NA Juniors Game Night: 3-6-2014

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Charlottetown Islanders 4 @ Halifax Mooseheads 7

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 7 SOG, 0 Hits, 9/14 FO
Season totals: 43 GP, 25-71-96, +47, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax broke open a tie game in the third period with three goals en route to a 7-4 win. Drouin had one assist in the game. He had six points in his previous game. Rising 2014 prospect Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists for the Mooseheads, snapping his streak of games with a hat trick at three.

Note: After spending two weeks at home in Connecticut nursing a minor spleen laceration, Adam Erne has returned to Quebec City. No word yet when he'll be back in the Remparts lineup.

Ontario Hockey League

Belleville Bulls 1 @ North Bay Battalion 8

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-2-2, +4, 0 PIM
Season totals: 50 GP, 4-23-27, +4, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

Snowman in North Bay.

Owen Sound Attack 4 @ Barrie Colts 5

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 59 GP, 10-23-33, +17, 115 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Dotchin was injured in the game (KICX photo). No word yet on the severity of the injury.

Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Peterborough Petes 5 (OT)

W Henri Ikonen, KGN: 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 21-43-64, +16, 39 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM

Power forward Nick Ritchie (6-3, 225; 2014 eligible) scored his 37th goal of the season in overtime for the Petes. Ikonen scored his 21st goal of the year on the power play with 11 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Saginaw Spirit 8 @ Windsor Spitfires 3

D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-0-0, E, 7 PIM
Season totals: 62 GP, 15-38-53, +44, 51 PIM
2012-13 totals: 42 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM

The Spits took it on the chin at home to Saginaw. Koekkoek left the game injured after his fight with Jeremiah Addison (6-0, 183; 2014 eligible). Addison made a big, clean check on a Spitfire and Koekkoek answered by dropping his gloves. Neither player got a punch in before Addison wrestled/twisted Koekkoek to the ice. According to Windsor Star reporter Jim Parker, the team is calling Koekkoek’s ailment an upper body injury and he will not play Friday. This will be Koekkoek’s first game missed due to injury this year after missing at least half of the last two seasons.

Sergeev Thrives With Increased Ice Time


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Artem Sergeev saw his opportunity and responded.

With three significant injuries to the Crunch blueline, Sergeev has thrived with increased ice time. The 20-year-old rookie defenseman has averaged close to 20 minutes a night and played in all situations, as Syracuse has gone 4-2 to snap out of a recent slide.

For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, Sergeev has elevated his play in the last few weeks.

"I've really liked his physical play," Zettler said. "He's been smart. He uses his body well. He's a big, thick guy and he's strong. He's starting to understand how he can best use it to his advantage, and he's done that lately."

NHL Game Night: 3-6-14 Sabres at Lightning

It was Enroth all along.

BUF-3
TB-1

Anders Lindback allowed 3 goals on 21 shots for the loss. I didn't consider any of the 3 goals weak ones, but again, you want your goaltender to help you keep contact in a close game like that and Lindback doesn't.

First Period
15:56 BUF Myers (9), (unassisted)

Second Period
9:25 BUF Foligno (7), (Hodgson, Myers)

Third Period
13:44 BUF Hodgson (16), (Foligno)
17:31 TB Johnson (19), (Hedman)

Tonight's result was not for a lack of effort, shots, or chances. They outshot Buffalo 44-21, which is amazing considering how low the Lightning's shot totals were on the last roadtrip. They came out with a lot of adrenaline flowing and put a ton of pressure on the Sabres. It led to them getting a little loose defensively and some stupid turnovers like the thing Mark Barberio did on Buffalo's first goal, but for the most part I can't be mad at what I saw. They dominated the faceoff circles. They dominated possession. In his return and wearing the "C" for the first time, Steven Stamkos had at least 3 chances he'd probably have potted were it not for needing to shake off a little rust. In the end, though, Jhonas Enroth stood on his head at a very inopportune time with the Lightning's playoff chances starting to head south.

Mike Kostka had 7 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:57. Yes, it's the Sabres, but you have to be encouraged at how well he filled in with Gudas out of the lineup and how active he was offensively.

Richard Panik had 1 hit in 13:12. The stats don't tell the tale. He was a lot stronger and more confident on the puck than he was before his demotion to Syracuse. He's now 1 game away from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Nikita Kucherov was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 13:52. He failed to convert 2 breakaways and you can see how distraught he was at the bench. He's probably never faced a scoring slump like this in his life. He also is 1 game away from graduation from prospect status on the site.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Marchessault Adds Offense to Crunch Now, Later

The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forwards Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Dalton Smith from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Dana Tyrell and defenseman Matt Taormina Wednesday, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Audy-Marchessault, 5-8, 184 pounds, has played in 56 games with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League this season, recording 14 goals and 41 points. He leads the Falcons in games played, points and power play goals with seven. He ranks second for goals. Audy-Marchessault has been selected as an AHL All-Star the past two seasons. He has played in two career NHL games with Columbus, both during the 2012-13 season.

A native of Cap-Rouge, Quebec, Audy-Marchessault played four seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts from 2007-11 and was undrafted.

Smith, 6-2, 214 pounds, has played in 50 games with Springfield this season, recording four goals and nine points. He leads the Falcons with 99 penalty minutes and also led the them in 2012-13 with 128.

NA Juniors Game Night: 3-5-2014

Ontario Hockey League

Barrie Colts 2 @ Sudbury Wolves 4

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 58 GP, 10-22-32, +18, 115 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Barrie sits in fifth in the Eastern Conference, currently matched up with No. 4 North Bay.

Gudlevskis Returns to Syracuse With Renewed Focus


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Even after one of the biggest performances of his young career, Kristers Gudlevskis tempered any excitement with perspective.

The Syracuse Crunch goalie made 55 saves, as Latvia nearly stunned Canada in the quarterfinals of the winter Olympics in Sochi late last month. The Herculean effort earned Gudlevskis praise worldwide.

But in his first practice back with the Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis was back to focusing on the task at hand.

"It was only one game," Gudlevskis said. "So I need to show everybody I'm really consistent every game all season long. I think only then I'm going to prove myself."

NA Juniors Game Night: 3-4-2014

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 10 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 1

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-5-6, +7, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits, 10/14 FO, *First Star*
Season totals: 42 GP, 25-70-95, +47, 41 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Wow. Less than a week after fellow Lightning prospect Matt Peca had a six-point game for Quinnipiac University, Drouin set a new regular season career high with a six pointer in Sydney. Drouin scored the game’s opening goal, then added five assists before the end of the second period. His five assists in a game were also a regular season career high. He had six assists in a playoff game last season. He didn’t play much in the third period tonight with Halifax holding a 10-0 lead entering the final frame. Drouin’s teammate, Nikolaj Ehlers, had a hat trick for the third straight game. Drouin, who was named the NHL's top prospect in The Hockey News' Future Watch issue, currently has a 9-game point streak in which he has 24 points.

NHL Game Night: 3-4-14 Lightning at Blues

Tomorrow's a big day.

TB-2
STL-4

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss. Hard to be upset with Ben when the team in front of him allows the Blues to stickhandle at will through the slot.

First Period
7:08 TB Killorn (15), (Purcell)
14:49 TB Johnson (18), (St Louis, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
3:32 STL Berglund (11), (Schwartz, Tarasenko)
17:04 STL Oshie (15), (Steen, Pietrangelo)(SH)

Third Period
3:47 STL Steen (29), (Backes, Oshie)
19:21 STL Tarasenko (19), (Backes, Schwartz)(EN)

I'm not even going to look at the standings right now, because it's irrelevant if the Lightning don't fix what they're doing right now. On the one hand, they had 2-0 leads in 3 of the 4 games of this road trip and had a 1 goal lead going into the Third Period of the other. So, they manufactured situations on the road where they should have been able to get a fair number of points. That said, the defensive zone coverage looks like a dumpster fire and that contributes to the Lightning's pretty poor possession performance on this road trip. That manifested itself in the form of just 17 shots tonight. You can't win that way.

Tomorrow's a huge day. It's trade deadline day, obviously, and the gigantic hole in the Lightning's defense has never been more obvious. Radko Gudas' play has tailed off the past couple of months and with Gudas hurt tonight, the situation got even worse. I'm of the opinion it's management malpractice if Steve Yzerman doesn't at least get an established bottom pair NHL defenseman tomorrow who can fill in on the second pair on nights like tonight when one of the top-4 are out hurt. Ideally, he'd get a legit top-4 who can also give the Lightning's shaky PK a backbone.

Also, Steve Yzerman has another doctor's visit with a view toward being cleared for Thursday night. The PP tonight actually looked decent until they absolutely wet the bed on Oshie's SH goal. But, in general it's been poor, and Stamkos should go a long way to fix that. As he settles back in, hopefully he'll also give the Lightning the not-so-secret weapon of being able to get a great individual effort goal at opportune times. They could've used that tonight after falling behind 3-2.

Nikita Kucherov had 1 shot in 10:45. Honestly, that might've been the least noticeable he's been in a game all season. He is now just 2 games from graduation from prospect status on the site.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 3-4-14

Last day of the KHL regular season!

Magnitogorsk 4 vs. Novgorod 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%

And on the final day, Vasily rested. Koshechkin sat backup in Magnitogorsk's 4-2 win over Novgorod. Ex-Columbus pick Sergei Mozyakin led the way with 2 goals and 3 points.

Ufa 3 vs. Chekhov 2
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, Win, 23/25, 2.00 GAA, .920 sv%
Season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%

Andrey Vasilevskiy finished up his rookie season of KHL hockey right turning aside 23 shots in Ufa's 3-2 win over Chekhov. Ex-NHLer Ivan Vishnevsky had the eventual game winner for Ufa.

St. Petersburg 1 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 2
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 8-6-14, -6, 10 PIM

Nikita Gusev capped his first full season at the KHL level with a game winning, power play goal to lift Yugra to a 2-1 upset win over SKA St. Petersburg. Gusev played 11:24 in the match. He finishes the regular season with 8 goals after averaging just 9:58 of ice time in 44 games.

Bratislava 2 vs. Zagreb 3
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, 29/32, 3.01 GAA, .906 sv%
Season totals: 41 GP, 15-18-8, 2 SO, 2.86 GAA, .898 sv%

Jaroslav Janus' season ended with a whimper as Slovan fell 3-2 to Zagreb. Ex-NHLer Jonathan Cheechoo assisted on the game-winning goal just 13 seconds into the final period of the match. It was Cheechoo's second helper of the game. Ex-Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster also scored for Zagreb.

Here's how the KHL playoffs shape up for the Lightning's prospects:

In the Western Conference, Slovan Bratislava (Jaroslav Janus) finished 11th, 17 points out of the money and will not season the postseason.

In the Eastern Conference, the late season heroics of Vasily Koshechkin allowed Metallurg Magnitogorsk to clinch the 1st seed in the conference by 8 points over divisional rival Ak Bars Kazan. Theyll face 8th seed Vladivostok, which made the playoffs in their expansion season.

Ufa (Andrey Vasilevskiy) will get the test of being the 4th seed and will square off against 5th seed Novgorod. Both teams finished with 94 points, but Ufa got the tiebreak.

Like Bratislava, Khanty-Mansisysk (Nikita Gusev) finished 11th in their conference and will not make the KHL's postseason tournament. They finished 14 points behind Vladivostok for the final playoff spot in the East.

BP Mailbag: 3-3-14

The BP Mailbag returns after its own Olympic break (the Games aren’t going to watch themselves and multi-tasking is a challenge when hockey is on).

The questions, please…

@Jayslightning79:
@BoltProspects Would you part with Namestnikov for a Dmen like Alex Edler #BPMailbag

The Canucks’ Alex Edler, a 27-year-old defenseman, is rumored to be on the trading block. With the trade deadline on Wednesday, speculation is picking up steam.

Edler fits a lot of criteria for what I think the Lightning should be looking for: 300-plus games played, puckmover, second-pair capable, and power play contributor.

He also has good size (6-3), which Yzerman likes in a defenseman. There are a lot of things to like.

However…

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