Point Looks to Contribute While Learning With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Brayden Point is in a position to chip in immediately.

After averaging more than a point with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League over the past three-plus seasons, Point has a chance to step in and contribute offensively with the Syracuse Crunch. The center, who is getting a taste of the pro game in his stint with Syracuse, was flanked by Crunch leading goalscorer Yanni Gourde and former Tampa Bay Lightning first round pick Carter Ashton during his American Hockey League debut against Rochester Saturday.

“Obviously the coaching staff has given me a good opportunity to play with some real talented players that have had success at this level,” Point said. “It’s definitely an opportunity for me, and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-30-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
First round

QMJHL-8 Sherbrooke Phoenix 2 @ QMJHL-9 Charlottetown Islanders 5
Charlottetown leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 2-0-2, -1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 9/19 FO, 1 Hit
Playoff totals: 3 GP: 5-2-7, +3, 4 PIM
With Sherbrooke: 37 GP, 20-25-45, -7, 34 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 56 GP, 21-38-59, -12, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

NHL Game Night: 3-30-15 Lightning at Canadiens

The most dangerous animal is a wounded animal.

TB-5
MTL-3

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory. The percentage wasn't nice, but the degree of difficulty was high on many of Bishop's denials. Considering he was playing behind Anton Stralman and some road cones by the end of the night, it was a masterful performance.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
1:24 TB Namestnikov (8), (Stamkos, Bishop)
4:24 MTL Pacioretty (37), (Plekanec, Markov)(SH)
4:57 TB Drouin (3), (Stralman, Bishop)(PP)
18:07 TB Kucherov (28), (Namestnikov, Palat)

Third Period
0:23 MTL Petry (5), (Eller)
6:21 TB Namestnikov (9), (Palat)
16:10 MTL Subban (14), (Beaulieu, Desharnais)(PP)
19:03 TB Stralman (9), (Boyle)(EN)

Vladislav Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and second stars.

Let's recap, shall we? The Lightning entered this game down 3 regular defensemen (Coburn, Garrison, and Sustr) and an all-star centerman (Johnson). By the end of the game, they lost Victor Hedman to an undisclosed injury that led him to skate just 1 shift in the Third Period. By all rights, the Lightning could have just folded. Montreal, having not won against Tampa Bay all season and seeing an opportunity to jump out to a potential 3 point lead in the division at home with precious few games left to go, had everything to play for. Everything in the stew was against the Lightning. Right?

Wrong. The Lightning just rolled over Montreal like a conquering, unstoppable army to complete a 5-0-0 sweep against the Habs this season. They outshot them 44-28 and outplayed them so badly the Canadiens were booed off their home ice at the end of the Second Period. That wasn't a game. That was the Lightning reaching into Montreal's chest cavity, pulling their heart out, and then feeding it to them. That was a team that outworked Montreal by such a wide margin that it was irrelevant who was back on defense, because for much of the night Montreal simply could not get the puck long enough to put any pressure on the precocious children wearing white Tampa Bay jerseys for it to matter an iota. I've never seen a team that unbelievably undermanned outplay a playoff caliber team by such an unbelievably wide margin. It was majestic. I have no clue who the Lightning will have left to play defense by the time they roll into Toronto tomorrow night. They might have to pull the first kid out of the stands with a Stamkos jersey on and give him a pair of skates at this rate. It doesn't matter, though. I just want to spend the next 18 hours or so basking in the unmistakable power of what this Lightning team is capable of when it truly decides it wants to do something. The last time I felt this good was one of the Lightning's ECF wins in the 7 game series against Boston.

Also, I'd like to say Cedric Paquette is the baddest man on the planet. Dump Truck truly is made of steel. 1 shot, 7 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He had an axle bent at an unnatural angle against the goal post in Detroit and looked absolutely done for the season. And yet, there he is, taking the first shifts and the last shifts of a win in his home province against Montreal. That's a tough man. That's the living embodiment of Lightning want-to.

The Lightning closed back to within 1 point of Montreal for the division lead with both teams having 5 games left to play on the schedule. The Lightning win clinches a playoff spot (foregone conclusion) and puts them at triple-digit points for the season at 101. I have no clue if the Lightning, given how many guys are injured, can finish off this division title run and grab hold of the banner. I do know, unequivocally though, the Lightning are a better team than Montreal. The tape of these 5 games doesn't lie.

Luke Witkowski was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 13:09. He did what we've come to expect of Witkowski. Move it quickly and don't put yourself in peril. Show snarl when called for. Simple. Efficient.

Nikita Nesterov was +2 with 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:03. He showed a lot of hustle and jam in his own third of the rink tonight to go along with the usual acumen he has in the offensive third. This was a really good rebound game after the rust he showed against Detroit.

Namestnikov had 2 goals, 3 points, and was +3 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:57. He was also 64% on 11 draws. He stepped into Tyler Johnson's spot alongside Kucherov and Palat and played every bit like an all star. Close your eyes and imagine the Lightning lineup with Namestnikov and Drouin with 1 more year of seasoning at this time next season. Glorious, isn't it? Baby Faced Killer is now 3 games away from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-29-15

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

East-6 Kootenay Ice 2 @ East-3 Calgary Hitmen 3
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary’s Adam Tambellini (New York Rangers) scored at 16:36 of the first overtime to save the Hitmen from going down 0-2 in the series despite having home-ice advantage. Ben Thomas has had an assist in both games.

Extraliga Playoff Game Day: 3-29-15

Semifinal Round
(1)Trinec 5 vs. (4)Sparta Praha 4 (OT)
Trinec Leads the Series 2-0
Jaroslav Janus, Sparta Praha, DNP
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 5.71 GAA, .846 sv%
Regular season totals (CZE): 5 GP, 2-3-0, 0 SO, 4.56 GAA, .849 sv%
Regular season totals (KHL): 25 GP, 6-12-5, 2 SO, 3.01 GAA, .891 sv%

24 year old undrafted defenseman Vladimir Roth scored at 15:06 of the First OT to lift Trinec to a 5-4 Game Two victory over Sparta Praha. The win gives the top seed a 2-0 lead in the series. Ex-Sens first rounder Jakub Klepis also had 1 goal and 1 assist in the win for Trinec. Ex-Leafs pick Karel Pilar had 1 goal and 1 assist in defeat for Sparta. Game Three is Wednesday.

NCAA Game Night: 3-28-15

Midwest-4 Harvard Crimson 1 vs Midwest-1 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4
Midwest Regional Semifinals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

No. 10 Harvard couldn’t build on its ECAC tournament championship, falling to Andrej Sustr’s alma mater, No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1. This ends the season for Lightning prospect Brian Hart, a junior for the Crimson. All signs point to him returning to Harvard for his senior season.

Northeast-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 2 vs Northeast-1 Boston University Terriers 3
Northeast Regional Finals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

The No. 2 Terriers punched their ticket to the Frozen Four in Boston with a 3-2 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. Free agent Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal of the game with less than three minutes remaining to beat UMD.

West-3 St. Cloud State Huskies 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Finals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

No. 3 North Dakota will return to the Frozen Four after defeating conference-rival No. 13 St. Cloud State 4-1 Saturday night. O'Donnell led the team in shots on goal. UND will play Boston University in the national semifinals.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-28-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
First round

QMJHL-9 Charlottetown Islanders 4 @ QMJHL-8 Sherbrooke Phoenix 7
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 3-2-5, +4, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 11/24 FO, 2 Hits, *First Star*
Playoff totals: 2 GP: 3-2-5, +4, 4 PIM
With Sherbrooke: 37 GP, 20-25-45, -7, 34 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 56 GP, 21-38-59, -12, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

Sherbrooke showed up in a big way in Game 2, avenging an 8-2 Game 1 loss with a 7-4 win. Cam Darcy was first star for his hat trick and five points. Game 3 is Monday on PEI.

QMJHL-13 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 @ QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 2
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 5/9 FO, 3 Hits
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 4 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec evened the series with a shutout win Saturday on the back of goaltender Callum Booth (2015 eligible), the surprise series starter over Montreal pick and Team Canada goaltender Zach Fucale. The series now switches to Sydney, Nova Scotia, for the next three games starting Tuesday.

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Quarterfinals

West-8 Saginaw Spirit 2 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 8
Sault Ste. Marie leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-3-3, +2, 0 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

The Greyhounds put a snowman on the scoreboard, scoring eight times on 52 shots. The Spirit managed 18 shots. This series could be over quick. DeAngelo had two assists to extend his overall point streak to 27 games, though the league only recognizes 25 as the regular season ended. Game 3 is Tuesday in Michigan.

Note: Dominik Masin (Peterborough) is out for the season due to injury.

Point Makes Pro Debut, But Crunch Fall to Americans


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Brayden Point understands it's a learning experience.

The 19-year-old center was admittedly nervous but settled in during his professional debut with the Crunch, but Syracuse fell to the Rochester Americans, 2-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"There are definitely some shifts where our line was able to control the puck down low for a bit, but, like I said, there's a lot to learn," Point said. "I'm just going to try to soak up as much as I can from my linemates and the guys on the bench, and hopefully keep getting better."

AHL Game Night: 3-28-15 Americans at Crunch

Makaroved.

RCH-2
SYR-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 24 shots for the hard luck loss. His save percentage has inched up to .906 for the season, despite the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
RCH McPherson, (2) (Catenacci, Ruhwedel), 4:04
RCH Catenacci, (12) , 19:52 (EN)

Gudlevskis was the game's second star. First star Andrey Makarov, who was Andrei Vasilevkiy's tandem-mate with the Russian U20 WJC team once upon a time, stopped 32 shots for the shutout.

ATO signee Brayden Point was -2 with 3 SOG's in his pro debut. As noted yesterday, there are a handful of other potential ATO's which could be added to the Syracuse roster this week, including graduating Quinnipiac senior forward Matthew Peca.

The loss, coupled with Hershey's win, puts Syracuse back into the 3rd seed, 1 point back of the Bears. 9 games remain on the regular season slate.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 23

This week's “Petr Svoboda Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 23
· Brayden Point joins Syracuse
· What’s next for Adam Wilcox, Matt Peca, and Brendan O’Donnell?
· Stamkos vs Bishop
· Interview with Tanner Richard
· #BPMailbag (Why is D so passive? … Building a team core with TB players/prospects 21 and under … Stamkos’ confidence growing? … Off-season free agent targets … TB prospects in NHL top-50)

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

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