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NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/18 Thrashers at Lightning

Prospects and veterans both shine in an overtime win.

ATL-1
TB-2 (OT)

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 19 shots in 40 minutes of action before giving way to wunderkind Dustin Tokarski who was perfect on 9 saves the rest of the way for the win.

First Period
TB 16:52, Malone 1 (PP) (Foster, Lecavalier)

Second Period
ATL 9:10, Postma 1 (Slater)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
TB 4:34, St. Louis 1 (PP) (Lecavalier)

Your three stars were Martin St. Louis, Richard Panik, and Zenon Konopka.

The stealth good news from these first two preseason games is that Kurtis Foster has a power play assist in each contest. If Foster can refind his groove in Tampa Bay, the Lightning will have a formidable power play which could put a playoff berth within reach.

It's never a bad thing when Vincent Lecavalier starts off the year with a multi-point night either.

Carter Ashton had 2 shots in 10:43 in his first big audition for a roster spot.

Zenon Konopka wasted all of 3 seconds before he dropped the gloves tonight and finished with a pair of brawls in 6:55.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:07. He was also 50% on draws.

Blair Jones had 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:12.

Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:59.

And, finally, Victor Hedman topped 27 minutes of ice time again tonight registering 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 27:04. This young man is the truth, folks. He's started his pro career by playing over 54 minutes over the span of 72 hours, and handled it with seeming ease.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 9/18

Johan Harju was -1 with 2 shots in 14:51 as Dynamo Moscow defeated Omsk 2-1. Harju was 62.5% on draws in the match. Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the loss for Omsk.

Tomorrow is a rare day off for the Lightning's Russian prospects.

Tukonen Returns to Finland; Admirals Camp Set to Open

The web site of the Finnish SM-Liiga team Rauma Lukko is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Lauri Tukonen has left the Tampa training camp early and will be arriving back in Rauma on Saturday in time to participate in team drills on Monday. Tukonen, while not yet reassigned to Norfolk, failed to make the team roster for either of the Lightning's first two exhibition games. The Lightning signed the former LA Kings 1st round pick to a one-year, two-way contract on July 16, but his contract reportedly has a European out-clause allowing the winger to return to Lukko instead of reporting to Norfolk.

Open roster slots on the Tampa forward lines are heavily contested and the competition apparently has gotten even tougher with head coach Rick Tocchet quoted as saying today that 2009 1st round pick Carter Ashton "has shown enough that he could stay. He's done everything asked of him." Ashton will make his NHL debut tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers in Tampa's only home pre-season match, and he is expected to start on Tampa's top line alongside Vincent Lecavalier and free agent acquisition Alex Tanguay.

Meanwhile, the Norfolk Admirals have announced that their 2009 training camp will open Wednesday, September 23 with the scheduled Admirals vs. Lightning exhibition match two days later on Friday at the Scope. Admirals GM Mike Butters announced that the following free agents will attend training camp: D Ben Wright, D Trevor Hendrikx, C Ryan McDonald, C Travis Whitehead, former Lightning prospect LW Justin Keller, RW Matt Dias, RW Stephen Werner, RW Erick Lizon, RW Chaz Johnson and RW Tommy Goebel. These free agents will join Lightning prospects Kevin Quick, Scott Jackson, Chris Lawrence, and Mitch Fadden who were assigned to Admirals yesterday from the Tampa training camp. Other Lightning players will join the Admirals camp as the Tampa staff continue to trim down the NHL roster.

The Admirals will hold on-ice practice sessions at The Scope next week. Beginning on Thursday, September 24, all weekday on-ice practices will be open to the public. Wednesday’s training camp testing sessions and all weekend practices will be closed to the public. The Admiral camp schedule is as follows:

CHL Game Night: 9/17

Ontario Hockey League

Owen Sound Attack 1 @ Barrie Colts 9
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-1-1,+1, 0 PIM

The Eastern Conference favorite Colts started their season off with a bang by crushing Owen Sound 9-1. The game was well out of hand by the time the third period started as the Colts were sitting back on an 8-1 lead. Hutchings, who has led the Colts in scoring the last two seasons, had a relatively quiet opener, notching just an assist. Luke Pither (undrafted) had 4 goals for Barrie.

Defending OHL and Memorial Cup champion Windsor also started their season Thursday, but a depleted Spits squad lost 6-5 to rival Plymouth in a shootout. Windsor’s Richard Panik was in Tampa preparing for tonight’s exhibition game for the Lightning. Both Barrie and Windsor are predicted to run away with their respective conference titles.

KHL Game Day: 9/17

Denis Kazionov had 4 shots on goal in 20:10 of ice time as Ekaterinburg defeated Mytischi 2-1 in the shootout.

Tomorrow: an intriguing matchup between Johan Harju and Dynamo Moscow and Karri Ramo and Avangard Omsk.

Bolts Reassign Four to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned defensemen Kevin Quick and Scott Jackson along with forwards Chris Lawrence and Mitch Fadden to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. Fadden, a first-year pro and prolific scorer for Tri-City and Lethbridge of the WHL, was thought to have a shot at getting an exhibition game with the Lightning but that will have to wait until the Admirals pre-season begins. Jackson, Quick and Lawrence each spent the majority of last season with the Admirals, with Lawrence begining the final year of his three-year entry level rookie contract this season. With these four assignments, the Lightning reduce the size of their camp roster to 43.

Lightning prospects remaining at the 2009 Lightning training camp include goaltenders Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski; defensemen Victor Hedman, Matt Lashoff, Ty Wishart, and Vladimir Mihalik; forwards Steve Downie, Carter Ashton, Richard Panik, Dana Tyrell, Paul Szczechura, Martins Karsums, Radek Smolenak, Blair Jones, James Wright, Juraj Simek, and Lauri Tukonen.

Prospects and Stars to Highlight Lightning Pre-Season Home Opener

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has released the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning's only pre-season home game Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. 2009 1st round draft picks Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton highlight six prospects that will get important starts in a star-filled lineup in front of an expectant home crowd. After playing 27+ minutes against Dallas Wednesday night, Hedman will get a chance to showcase why he was the #2 overall pick this summer. Ashton will line up on right wing alongside franchise center Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay on what presumes to be Tampa's top line. A heady start for the young power forward whom most believe is headed back Lethbridge for one more year of juniors. Forwards Paul Szczechura, Richard Panik and Blair Jones get their second consecutive starts after playing Wednesday against the Stars. Jones tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period before the Bolts succumbed to a shootout loss. Prospect goaltender phenom Dustin Tokarski will relieve Mike Smith for the third period and demonstrate to the home crowd as to why he won the 2008 Memorial Cup.

The expected forward lines for Friday's game are:

Alex Tanguay - Vincent Lecavalier - Carter Ashton
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Stephane Veilleux - Paul Szczechura - Richard Panik
Zenon Konopka - Ryan Craig - Blair Jones

Joining Hedman on the blueline for a second straight game are David Hale, Kurtis Foster, and Mike Lundin. Mattias Ohlund will be making his Lightning debut and Lukas Krajicek rounds out the Bolt defensive corps. Joining Tokarski in net is Lightning #1 goalie Mike Smith in his first game action since a concussion prematurely ended his 2008-09 season.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/16 Lightning at Stars

The Lightning's minor leaguers drop one in a shootout to half of the Stars' first stringers.

TB-3
DAL-4 (SO)

Antero Nittymaki allowed 2 goals on 15 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Jaroslav Janus who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots in the third and overtime before going 2/3 in the penalty shot session for the overtime loss. All in all, a very good performance for a young man who has been challenged to earn a pro contract.

First Period
DAL 9:28, Eriksson 1 (PP) (Modano)
DAL 18:51, Richards 1 (PP) (Modano, Neal)

Second Period
TB 5:45, Fedoruk 1 (Mclean)
TB 19:31, Mclean 1 (PP) (Foster, Downie)

Third Period
TB 5:55, Jones 1 (Halpern, Miller)
DAL 16:46, Neal 1 (Richards, Eriksson)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- NONE
DAL - Richards

Winners? Brett McLean, who is also looking for a contract, drops 1 goal and 1 assist. The Kurtis Foster experiment gets off to a decent start with a power play assist, a +1, and 4 shots on goal. Richard Panik earns 15 minutes of ice time, which is a team high for forward prospects not named Steve Downie or Drew Miller. And Janus? Probably got a contract.

Steve Downie had a helper and was +1 in 17:03 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits. Still my pick to win the job on the Lecavalier/Tanguay line.

Drew Miller had 1 helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:43.

Paul Szczechura was -1 in 12:22 with 1 shot on goal and 2 hits. He was also 33% on draws. If there was a loser in this game, in the race to win a roster, maybe it was Szczechura.

Dana Tyrell was -1 in 12:09 with 2 shots and 1 hit. He had a breakaway opportunity shorthanded he was stopped on. Coach Tocchet said he wanted to see if Tyrell could kill penalties. Shortie breakaways don't hurt.

Martins Karsums had 1 shot and 3 hits in 12:55. He also was stopped in the shootout session.

Blair Jones notched a rebound goal and was +1 in 12:42 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He also was stopped in the shootout session. Tocchet moved Jones over to right wing with Halpern and Miller, which is ostensibly two-thirds of the likely third line. It was a good opportunity for Jones and he did pretty well with it.

Matt Lashoff was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 18:36. No hits? Matt, brother, do you read the website? We need to see some jam, my friend.

Richard Panik had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:00. I find it fascinating he got more shifts and more ice time than guys like Tyrell and Karsums who are closer to the NHL, particularly on the power play. They have sky high hopes for this young man, clearly.

Oh, yeah. Victor Hedman? 27:15 in his first NHL preseason game. Are you kidding? 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot. That's unbelievable, really.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 9/16

Vasily Koshechkin got the day off as Togliatti got rolled by Spartak Moscow 6-3.

Johan Harju got his first KHL point assisting on a goal by, who else, Linus Omark in Dynamo Moscow's 5-3 loss to Yulaev. Harju was +1 in 16:50 and was 75% on draws.

Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 17 shots in Omsk's 2-1 loss to Dynamo Minsk.

Tomorrow, Denis Kazionov is in action with Ekaterinburg against Mytischi.

KHL Game Day: 9/15

Denis Kazionov was scoreless with 1 shot on goal in 14:37 as Ekaterinburg fell to St. Petersburg 4-1.

Tomorrow will include games for Johan Harju, Karri Ramo, and Vasily Koshechkin.

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