The BoltProspects Podcast, Volume 5

This week's edition of the BoltProspects Podcast (now on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· Jonathan Drouin's ice time (or lack thereof) in home opener
· Nikita Kucherov, all-star?
· Inside our latest rankings
· BP Mailbag (The Wilcox question, goaltender depth chart flip-flop, Bad timing for Connolly)
· Weekly prospect review

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Well-traveled Marchessault Refocuses After NHL Appearance


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jonathan Marchessault tallied up the time.

A three hour flight to Minnesota, two hours back to Boston, and another hour and a half drive to Springfield. The three-day excursion was a little more straining on his body than the usual call-up, but the Syracuse Crunch forward was happy to make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut, even if it was just one game.

"It was a helluva ride, but I think it was good for me," Marchessault said. "It was a positive to get called up."

ECHL Game Night: 10-29-14

Tulsa Oilers 0 at Wichita Thunder 2

D Daniel Milan, WIC: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-1-1, -3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG

Wichita goalie Tim Boron pitched a 27 save shutout in front 2,300+ hometown fans Wednesday night, which is remarkable considering the Kansas City Royals had this somewhat of a big deal Game 7 of the World Series scheduled the same night. The Thunder are one of seven teams absorbed by the ECHL from the now defunct Central Hockey League (CHL). These seven teams make up the new Central division in the Western Conference of the new 28 team ECHL, and includes Tulsa, Quad City, Brampton, Allen, Missouri, and Rapid City. The Thunder are 1-1-1-0 with 3 points to start their new ECHL era. The Thunder play again Saturday against winless Missouri.

KHL Game Day: 10-29-14

Omsk 4 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 1
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 7-3-10, -3, 6 PIM

It was a rough game for Nikita Gusev, who went -2 with a minor for slashing in 16:21 in Yugra's 4-1 loss to Omsk.

Mytischi 2 vs. Khabarovsk 1
Dmitry Korobov, Mytischi, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 7 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM

Dmitry Korobov was scoreless in 18:21 in Mytischi's 2-1 win over Khabarovsk. Ex-NHLer Slava Kozlov scored a goal in the match for Mytischi.

Juniors Game Night: 10-28-14

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Saskatoon Blades 5

C Brayden Point, MJ: 2-0-2, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 13 GP, 8-10-18, +9, 14 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM

Moose Jaw lost its fourth consecutive game, 5-2 in Saskatoon. Point had both goals for the Warriors, who have just five goals in their four-game losing streak.

NHL Game Night: 10-28-14 Coyotes at Lightning

Kucherov line steals the show in homecoming game.

ARI-3
TB-7

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the victory. He just wallowed in the cool glorious waters of goal supportage all night long tonight.

First Period
7:46 TB Kucherov (2), (Gudas, Johnson)
12:18 TB Filppula (2), (Killorn, Stamkos)

Second Period
3:20 TB Kucherov (3), (Johnson, Palat)
14:07 ARI Doan (1), (Stone, Vermette)
17:32 TB Boyle (2), (unassisted)
18:52 ARI Erat (3), (Hanzal, Gagner)

Third Period
8:23 TB Kucherov (4), (Johnson, Brewer)
9:26 TB Boyle (3), (Brown, Stralman)
12:43 ARI Crombeen (1), (Vitale, Ekman-Larsson)
18:15 TB Carle (1), (Johnson, Sustr)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, and Brian Boyle were the game's three stars.

I've said it before, but that Palat/Johnson/Kucherov line has been a revelation. That line, I suspect, is your second line from now until the end of the season. The chemistry and speed of Johnson and Palat have unlocked the time and space necessary to let Kucherov apply his finishing skills, and those three are lethal together. Great game by Boyle and old man Morrow tonight, too, as well as Radko Gudas, who should've had a goal that was waved off on a way too quick whistle on a rebound chance Gudas snuck through Mike Smith's gaping five-hole.

As I recall, last season, the Coyotes really kicked the Lightning in the teeth in Arizona and their announcers and fans were far too giddy about the rude treatment the Lightning were given. I may be over-romanticizing this, but given the way the Lightning woodshedded Montreal earlier this season and the way Gudas decapitated Squirt Bottle Bandit Upshall, one might conclude this team is becoming very good at making others pay up on old debts. Very good. Intmidatingly good.

The victory gives the Lightning 13 points in the first 10 game segment of the season, clearing the 12 point minimum and giving them an insurance point to put in the bank. For those who didn't read Bolt Prospects last season, the 12/10 formula is pretty simple. 96 points should deliver you a playoff spot comfortably, based on past historical performance. Earning 12 points every 10 games will get you to 96 points with 2 games left to play around with. So, for every 10 game segment of the year, if your team can get at least 12 points, you're golden. The Lightning didn't get 12 points in every 10 game segment last season, but they accrued enough bonus points along the way that at no time last year did they fall behind schedule to get 96 points, eventually topping triple digits on their way to the playoffs. We're wheeling the formula out again this season because it's a fairly straightforward way of judging how the season is progressing. 12/10 is the magic ratio.

Now we ask the team to clean the slate and say, 12/10: do it again.

Cedric Paquette had his first NHL fight, 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:53. A very Dump Truck-ulent stat line, to be sure.

Jonathan Drouin had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 11:50. After his play in the previous game, he got busted down to the 4th line tonight, where he was invisible for 2 periods before coming alive with Namestnikov and Paquette in garbage time in the final frame. With Killorn coming back and looking decent in the First Period with Stamkos, it looked like it might be a longer term demotion for Drouin in the offing, but given how ineffective the Stamkos line was the final 40 minutes of the game I suspect Drouin will get a chance to get back up there sooner rather than later. As it was, I thought some of his Third Period work was quite entertaining.

Vladislav Namestnikov had 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 14:08. I thought he was really good tonight, showing great speed and getting in on some dangerous chances. He just happened to be the odd man out for a scoring line with everybody else clicking, and Arizona was only getting offense off faceoffs where Namesy was 0-for-3 tonight, so that may have factored in the decision, as well. Still, I liked what I saw and he should've had a helper on Gudas' disallowed goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 10-28-14

SaiPa 4 vs. HPK 3 (SO)
Saku Salminen, HPK, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 8 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM

Saku Salminen was scoreless in 10:36 in HPK's 4-3 shootout loss to SaiPa. Ex-Lightning pick Eero Somervuori had 1 goal and 1 assist in defeat for HPK, although he failed on his lone attempt in the penalty shot session.

Prospect of the Week: 10-28-14

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for October 28, 2014 is … Adam Erne, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL – Canada).

Adam Erne is turning the QMJHL into his personal playground, and littering that playground are hats. Lots and lots of hats.

KHL Game Day: 10-27-14

Astana 2 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 3 (OT)
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 7-3-10, -1, 4 PIM

Nikita Gusev had his goal scoring streak snapped at 3 games in 16:46 of ice time in Yugra's 3-2 overtime win over Barys Astana. His 4 shots were a team high for Yugra in the victory. Ex-Sharks first rounder Lukas Kaspar had the overtime winner on the power play.

Kazan 0 vs. Magnitogorsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 22/22, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 22 GP, 14-2-4, 3 SO, 1.41 GAA, .948 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin turned aside all 22 shots he faced for his third shutout of the year to best Anders Nilsson and Ak Bars Kazan 1-0. Danis Zaripov scored his 13th goal of the season for the lone goal of the match.

Mytischi 2 vs. Vladivostok 3 (OT)
Dmitry Korobov, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 6 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM

Dmitry Korobov was -1 in 21:20 of ice time as Vladivostok nipped Mytischi 3-2 in Overtime. Ex-Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy had a helper in defeat for Mytischi.

2014-2015 Preliminary Rankings

By Pete Choquette

Introduction
Last season the Lightning had unprecedented success in establishing a rookie class at the NHL level, the likes of which may never be seen again. While that group continues on up top in Tampa Bay, the rest of the Lightning organization is left with the charge to reload rather than rebuild. With extra picks in the top-60 in the June draft this past summer, and more on the way next summer, the team has the ammunition to accomplish that goal. Plus, the results of this fall's camp showed the team may have had underrated strength in their remaining prospects with unexpected players making the club in the exhibition season. With all these factors put together, Bolt Prospects' staff has completed its fall tradition: the Preliminary Rankings for the 2014-2015 season.

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