NHL Game Night: 3-15-16 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Lightning take 40 minutes off... face the consequences.

TB-1
TOR-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for a fairly hard luck loss. He made several high-difficulty saves, but got precious little in the way of goal support.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
13:34 TOR Carrick(1), (Holland, Greening)

Third Period
6:33 TB Boyle(11), (Stralman)
9:07 TOR Smith(1), (Grabner, Michalek)
18:27 TOR Hyman(3), (Smith, Marincin)(EN)
19:47 TOR Parenteau(17), (unassisted)(EN)

This team is so bad, particularly on offense, when they try to get by just going through the motions. I thought they were flat the first 40 minutes tonight and tried to come back and win the game in one period, and that just can't cut it at the NHL level. 11 shots, total, through two periods is just awful. The only thing you'll win is a dog show with numbers like that.

Tampa Bay will now enter the final 10 game segment of the season needing at least 11 points to reach the season target at the end of 80 games. It's certainly do-able, but the team needs more consistent urgency and focus than it has shown the past week or two to close the deal.

Jonathan Marchessault had 2 penalty minutes and 4 hits in 11:40. One shot attempt. One. I applaud the young man for having some abrasiveness to his game despite his small size, but that's not his game. If I had Jonathan Marchessault's shot, I'd start shooting from the team hotel and I wouldn't stop until they had to wrap my wrists in ice. Just saying. With 12 games left in the Lightning's season, Marchessault needs 4 more appearances to graduate from prospect status on the site.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Liiga Playoff Game Day: 3-15-16

Liiga Playoffs First Round
(8)KalPa 1 vs. (9)Pelicans 2
Pelicans Wins the Series 2-1
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 13:38 of ice time in KalPa's decisive Game Three opening round loss to Pelicans. Ex-Flyers pick Ryan Potulny scored the winner for Pelicans. There are several potential options for Tammela next season, which include staying in the Liiga another year, joining Peterborough, which owns his Canadian junior rights, in the OHL, or even playing in the AHL, depending on the preferences of his camp and the Lightning organization.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-15-16

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(1)CSKA 3 vs. (7)Novgorod 2
CSKA Wins the Series 4-1
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 38 PIM
Regular season totals: 46 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

Carter Ashton had a minor for holding late in the Third Period in Novgorod's elimination game 3-2 loss to CSKA. Ashton's penalty dampened a late game comeback from his club, and by going scoreless in 14:49 of ice time, he finished the playoffs without a point in 9 appearances. Ex-Blues second rounder Simon Hjalmarsson led with way with 2 goals, including a shorthanded goal, in the win. Given Ashton's fairly underwhelming season in Russia, it seems unlikely the Lightning will make any moves to retain his rights this summer.

(5)Dynamo Moscow 1 vs. (6)St. Petersburg 4
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 3-2
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 4-9-13, +1, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a power play goal and an even strength helper in 14:26 of ice time in SKA's huge 4-1 Game Five win over Dynamo Moscow. Ex-University of New Hampshire forward Steve Moses also had 1 goal and 1 assist in the victory.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-14-16

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals
(3)Novosibirsk 3 vs. (2)Magnitogorsk 4 (OT)
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 3-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, OT Win, 34/37, 2.96 GAA, .919 sv%
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 5-1-0, 2 SO, 1.42 GAA, .951 sv%
Regular season totals: 50 GP, 22-15-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Ex-Blue Jackets draft pick Sergei Mozyakin scored 52 seconds into Overtime to help Magnitogorsk defeat Novosibirsk 4-3 in Game Four of their second round series. Mozyakin also had a helper in the contest. Magnitka also got a goal from ex-NHL'er Wojtek Wolski in the victory.

NCAA Game Night: 3-13-16

Lake Superior State Lakers 0 @ No. 16 Minnesota State Mavericks 3
MSU wins best-of-3 WCHA Quarterfinals, 2-1

W Jimmy Mullin, MSU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 2-8-10, -1, 8 PIM
2013-2014 totals (Miami): 19 GP, 1-6-7, 23 PIM

The Mavericks finally solved Gordon Defiel, who had a 57-save shutout in Game 2, and eliminated the Lakers with a 3-0 shutout win of their own Sunday. Colorado native Cole Huggins (undrafted) had 22 saves for Minnesota State. The second-seeded Mavs will play the 3-seed, Bowling Green, in the WCHA semifinals.

*USCHO poll used

Juniors Game Night: 3-12-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Shawinigan Cataractes 2 @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 2 Hits
Season totals: 60 GP, 32-34-66, +7, 82 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Shawinigan tied the game 2-2 early in the third period, then gave up four straight goals to the league’s top team. This was Yan’s fourth goal in his last 21 games.

Ontario Hockey League

Peterborough Petes 2 @ Barrie Colts 5

D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 54 GP, 8-31-39, +27, 44 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 57 GP, 5-19-24, -3, 46 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 15/25 FO
Season totals: 59 GP, 20-35-55, -13, 25 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Peterborough built a 3-0 lead before the Gens stormed back to force overtime. Cirelli shot first in the shootout for Oshawa, but didn’t convert. Masin extended his point streak to five games.

AHL Game Day: 3-13-16 Crunch at Falcons

Furious comeback bid falls short.

SYR-2
SPR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the loss. All three goals were on deflections, including one off a Crunch stick.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SPR Dauphin, (9) (Mermis, Reese), 9:22 (PP)
SPR Mermis, (2) (Gaudet, Selleck), 17:38
SYR Tambellini, (20) (Gourde), 18:51 (SH)
SPR Bunting, (9) (Reese, Mermis), 19:44 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Tambellini, (21) (DeAngelo, Darcy), 13:27 (PP)
SPR Szwarz, (6) (Dauphin, Selleck), 19:59 (EN)

Jeff Tambellini was the game's second star.

Jonathan Drouin was held scoreless for the Crunch, although he was extremely active in the contest, registering 5 shots on goal and creating multiple chances.

Center Tanner Richard was held out of the lineup, possibly for a potential recall to Tampa Bay in light of injuries suffered in the Lightning game earlier in the afternoon.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Liiga Playoff Game Day: 3-13-16

Liiga First Round
(9)Pelicans 4 vs. (8)KalPa 1
Series Tied 1-1
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 12:05 of ice time as KalPa got crushed 4-1 in Game Two of their First Round series with Pelicans. 33 year old veteran defenseman Juha Leimu led the way for Pelicans with a pair of goals. The series-deciding Game Three match is scheduled for Tuesday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-13-16

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(7)Novgorod 3 vs. (1)CSKA 5
CSKA Leads the Series 3-1
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, E, 5 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 36 PIM
Regular season totals: 46 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

Carter Ashton got tossed for fighting ex-Lightning prospect defenseman Artem Sergeev in 16:23 of ice time in Novgorod's 5-3 Game Four loss to top seed CSKA. Sergeev also had a helper in the match. Ex-Canadiens pick Sergei Kostitsyn had a pair of goals in defeat for Novgorod, which now faces elimination in Game Five.

(6)St. Petersburg 4 vs. (5)Dynamo Moscow 0
Series Tied 2-2
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-4-4, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 3-8-11, +1, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a quartet of helpers, three of which came on the power play, in SKA's 4-0 Game Four blanking of Dynamo Moscow. He played 16:08 in the win. 29 year old veteran Vadim Shipachev had a hat trick plus an assist in the win for SKA, and ex-Isles pick Mikko Koskinen stopped all 25 shots he faced for the shutout.

NHL Game Day: 3-13-16 Lightning at Blue Jackets

Lightning stare down adversity... and smack it in the mouth.

TB-4
CBJ-0

Ben Bishop stopped all 37 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Columbus' fans decided to make Bishop a target after he was interfered with on a goal that was waved off early in the game, and the Blue Jackets ran Ben several times, including a pretty wicked leg sweep by Foligno. All the sweeter for Bishop, who handed down some U of Maine Justice by blanking his would-be tormenters.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
5:29 TB Stamkos(30), (Kucherov)

Third Period
8:45 TB Namestnikov(12), (Johnson)
10:54 TB Stamkos(31), (Palat)(SH)
14:39 TB Palat(12), (Stamkos)(SH)

Steven Stamkos, Bishop, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars.

The Lightning entered this game pretty well needing a win, having dropped their last 3 with 2 of those being distinctive clunkers against Philly. That's why Bishop was in net today, when if all things were even I think this is a start Cooper might've slid Vasilevskiy's way. Columbus has learned to play a little tighter defensively under Tortorella and they're an extremely physical (goonish) team. They push the envelope of the rules. And, further complicating things, the Lightning ended up playing over half the game with 9 forwards after Valtteri Filppula and Nikita Kucherov had to leave the game with injury (the latter taking a sucker punch in a post whistle scrum from Prout that should be suspension-worthy, in my opinion, if the league gives a damn about protecting its stars).

Tired and sore, the Lightning answered the bell. They manufactured the goals they needed to get the 2-0 lead, they played tight enough defense, and they eventually broke it open on a couple of masterful shorthanded goals by Stamkos and Palat. Today wasn't a game that the Lightning would've circled on the calendar heading into it, but the way they handled adversity in a chippy game makes this a far more important victory than it may have looked on paper.

A little comment on Columbus before I move on: that team is an embarrassment. Let me reiterate: that team is an embarrassment. God bless Tortorella for getting them to play hard, but the fine line between playing hard and playing dirty got obliterated this afternoon. You had Foligno low-bridging a goaltender and body-slamming Namestnikov. You had Prout sucker-punching a Russian goal scorer in a post-whistle scrum that may have concussed Kucherov. You had Bourque slashing Tyler Johnson across the hands with the game well out of hand. You had Calvert slashing another Lightning player right at the final buzzer. That says nothing about all the other stick infractions, clutching and grabbing, and sucker punches and slashes the Blue Jackets got away with as the game wore on. They started to look like a glorified Central Hockey League team as things wore on, and the NHL out to seriously be ashamed there's a product like that anywhere on the league's ice. I wish John Tortorella all the best in taking a book of matches and a gallon or two of lighter fluid to that roster in the offseason in the pursuit of building a team that isn't an appalling laughing stock for anyone who cares about seeing the game played the right way.

With Valtteri Filppula hurt, I wouldn't be shocked to see a Tanner Richard recall, as he was held out of Syracuse's lineup today.

With 1 game left to play in Segment Seven of the season, the Lightning have cleared the minimum 12 points they needed from the 10-game set by 1 point. That means the next contest against Toronto on Tuesday will be an opportunity to pick up 2 more insurance points and drive the magic number they need in Segment Eight of the season to comfortably make the playoffs down even further from 11, which is where it currently stands.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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