NHL Game Day: 1-2-10 Penguins at Lightning

The Lightning start 2010 with a signature victory.

PIT-1
TB-3

Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 26 shots for the win. He got the benefit of three posts and the goal he allowed was off a bad rebound, but who cares? Just win, baby.

First Period
TB 1:03, St. Louis 9 (Ohlund, Stamkos)
PIT 17:15, Guerin 13 (Staal, McKee)

Second Period
TB 14:26, Konopka 2 (Downie, Stamkos)

Third Period
TB 7:11, Downie 8 (Ohlund, Lecavalier)

So the Lightning reach the halfway point of the season at 16-15-10, 1 game over .500 with 42 points in the standings. They're now just a single point out of eighth in the East and they currently sit alone in 9th place pending the outcome of Atlanta's game against the Isles tonight.

Want to win a city over? Tomorrow is the Bucs last game of the season. The Rays don't start Spring Training up for a little while. The Lightning are about to have the stage to themselves and they went out and thumped the defending Stanley Cup champs in front of a crowd of 20,000+ in a very entertaining style of game. That's a signature victory and a good way to pull the partisans in for the second half. The Lightning will need the support, because they'll need to crank it up even more in the second half to make the postseason. I suspect it'll take 92-94 points to get in. Right now they're on a pace for 84. No rest for the wicked.

It's been like a breath of fresh air since Jones was recalled and Krajicek was sent down and the roster finally took, more or less, the shape I think most of us expected it to at the start of the season (sans, of course, Paul Ranger). Having the youthful physicality of guys like Jones and Matt Smaby (+1 with 3 hits tonight and didn't mind telling Ruslan Fedotenko what to do with himself at one point during the game) has started to give the Lightning the personalty it was lacking for the first third of the season. I'm fine with it being a young team and I'm fine with there being a few more mistakes, because I think having some more jam and some more hustle helps light a fire under the whole team. This is going to be an exciting second half to watch unfold. I don't think we're going to be talking about lottery position come March this year.

Zenon Konopka had a goal and 2 penalty minutes to go along with 2 shots, 1 hit, and a 57% faceoff percentage in 8:31. Game winning goal! Konopka will graduate from overage prospect status on Bolt Prospects in his next game. It's hard not to love the guy.

Paul Szczechura had 4 shots, 1 hit, 2 blocked shots, and he was 22% on draws. The turning point of the game, in my opinion, was a second period penalty kill where Szczechura's group was on for the full two minutes and Paul was forced to play without a stick. He showed incredible athleticism to stay in passsing and shooting lanes and he actually got his feet on a couple of Penguins attempts. I think you could see the Lightning's energy level go to 11 after they killed that penalty off, and Konopka scored the winner shortly thereafter.

James Wright was -1 in 6:13. He will graduate from prospect status here on Bolt Prospects in his next game.

Blair Jones had 3 shots and 1 hit in 13:13. The goals are going to come. He could've had one in the third period on a rebound off a Szczechura slap shot, but Fleury was very quick to stop the bid. If he keeps getting 3-4 shots a game, though, they're going to start going in. He's got a very good shot. Ask the Admirals fans.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 1 hit in 22:37. Big Victor is 2 games away from graduation here on Bolt Prospects. In other words, expect the new Midterm Rankings soon.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Game Night: 1-1-10

Windsor Spitfires 6 @ Guelph Storm 4
C Richard Panik, WSR: Did not play (WJC - Slovakia).
Season Totals: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

Half of Windsor’s roster is playing in the WJCs it seems, yet they’ve still won four in a row and eight of their past 10.

Ottawa 67’s 4 @ Oshawa Generals 3
G Michael Zador, OSH: Did not play.
Season Totals: 27 GP, 11-12-2-1, 3.46 GAA, .897 sv%, 1 SO

Zador has struggled lately, but backup Kevin Bailie couldn’t right the ship in a loss to East Division leading Ottawa. Oshawa has lost three in a row.

Bochenski on Re-Entry Waivers

Bob McKenzie of TSN is reporting via Twitter that Tampa Bay has put Norfolk leading scorer Brandon Bochenski on re-entry waivers. Bochenski has 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points in 36 games with the Admirals this season, and was recently named an AHL All-Star starter for PlanetUSA. He has 24 goals in 128 career NHL games, but none in seven games with the Bolts. More to come...

WJC Game Night: 12-31-09

Slovakia 1 vs. Switzerland 4
W Richard Panik, SLO: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 10 SOG

Panik (pictured) scored his fifth of the tournament on 10 shots in the game, but Slovakia suffered a devastating loss to the Swiss and will now move to the relegation round. They next play Austria on Saturday. Panik finished the preliminary round seventh in tournament scoring with five goals and two assists. His five goals tied for the tournament lead.

Finland 1 vs. Sweden 7
W Matias Sointu, FIN: 0-0-0, -1, 4 PIM (slashing, tripping), 3 SOG

Sweden clinched the bye from Group B with an easy win over rival Finland. Sointu and Finland will play the U.S.A. in the quarterfinals on Saturday, January 1.

CHL Game Night: 12-31-09

QMJHL

St. John Sea Dogs 4 @ Moncton Wildcats 3 (SO)
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 36 GP, 5-25-30, +15, 34 PIM

The Sea Dogs scored twice in the third period to erase a 3-1 lead. Barberio’s plus-15 rating still leads the club. Barberio (pictured) had nine points in 11 December games for Moncton.

OHL

Belleville Bulls 0 @ Peterborough Petes 1
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 33 GP, 10-8-18, -3, 35 PIM
With Bulls: 20 GP, 8-7-15, -1, 15 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM

DeCoste has not registered a point in four of his last five games.

Owen Sound 6 @ Barrie Colts 4
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (interference)
Season Totals: 36 GP, 24-22-46, +27, 28 PIM

Barrie’s win streak finally came to an end at 22 games. Coming off a hat trick for the Colts, Hutchings did not register a point in the loss.

Erie Otters 8 @ Niagara Ice Dogs 7
G Jaroslav Janus, ERIE: Did not play.
Season Totals: 12 GP, 7-4-1-0, 2.81 GAA, .918 sv%
With Norfolk (AHL): 2 GP, 0-2-0, 1.52 GAA, .939 sv%

Janus was signed by the Lightning prior to the game and has reportedly left the team. Erie was forced to dress just one goalie, who let in seven of 40 shots, but still got the win.

Saginaw Spirit 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 4 (SO)
C Richard Panik, WSR: Did not play (WJC - Slovakia).
Season Totals: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

Sudbury Wolves 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie 4 (OT)
W Matias Sointu, SBY: Did not play (WJC - Finland)
Season Totals: 31 GP, 5-9-14, E, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 10 GP, 2-2-4, -5, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM

WHL

Regina Pats 4 @ Kootenay Ice 8
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM (slashing)
Season Totals: 36 GP, 14-17-31, -13, 69 PIM
With Regina: 8 GP, 1-4-5, -5, 17 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

Things are going from bad to worse in Regina, where the Pats have lost their last nine games and sit in 10th in the conference.

AHL Game Night: 12-31--09 Senators at Admirals

The Admirals give up an extra point in overtime as they try to arrest the Hershey-induced free fall.

BNG-3
NOR-2 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
BNG Svendsen, (2) , 0:19

Second Period
NOR Karsums, (4) , 10:49
BNG Hamel, (15) (Schira, Daugavins), 13:14 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Lashoff, (2) , 9:36

Overtime
BNG Lee, (2) (Keller, Hamel), 1:31

If you told me that at the end of 2009 Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff would only have 6 goals between them, I would've checked you for fever. As disappointing as their first halves have been, though, they are starting to show signs of life.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Updated 2: Lightning Sign Janus

GoErie.com reported Thursday Lightning prospect Jaroslav Janus of the Erie Otters has signed with Tampa Bay. The report states it's a two-way contract, and will end the young goaltender's junior career.

Update: The Lightning have confirmed the signing, saying it's a standard three-year deal, and Janus has been assigned to Norfolk.

Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius have been splitting No.1 duties in Norfolk, but after Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki missed a game last week, Tampa Bay recalled Helenius and Norfolk was forced to sign a goaltender for just a two days to fill the second slot with the Ads.

Update 2: Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports Tokarski and Janus will get the majority of the work in Norfolk with Helenius waiting his turn. Erlendsson spoke with Lightning/Admirals GM Brian Lawton Saturday.

Janus, a sixth round pick of the Bolts this past summer, went 7-4-2-0 with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage with Erie after returning to the team in November from a long amateur tryout with the Admirals. He made two starts in Norfolk, allowing three goals.

WJC Game Night: 12-30-09

Finland 10 vs. Austria 1
W Matias Sointu, FIN: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG

Sointu and Team Finland demolished Austria on Wednesday, skating to a quick 5-0 first period lead, then adding three in the second period and two in the third. Sointu scored in the third period, his team’s ninth goal of the night. Finland (2-1) next plays rival and first-place (Group B) Sweden (3-0) on Thursday, while Lightning prospect Richard Panik and Slovakia (1-2) face Switzerland (1-2).

CHL Game Night: 12-30-09

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Kingston Frontenacs 5
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 21 saves on 26 shots, pulled in third period
Season Totals: 27 GP, 11-12-2-1, 3.46 GAA, .897 sv%, 1 SO

Zador was pulled for the second straight game, this time early in the third period. He has allowed 11 goals in his last two (partial) games. Zador has dropped his last three contests after winning he previous four. He's also had a six-game losing streak and five-game winning streak this season.

NCAA Game Night: 12-30-09

Quinnipiac Bobcats 1 @ Harvard Crimson 3
C/W Alexander Killorn, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (interference), 6 SOG
Season Totals: 12 GP, 5-4-9, E, 8 PIM

Harvard broke their 10-game winless streak (0-9-1) Tuesday by winning their first game after the Christmas break. Killorn’s six shots on goal were three more than anyone else on the Crimson.

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