It took 584 games, but Erik Condra accomplished a feat he narrowly missed eight times before.
The veteran forward recorded his first professional hat trick and the Crunch were able to hang on, as Syracuse topped the Rochester Americans, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
“It was a little surreal,” Condra said with a smile about his third goal. “I had to think about it for a second to make sure I had the hat trick. I was pretty excited about it. A great play by (Yanni) Gourde in the middle there. He’s a great player who made another great play. I just hammered it home.”
Brayden Point started the season as a surprise addition to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster out of training camp, but throughout the year he’s consistently shown why he should be in the NHL.
Since returning from an injury he suffered on Dec. 28 that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month, the 20-year-old forward has accumulated seven points and is a plus-6 in nine games. He’s been held off the scoresheet just three times and has arguably been playing his best hockey of late, skating at center and putting together a four-game point streak from Feb. 10 to Feb. 19.
He began the season playing the wing position despite traditionally playing as a center throughout his career — primarily because that’s where he fit into the lineup when Steven Stamkos was healthy. However, he’s been centering Alex Killorn and Jonathan Drouin — players that complement his speed and creativity, while also helping ease his transition to the position at the NHL level.
New look Lightning survive sleep start to annihilate Ottawa.
Andrei Vasilevskiy began life as the presumptive number one goaltender in Tampa Bay with a 39/40 command performance for the win that included some pure Vasilarceniy in the First Period to allow his team to keep contact and eventually secure the win. That's about all you could ask for from Andrei in his first night as "the man."
6:26 OTT Turris (22), (Karlsson, Hoffman)(PP)
1:39 TB Point (9), (unassisted)
5:37 TB Kucherov (24), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)
10:26 TB Kucherov (25), (Drouin, Johnson)(PP)
19:46 TB Kucherov (26), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)
10:57 TB Coburn (3), (Kucherov, Johnson)
Nikita Kucherov, Vasilevskiy, and Jonathan Drouin were the game's three stars. Kucherov had the natural hat trick and a four point night overall and appears to be fully back to unstoppable form after a very pedestrian middle part of his campaign. When Kucherov is Kucherov, the Lightning are awfully hard to beat.
The Lightning, probably reeling from the trades of veterans Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle, frankly looked lost in the First Period tonight. It took Vasilevskiy stepping up in that opening frame just to give the team a chance because honestly an ordinary goaltending performance would've left them run out of their own barn. A good forecheck on an early shift in the Second Period led to an awful turnover into the slot that led to a Brayden Point quick release goal, and from that point on the Lightning looked like a giant weight had been lifted off of them. Here's the thing about when veterans move out of your locker room: sometimes the vacuum actually gives oxygen to your younger players to step up and take bigger leadership roles. Point and Drouin, in particular, had great body language in that Second Period and you hope they seize the opportunity now to fill the void and imprint their identity on the Lightning now moving forward.
There's still a long way to go to the deadline on Wednesday and a few veteran contracts the Lightning would probably not mind getting out from under if they could, so there could be more changes in the offing. But for now, so far so good. Standings-wise, Tampa Bay needs 32 of a possible 42 remaining points to get to 96 for the season, which would be a colossal task. We're probably still in diagnostic mode the rest of the campaign, but if the Lightning can make this interesting down the stretch it only bodes well for the future. One pretty nice thing about tonight's game is it got the Lightning to dead even in goal differential this year. It'd be nice to be on the plus side at the end of the year, and that seems do-able.
Jake Dotchin had 2 hits in 16:56. I think you saw his minutes logically trimmed back against a quicker Eastern Conference team. Makes sense.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 5:50. Got 5 minutes worth for the price of 2 in that fight with Wideman. Wideman slashed Dumont's stick out of his hand and was promptly fed a sneaky upercut after the two dropped the gloves before Dumont ragdolled Wideman the rest of the bout. Pound for pound, Dumont showed me something there.
Adam Erne had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 hit in 13:33. He looks really comfortable at the NHL level already, and I hope he stays in Tampa Bay the rest of the way to see if he can keep developing and stick in Tampa Bay for good heading into next year. With Boyle gone, he brings an element of size and strength down low the team will need.
Primorsky Krai Jr. 4 vs. Yaroslavl Jr. 6
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., 0-0-0, +1, 25 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 77 PIM
Oleg Sosunov took 5 for fighting and a game misconduct as a line brawl broke out at the end of Loko Jr.'s 6-4 win over Taifun Jr. No word on whether the 6'8" defender chose the choke slam or the pile driver as his finishing move.
KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals
(7)Podolsk 1 vs. (2)St. Petersburg 7
St. Petersburg Wins the Series 4-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 4 GP, 2-3-5, +3, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM
Nikita Gusev had helpers at even strength and on the power play as SKA crushed Podolsk 7-1 to complete their opening round playoff sweep. Ex-NHL'er Evgeny Dadonov led SKA with 2 goals and 3 points in the match. SKA looks likely to play Dynamo Moscow in the next round with the 4th seed currently holding a 3-1 series lead over Novgorod and all Western series looking like they'll go straight chalk in the opening round.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Byron Froese (FRAYZ) and a 2017 conditional second round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brian Boyle, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The conditional pick in 2017 will be the highest second-round choice between the Maple Leafs’ own or previously acquired selections from either San Jose or Ottawa. The Lightning will assign Froese to the Syracuse Crunch. Also, Yzerman announced that forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond will be assigned to the Toronto Marlies.
Froese, 25, has appeared in two games with the Maple Leafs this season, posting two shots on goal. The 6-foot, 205-pound forward has skated in 58 career NHL games, all with Toronto over the past two seasons, collecting two goals and five points. He made his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens on October 24, 2015. Froese scored his first career NHL goal on December 19 against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Winkler, Manitoba native has also played in 48 games with the Marlies this season, posting 24 goals and 39 points to go along with 18 penalty minutes. Froese paces the Marlies for both goals and points. He’s appeared in 195 career AHL games, registering 49 goals and 101 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes.
Froese was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fourth round, 119th overall, at the 2009 NHL Draft.
Cincinnati Cyclones 2 at Kalamazoo Wings 6
F Brian Hart, KAL, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 16 GP, 1-2-3, E, 0 PIMs, 26 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs
F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIMS, 4 SOG, *3rd Star*
Season Totals (ECHL): 3 GP, 1-2-3, +3, 0 PIMs, 8 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs
G Nic Riopel, KAL, Did not play
Season Totals: 22 GP, 11-9-0-1, 2.80 GAA, 0.902 SV%, 1 SO
The K-Wings completed an important weekend sweep of 6 of 6 possible points as they look to solidify a 2017 Kelly Cup playoff spot. The top 4 teams in each of the four ECHL divisions make the playoffs, and Kalamzoo current sits 4th in the Central Division, 6 points behind 3rd place Quad Cities, and 3 points ahead of 5th place Tulsa.
Lightning forward prospect Cameron Darcy scored his first goal as a K-Wing on a back-door tap-in from Bolt camper Ben Wilson, earning 3rd Star honors. Darcy has pointed in each of his first 3 games with Kalamzaoo. Fellow prospect Brian Hart started a tic-tac-toe play that resulted in the K-Wings' 6th and final goal of the game. Kalamazoo travels back to the Quad Cities for another important game Wednesday night, before a 3-in-3 next weekend with Brampton, Toledo, and Adirondack.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have claimed forward Greg McKegg off waivers from the Florida Panthers, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
McKegg, 24, has played in 31 games with the Panthers this season, collecting three goals and six points to go along with 11 penalty minutes. The St. Thomas, Ontario native has set career highs this season for games played, goals, assists (three), points and penalty minutes. McKegg has appeared in 50 career NHL games over the span of four seasons with the Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs, posting five goals and eight points.
The 6-foot, 191-pound forward has also skated in seven games with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League, recording two goals and four points. McKegg has played in 244 career AHL games with the Thunderbirds, Portland Pirates and Toronto Marlies, registering 62 goals and 135 points to go along with 116 penalty minutes.
McKegg was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the third round, 62nd overall, at the 2010 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Peter Budaj, defenseman Erik Cernak, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft as well as a conditional pick in 2017 from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Ben Bishop and a fifth-round selection in 2017, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Budaj, 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, has played in 53 games with the Kings this season, posting a 27-20-3 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage with seven shutouts. Budaj, 34, has appeared in 350 NHL games with Los Angeles, the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, with a 152-127-39 record with 18 shutouts.
Cernak, 6-3, 221 pounds, has skated in 41 games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters this season, registering three goals and 17 points, along with a plus-27 rating. The 19-year-old defenseman has played in 82 career OHL games with Erie, recording seven goals and 32 points with a plus-34 rating.
Primorsky Krai Jr. 3 vs. Yaroslavl Jr. 2
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 0-0-0, E, 52 PIM
Oleg Sosunov was back up to the MHL level and scoreless in Yaroslavl Jr.'s 3-2 loss to Taifun Jr. Loko Jr. has 3 games left in its regular season before the start of the MHL playoffs, and currently holds the third seed in the MHL Western Conference behind CSKA Jr. and SKA Jr.