NHL Game Night: 4-11-14 Blue Jackets at Lightning

One more to go.

CBJ- 2
TB- 3

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 36 of 38 for the victory in his first NHL shot. He was impressive. His quickness and athleticism are striking, and he showed a competitiveness and unwillingness to give up on plays that is also the hallmark of great netminders.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:55 TB Palat (23), (Killorn)(PP)
13:46 CBJ Jenner (16), (Johnson, Johansen)(PP)
14:54 TB Brewer (3), (Paquette)
18:06 TB Brewer (4), (Kostka, Panik)

Third Period
16:37 CBJ Savard (5), (Jenner, Comeau)

Gudlevskis, Eric Brewer, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars. It wasn't the best effort the Lightning have put forward, but Gudlevskis played well and the team capitalized on some shaky netminding by Columbus' McElhinney at the other end of the rink. It wasn't without a price, as Victor Hedman left the game early with a lower body injury and Ondrej Palat left after getting his bell rung on an open ice hit, but at this hour their absence seems more precautionary than anything else (although that's always subject to change).

The Lightning now have 99 points with 1 game to go. Win and they get home ice against Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. Win and they break the 100 point barrier. Win, and they'll cap off one of the best regular seasons in team history.

Mike Kostka had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 20:35. He was forced into extra ice time with Hedman out of the game early, and he handled it reasonably well, even getting his 3rd point in 2 games since returning. Win if you can, survive if Mike Kostka lets you.

Cedric Paquette had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 12:46. He was also 64% on 14 draws, including several wins while the Lightning were trying to stave off Columbus with their goaltender pulled at the end of the game. Good debut by Dump Truck, and I thought the scorekeepers cheated him out of a few hits because I counted 2-3 more. The young man's got a future on the team's fourth line.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-11-14 Penguins at Crunch

Playing out the string, Crunch still sorting out themselves for next season.

WBS-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 2 of 5 to convert in the penalty shot session for the Shootout loss.

First Period
WBS Kobasew, (9) (Ebbett, Dumoulin), 4:46 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (19) (Korobov, Connolly), 8:18 (PP)
SYR DiSalvatore, (11) (Marchessault, Mormina), 16:09 (PP)

Second Period
WBS Kobasew, (10) (Machacek, Dumoulin), 7:28 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WBS- Zlobin, Machachek
SYR- NONE

Yanni Gourde and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's second and third stars. Henri Ikonen made his North American pro debut with 2 shots and he was also unsuccessful in his shootout attempt.

Syracuse remains stuck at 1 game under .500 with 5 games left in their season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-11-14

KHL Eastern Conference Finals
(1)Magnitogorsk 1 vs. (4)Ufa 0 (OT)
Magnitogorsk Wins the Series 4-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 24/24, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 12-2-0, 2 SO, 1.66 GAA, .944 sv%

Andrey Vasilevskiy, UFA, OT Loss, 37/38, 0.98 GAA, .974 sv%
Regular season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 18 GP, 9-9-0, 1 SO, 1.99 GAA, .934 sv%

Yaroslav Khabarov's goal 1:14 into Overtime broke a scoreless tie and sent Magnitogorsk to the Gagarin Cup Finals by virtue of their 1-0, Game Five win over Ufa. Vasily Koshechkin stopped all 24 shots he faced in the match for his second shutout of the series. At the other end, Andrey Vasilevskiy sparkled making 37 saves in the hard luck loss. You simply cannot ask for more from a 19 year old goaltender. You can't.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-10-14

Ontario Hockey League

North Bay Battalion 4 @ Barrie Colts 7
Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals tied, 2-2

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-1-1, +2, 2 PIM
Playoff totals: 11 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 12 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -2, 7 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP: 3-2-5, +1, 13 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Barrie evened the series with a big, 7-4 win on Thursday night. North Bay lost two three-goal leads early in the game as the Colts came storming back. Barrie scored the game’s final six goals. The game got ugly late in the third period with a line brawl. Dotchin was on the ice and received a five-minute fighting penalty and a game misconduct for being in a “second fight.” Game 5 is Friday in North Bay.

Frozen Four Game Night: 4-10-14

No. 13 North Dakota 1 vs No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2
National Semifinal

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 35 GP, 7-11-18, +8, 10 PIM
2012-2013 totals: 29 GP, 2-8-10, E, 20 PIM

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 36 saves on 37 shots
Season totals: 37 GP, 26-5-6, 1.86 GAA, .935 sv%, 4 SO
2012-2013 totals: 39 GP, 25-8-5, 1.88 GAA, .921 sv%, 3 SO

Minnesota scored a shorthanded goal with .6 seconds left in regulation, sending the Gophers to the national championship game at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. The No. 2 Gophers will face top-ranked Union on Saturday night. O’Donnell was on the ice for UND’s lone goal, scored less than a minute after Minnesota had taken a 1-0 lead in the third period over their longtime rivals. Wilcox stopped 36 shots, including four during UND’s last minute power play. Justin Holl scored the game winner for the Gophers, finding the puck in his skates in front of the UND net and sliding the puck home. Minnesota had just won an own-zone faceoff with 10 seconds left and rushed up the ice hoping to avoid overtime. They did, and now have a chance at a championship.

O’Donnell’s junior season ends with career highs in goals, assists, and points. All signs point to him returning to North Dakota for his senior season next fall.

*USCHO poll used

NHL Game Night: 4-10-14 Flyers at Lightning

The sun still rises in Tampa Bay.

PHI-2
TB-4

Anders Lindback allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the victory tonight, 1 of which was an own goal tipped in by Palat. Lindback was magnificent, as he was in relief in the last game against Toronto. Is he as athletic and aesthetically pleasing as Ben Bishop between the pipes? No. Is he fully capable of stopping pucks? Yes, and he showed resiliency and mental toughness by not cracking after the Flyers broke through on him. He stayed focus, got a good team effort in front of him (including some street hockey netminding by Gudas) and got the W.

First Period
2:00 TB Johnson (24), (Stamkos, Kostka)

Second Period
18:39 PHI Simmonds (27), (Giroux, Voracek)(PP)

Third Period
4:33 TB Panik (3), (Hedman, Kostka)
9:43 TB Brewer (2), (Johnson, Palat)
12:22 PHI Couturier (12), (Streit)
14:14 TB Stamkos (25), (Filppula, Hedman)(PP)

Lindback, Tyler Johnson, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars.

Let it not be said that this Lightning team packs it in the second they hit a bump in the road. There was a lot of hand wringing and consternation with the injury to Ben Bishop that will, at a minimum, shut him down for the rest of the regular season. But, much like when Stamkos broke his leg and the captain of the team decided he wanted to go to Broadway, the Lightning circled the wagons. They came out very strong tonight and got a quick goal on Philly, which was great. I thought they took their foot off the gas through to the end of the Second Period, which was not good, but Lindback has something to prove and he played fantastic to keep the Lightning in it until they broke it open in the Third Period, where only a goofy own goal blemished a complete 20 minute team effort. So, the sky didn't fall and, in fact, with Montreal losing tonight the Lightning can get home ice in the first round if they win out in the final 2 games of the regular season.

Throughout the campaign, I've written regularly about segment goals with the team, with an eye on 96 points in 80 games. With the victory tonight, the Lightning nailed down 97 points in 80 games and they got the target number of 12 in the 8th and final segment of the year. In games 81 and 82, if they can get at least 3 of the 4 possible points, they have an opportunity to get to 100 points, which is truly an accomplishment for any team, let alone one this young.

Mike Kostka returned from his concussion with 2 assists, a +3 rating, and 1 blocked shot in 14:18. Win if you can. Survive if Mike Kostka lets you.

Andrej Sustr had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 19:36. It wasn't Andrej's best game, as I've seen him a lot tighter and under control defensively, but it's still pretty good that you can play him 19+ minutes and not worry about him completely wetting the bed. With the appearance tonight, Sustr reaches 41 NHL games played this season, which graduates him from prospect status on the website. Sustr becomes the 10th prospect to graduate this season, finishing out a class the likes of which we may never see again. To put this in perspective, there were only 10 prospects that graduated on the site in the previous 4 seasons combined (I looked it up). Congratulations to Andrej and everyone in the 2013-2014 Bolt Prospects Alumni class.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

New Syracuse Forward Erne Focuses on Present, Future 


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne knows his days with the Syracuse Crunch are numbered.

With six games left in the Crunch’s season, the 18-year-old is soaking in his first professional experience. Next year, if the 2013 second-round pick doesn’t make the Tampa Bay Lightning, he returns to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who are hosting the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament.

“I guess it’s more preparation for camp this year in Tampa,” said Erne, who signed an entry level contract with the Lightning and an amateur tryout with the Crunch last week. “I know a lot of these guys are going to be there, and it’s going to be a lot of the same skill set. Obviously, there’s a jump to the NHL, but this is as close as it gets. It’s good preparation for camp.”

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-9-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ Gatineau Olympiques 2
Mooseheads lead best-of-7 second round series, 3-1

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-3-3, +1, 2 PIM, 3 Hits, 3 SOG, 13/28 FO, *Second Star*
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 8-16-24, +7, 8 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax scored three times in the second period, building a 3-0 lead they’d never relinquish. Drouin had primary assists on two of those three goals, and a secondary assist on Halifax’s empty netter at the end of the game. He extended his streak of multi-point games to 11 and his point streak to 21. He was a game star for the 10th consecutive game. Halifax can close out the series at Gatineau on Friday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-9-14

KHL Eastern Conference Finals
(4)Ufa 0 vs. (1)Magnitogorsk 1
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 3-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 39/39, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 11-2-0, 1 SO, 1.78 GAA, .941 sv%

Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, Loss, 26/27, 1.01 GAA, .963 sv%
Regular season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 17 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.05 GAA, .931 sv%

Mike Keenan's gamble paid off. After giving veteran netminder Vasily Koshechkin the quick hook in Metallurg's 4-0 Game Three loss to Ufa, Koshechkin responded with a 39 save shutout performance in Game Four to put Metallurg on the threshold of the Gagarin Cup Finals. Rookie netminder Andrey Vasilevskiy was splendid in defeat, stopping 26 of 27 shots faced, but defenseman Viktor Antipin's power play goal was all it took for Metallurg to put Ufa on the brink of elimination. Game Five is slated for Friday with Ufa's back squarely against the wall.

Bolt Prospect of the Week: April 9, 2014

We continue our Bolt 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 Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 9, 2014 is … Jonathan Marchessault, W, Syracuse Crunch (AHL - USA).

Jonathan Marchessault just experienced a year’s worth of miracles in the span of two days.

First, the scoring winger acquired from the Columbus organization in March scored twice – shorthanded – in a ridiculously improbable come-from-behind Crunch win over Utica on Saturday. Syracuse was down by three goals with less than 90 seconds on the clock when Vladdy Namestnikov scored to make the game somewhat interesting. Namestnikov’s goal was scored with Syracuse goalie Kristers Gudlevskis pulled for an extra attacker during four-on-four play.

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