CHL Game Night: 12-28-09

OHL

Erie Otters 2 @ Plymouth Whalers 3 OT
G Jaroslav Janus, ERIE: Loss, 31 saves on 34 shots
Season Totals: 12 GP, 6-4-2-0, 2.96 GAA, 0.913 sv%
With Norfolk (AHL): 2 GP, 0-2-0, 1.52 GAA, .939 sv%

Janus dueled Plymouth goalie Matt Hackett to a 2-2 draw in regulation, but gave up the OT goal to the Whalers 2:19 into the extra period. The match was the first OHL game on the schedule since the league's break for the Christmas holidays.

NHL Game Night: 12-28-09 Bruins at Lightning

Back to .500 with the biggest win of the season.

BOS-1
TB-2

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the win.

First Period
TB 18:59, Tanguay 6 (Lecavalier, Foster)

Second Period
TB 19:48, St. Louis 8 (Foster, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
BOS 12:30, Sturm 12 (Savard, Chara)

We're two games away from the midway point of the season and the Lightning have squared up their record at .500, just a few points out of 8th in the playoff chase.

Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes in 7:20. Konopka is 3 games away from graduation here on Bolt Prospects.

Paul Szczechura had 2 blocked shots and was 58% on draws in 14:07.

James Wright had 1 hit in 6:28. Wright is now 3 games away from graduation here on BP.

Blair Jones had 4 shots, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 14:42. I loves me some Blair Jones.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 21:07. Hedman is now 4 games away from graduation here on BP.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Return Helenius to Admirals

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning have returned goaltender Riku Helenius to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. In addition, the Admirals announced today that goaltender Shane Connelly has been released from his Professional Tryout Contract (PTO).

Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 211-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, served as the backup goaltender for in the Lightning’s 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night. Helenius has played in 12 games with the Admirals this season, recording a 5-7-0 record with a .896 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average.

Last season, he led the Admirals in both goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage in his first North American professional season. In 25 games with Norfolk, the 21-year-old went 9-15-0 with one shutout, a 2.72 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

Drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round (15th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, made his NHL debut in relief on January 30 with Tampa Bay versus Philadelphia and stopped the two shots he faced in his only career NHL action to this point. Helenius also appeared in 11 ECHL games last season between the Augusta Lynx and Mississippi Sea Wolves, going 4-5-2 with a 3.80 GAA.

Connelly served as backup goaltender for the Admirals in Hershey last night.

WJC Game Night: 12-27-09

Slovakia 8 vs. Latvia 3
C Richard Panik, SLO: 2-2-4, +4, 0 PIM, 4 SOG

Richard Panik opened the scoring at 0:33, and by 3:44 had netted the game's first two goals. He later added two assists in Slovakia's 8-3 rout of the hapless Latvian team. After two matches, Panik now sits 3rd place on the tournament scoring board with 3 goals and 2 assists.

Finland 4 vs. Czech Republic 3
F Matias Sointu, FIN: Did not play.

Matias Sointu did not dress for the Finnish team in their opening match of the tourney as the Finns rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Czech Republic 4-3.

CHL Game Night: 12-27-09

QMJHL

Moncton Wildcats 10 @ Halifax Mooseheads 1
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 33 GP, 4-23-27, +15, 36 PIM

Mark Barberio scored the Wildcats' 5th goal of the opening period with less than a minute left before intermission. Moncton would double that score to 10 behind 40 shots as they opened the post-Christmas schedule on the road in Halifax.

WHL

Regina Pats 2 @ Medicine Hat Tigers 5
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 33 GP, 14-16-30, -15, 62 PIM
With Regina: 6 GP, 1-3-4, -6, 10 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

Regina's winless streak now at seven games, and Carter Ashton was held scoreless and minus-3 on the night.

KHL Game Day: 12-27-09

Omsk 3 @ Cherepovets 1
Karri Ramo, Omsk, Win, 23/24, 1.00 GAA, .958 sv%
Season totals: 29 GP, 16-12, 3 SO, 1.99 GAA, .914 sv%

Ramo got his season GAA back below 2 with a solid 3-1 win over Cherepovets. Former Lightning first rounder Alex Svitov had his 5th goal of the season in the win and added a helper, which was his 12th point of the season.

Kazan 5 @ Novosibirsk 1
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 12-4-16, +2, 12 PIM

The elder Kazionov played 13:48 in the match, opening the scoring for Kazan with his 12th goal of the season before tacking on a pair of assists in the third period.

Yaroslavl 3 @ Magnitogorsk 0
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 20/23, 3.00 GAA, .870 sv%
Season totals: 35 GP, 17-15, 5 SO, 2.07 GAA, .923 sv%

Magnitogorsk managed just 18 shots on goal in their 3-0 shutout loss to Lokomotiv.

KHK MVD 1 @ Ekaterinburg 0
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 4-3-7, -12, 10 PIM

The younger Kazionov brother played just 9:04 in the match. A first period goal from Yuri Babenko would be the only scoring KHK MVD would get or need thanks to a 25 save shutout by former Thrashers prospect Michael Garnett.

CSKA 2 @ Dynamo Moscow 3 (OT)
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 3-9-12, -7, 28 PIM

Harju's linemate, Linus Omark, assisted on the overtime winner for Dynamo in what was an otherwise miserable night for the prospect and his line. Harju ended up playing just 9:50 in the match and was 79% on draws.

AHL Game Night: 12-27-09 Admirals at Bears

A crushing defeat for the Admirals.

NOR-1
HER-7

Dustin Tokarski allowed 7 goals on 35 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Aucoin, (15) , 10:48 (PEN/SH)

Second Period
HER Aucoin, (16) (Giroux, Gordon), 5:13
HER Wellar, (1) (Aucoin, Miskovic), 8:17
HER Amadio, (1) (Bourque, Perreault), 10:27
NOR Parrish, (8) (Krajicek), 18:55

Third Period
HER Helmer, (2) (McNeill, Perreault), 2:49 (PP)
HER Bouchard, (10) (Bourque, Miskovic), 13:30
HER Kane, (13) (Wilson, Gordon), 17:45

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Jones Is Getting Defensive

Just call him “The Eraser.”

Already known for his grit and forechecking abilities, Blair Jones has taken his two-way game to another level this year. And Lightning coaches are taking it even further.

In Saturday night’s key Southeast Division clash against the Atlanta Thrashers, Jones, who earlier this month was still playing in AHL Norfolk, got the tap on the shoulder to help kill a first period penalty. It was his first significant action shorthanded this season, and to make matters more intimidating, he was lined up opposite Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, who entered the game among NHL goal leaders with 21 and the league’s fifth-best shooting percentage

“Whatever the coaches ask me to do I’m going to do it,” Jones said. “It’s not the most glorifying job to stand in front of one of the hardest shots in the league, but whatever keeps me out on the ice.”

WJC Game Night: 12:26-09

USA 7 vs. Slovakia 3
C Richard Panik, SLO: 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG

Slovakia held a brief 2-0 lead early, and Panik's goal in the late second cut USA's lead to 4-3, but the floodgates opened from there. Panik's goal came on a tap-in from the side of the USA net. This is his second U-20 World Junior Championship (WJC). Last year he had two goals and five points in what was considered by many to be a disappointing showing throughout seven tournament games. Previous to that he had 10 points (four goals) in six games at the 2008 U-18 WJC and two assists in six games at the 2007 U-18 WJC. Slovakia next plays Sunday vs. Latvia, who lost 16-0 to Canada in their opener.

NHL Game Night: 12-26-09 Thrashers at Lightning

Steve Downie doles out coal to the visiting team.

ATL-3
TB-4

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the win.

First Period
ATL 11:48, Antropov 10 (Kovalchuk, Afinogenov)
TB 13:34, Downie 7 (Lecavalier, Ohlund)

Second Period
TB 4:44, Lundin 1 (Lecavalier)
ATL 16:54, Reasoner 3 (Hainsey, Bogosian)

Third Period
TB 5:04, Tanguay 5 (Downie, Lecavalier)
TB 6:45, Malone 19 (St. Louis, Stamkos)
ATL 16:50, Kovalchuk 22 (Antropov, Bogosian)

The Lightning played a near flawless third holding the Thrashers to 0 shots for over 3/4 of the final frame before giving the obligatory cheap goal to Kovalchuk. Fortunately they'd already staked themselves to a two goal lead, thanks in part to the play of Steve Downie, who had 1 goal and 1 assist. Downie also made a key clear with a little under a minute left in regulation. He's starting to come on now, and if he keeps it up he could find himself with a nice little 40-50 point campaign at the end of the year. Future looks bright.

Speaking of which, Matt Smaby: 7 hits. He's not fancy. He's not pretty. He's a blunt instrument, like a hammer, and you need to have guys like that to be successful. I'll take one Matt Smaby over a dozen smallish figure skaters like Lukas Krajicek, because Smaby can change the tone of a game with the way he plays. For instance, he folded up Evander Kane's shoulder like an Oragami crane in the third simply by locking up Evander, leaning on him, and finishing his check with authority. It was not a flashy play. He didn't break the glass. But he knocked Kane out for a couple of shifts.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 blocked shots.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, and was 50% on draws in 16:04.

James Wright had 7 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 9:31. He actually picked a fight with 12 foot tall Boris Valabik. Brave? Certainly? Smart? Lets just say that, in my opinion, a guy like Little or Kane would've been more in his weight class. Thank goodness the linesmen stepped in fast.

Blair Jones was +1 with 2 blocked shots in 14:10. He had his stick in the passing lanes all night long and he was absolutely driving the Thrashers insane on the forecheck and on the penalty kill. He's a lot like Smaby. He's not pretty or flashy. In fact, he lost his balance and face planted himself into the boards at one point on the third, which was mildly amusing. He's a blunt instrument. But you need guys like that on your checking line. See: Dingman, Chris, circa 2003-2004. It's guys like Downie, Smaby, and Jones that really have me high on the future right now. Guys like Stamkos, for instance, are not playing as well as they can. Hedman's still acclimating to the NHL. So, it's not the big draft picks who are the show right now. It's Downie, and Smaby, and Jones, and I love it.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 blocked shots in 24:16. He also perfectly executed the sleeper hold on Bryan Little at one point in the game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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