.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Two years and one week ago, Tyler Johnson’s mind was on two WHL scoring titles and helping his hometown Spokane Chiefs increase its win totals.
The undrafted, undersized sniper had no clear track for his hockey career when the Tampa Bay Lightning came calling and signed the free agent to a three-year entry-level contract.
His race to the NHL was now set, but how quickly he’d break through the ribbon was up to him.
He immediately rewarded the Lightning by finishing tops in the WHL in goals with 53 in 2011, and was just one point shy of being its top scorer with 115 points in 71 games.
The following year – his first year pro – Johnson made Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman look like a genius when the Washington state native scored 31 goals and 68 points and was an integral part of a championship Norfolk Admirals team that went down as one of the best in AHL history.
Tyler Johnson tried to not think about it.
One step away from achieving his dream, the Syracuse Crunch forward, seeing teammate after teammate getting called up to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, kept a positive attitude.
“Everyone’s dream is to play in the NHL, so you’re always thinking about it,” Johnson said Tuesday. “At the same time, you can’t really worry about it. You have worry about playing here, and getting better. That’s what this league is about – getting better.”
Twenty-six of the 46 players participating in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 28 have since made their NHL debuts, including the Crunch’s Richard Panik and Radko Gudas. Although Johnson was given a look during the abbreviated training camp after the end of the lockout, Johnson didn’t stick and still hasn’t played in a regular season NHL game.
Brendan Mikkelson is looking forward to the stretch run and playoffs, even if it is in the American Hockey League.
Mikkelson, who had trouble consistently cracking the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup, cleared waivers and was sent to the minor leagues Monday. The Regina native arrived in New York Tuesday, ready to refocus and rejoin the Eastern Conference-leading Syracuse Crunch.
Playing just four games with the Lightning this season, Mikkelson may stay in Syracuse through the Calder Cup playoffs, which would be his first time playing in the postseason since his rookie year with the Portland Pirates in 2007-08.
“I haven’t played in a week or so now,” Mikkelson said. “Hopefully I’ll be in the lineup and can contribute, and be someone who helps the team.”
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 12 is … Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA).
Lightning prospect followers have waited both patiently and impatiently for Radko Gudas to be called up to Tampa Bay, and it finally happened on Monday – but that’s not why he’s our Prospect of the Week.
Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman called up 2010 third round draft pick Radko Gudas from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch today.
Gudas, a right-handed, people-moving defenseman, has been knocking at the NHL’s door for the past year, but especially in the last two months. While Tampa Bay’s defense has struggled, Gudas has been playing big, effective minutes in all game situations in Syracuse - just like Yzerman wanted.
It was only a matter of time before Yzerman couldn’t afford to leave Gudas in the AHL any longer.
Let the Nichushkin watch begin!
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the victory. You hate to judge a guy on one start, but there's a reason the guy has bounced around the AHL, mostly.
05:30 TB Stamkos (19), (St. Louis, Hedman)
07:38 MTL Plekanec (11), (Markov)
08:15 TB Salo (2), (Crombeen, Thompson)
12:20 TB Malone (5), (Stamkos, St. Louis)(PP)
03:48 MTL Gionta (8), (Ryder, Boullion)(PP)
07:33 MTL Emelin (2), (Gionta, Ryder)
12:03 MTL Gallagher (7), (Pacioretty)
Sami Salo was the game's third star.
No way the team should have lost that game heading into the Third with a 2 goal lead, and Montreal's comeback looked really easy. Way too easy. This is a really, really bad Lightning team right now and you can't help but wonder what fundamental changes are on the horizon. Specifically, I wonder how much longer Martin St. Louis is willing to devote to a team that will likely miss the playoffs two straight years in the twilight of his career. He's only got a few more productive years, and I don't know that he'll want to wet nurse another top-10 pick next year (possibly top-5 the way this is going) along with the likes of Connolly and all the kids from Syracuse. There's some sad days potentially coming, I'm afraid to say.
Alex Killorn was -1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:26. One of his three hits helped create a goal. He's a very good all-around player.
Ondrej Palat was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 9:24.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 3 hits in 6:26.
Cory Conacher had 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:34. Less ice time than Palat? My eyebrow is raised.