Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3-29-10

Kval till Elitserien
Sodertalje 7 @ Vaxjo 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 29/33, 4.00 GAA, .879 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 5-0-0, 1 SO, 2.00 GAA, .926 sv%

At the halfway point of Sweden's promotion/relegation series, Riku Helenius remains an undefeated 5-0-0 despite allowing 4 goals today to Vaxjo Lakers. Helenius has a 7 game personal winning streak extending all the way back into the Elitserien regular season. His last loss was on March 4th against Frolunda and former Lightning netminder and Bolt Prospects alumni Johan Holmqvist. Ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll led the scoring for Sodertalje with 2 goals and 3 assists in the match.

Sodertalje's next game is on Friday in a rematch against Vaxjo. The club is in first place on the Kval till Elitserien table with an 8 point lead on 3rd place AIK. The top two teams earn their spot in the Elitserien for next season, and wins in Sweden count for 3 points in the standings.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-28-10

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals
(3)Kazan 3 @ (2)Magnitogorsk 1
Kazan Wins the Series 4-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +7, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 1-1-2, +4, 6 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 23/26, 3.00 GAA, .885 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 5-4, 1 SO, 2.02 GAA, .930 sv%

Happy trails to Vasily Koshechkin and Magnitogorsk. Alexei Badyukov had a pair of goals in Kazan's 3-1 Game Six victory to eliminate Metallurg from the Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 17:06 in the match and took a second period minor for slashing. The Lightning are reportedly interested in signing Koshechkin, whose season is now complete.

Kazionov and Kazan advances to face top seeded Yulaev in the Eastern Conference Finals after Yulaev defeated Nizhnekamsk 2-1 today to seal a six game semifinal series victory. In the Western Conference, KHK MVD will face Yaroslavl.

NHL Game Night: 3-27-10 Lightning at Sabres

Season over.


Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 6 shots for the loss before being lifted for Mike Smith, who allowed 4 goals on 20 shots the rest of the way.

The Lightning are 8 points out of 8th with 7 games remaining, so it's getting to the point where the playoffs are extremely improbable statistically. When your best defenseman is Mike Lundin, you've got problems. It's just bizarre the way that several of the young forwards have progressed this season. Steve Downie got his 21st of the season tonight and Steven Stamkos has obviously been unconscious all year. But, these young d-men have not really progressed. Hedman has slid backward. Meszaros continues to steal money. Matt Smaby appears to have been banished to Chateau au Bow Wow. The only guy who has progressed has been Lundin, and somewhere off with Ricky Williams and Dave Chappelle, Paul Ranger has to be glad he isn't stuck in the middle of this. The goaltending, I believe, is a personnel issue. The defense is, in my mind, both a personnel and a coaching issue (and, in fairness, the Lightning have been struck with injuries again late in the year).

I hope, at some point soon, the decision to move at least Mark Parrish and possibly also Paul Szczechura down to Norfolk with the Admirals just 2 points out of a playoff spot. The Lightning's chances are a lost cause. The Admirals are one good weekend away from being back in the dance.

Dear Vincent Lecavalier: if you're going to retaliate on someone, do it with your fists, not with your stick. Please. The latter gets you suspended.

Big Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:10 of ice time. I doubt that's the effort he needed to get himself penciled into next year's plans.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-27-10


Atlantic-3 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 0 @ Atlantic-2 Moncton Wildcats 4
First Round, Game 5. Moncton wins Best of 7 Series 4-1
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 1-4-5, +3, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM

Cape Breton put up a good fight in avoiding a sweep in Game 4, but was shutout by a much stronger team when the Wildcats returned to their home ice. Barberio went pointless for the first time in the series.

AHL Game Night: 3-27-10 Sharks at Admirals

I wish the goal scoring dam would just hurry up and burst.


Dustin Tokarski continues to be the victim of a lack of goal support. He allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss.

First Period
WOR McLaren, (4) (Joslin, Moore), 18:37

Second Period
WOR Lucia, (1) (Ferriero, Loprieno), 7:07

Third Period

Norfolk actually outshot Worcester 46-25, but they just can't seem to buy a goal right now. It's one of those stretches in the season where it feels like if they can just get a couple of ugly goals off some garbage or a lucky bounce the floodgates will open.

Here's the good news: both Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost tonight. So, Norfolk remains 2 points out of a playoff spot and 3 points out of 3rd place in the division with the Pens holding 1 game in hand. The bad news is that there are only six games left in the regular season and Norfolk's next game is on the road against the East Division's second place team, Albany.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3-27-10

Kval till Elitserien
Almtuna 1 @ Sodertalje 3
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 22/23, 1.00 GAA, .957 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 4 GP, 4-0-0, 1 SO, 1.50 GAA, .941 sv%

Things continue to run as smooth as silk for Sodertalje in Sweden's promotion/relegation tournament. The club got a pair of goals today from defenseman and ex-Panthers draft pick Topi Jaakola en route to a 3-1 win over Allsvenskan side Almtuna. Sodertalje leads the series by five points over the other Elitserien team in the series, Rogle, and by six points over the third place side, Leksands. The top two teams in the six game series with the most points after the ten game series is complete will earn their spots in the Elitserien next season. So, with another couple of wins, Helenius and Sodertalje should be close to clinching. As a reminder: wins count for three points in the standings in Sweden.

Mihalik Recalled From Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced Norfolk defenseman Vladimir Mihalik has been recalled for the Lightning's Saturday night game against Buffalo. In 70 games for the Admirals this season, Mihalik has two goals, 15 assists for 17 points. He's also a plus-8 with 65 penalty minutes.

NCAA Playoffs Game Night: 3-26-10

No.15 Vermont Catamounts 2 vs. No.5 Wisconsin Badgers 3
NCAA West Regional Semifinal (St. Paul, MN)
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: Did not play.
Season Totals: 33 GP, 1-4-5, -4, 14 PIM

Vermont actually led this game 2-1 after the first period, but were then outshot 30-15 over the final two periods, being outscored 2-0. The Catamounts' season and impressive playoff run is now over. Marshall (pictured) was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game after the sophomore only missed one regular season contest. His speed and defensive ability are assets to the Catamounts, and he’ll likely be a fixture on at least their third line next season.

C/W Alexander Killorn, Harvard: Season complete.
Season Totals: 32 GP, 9-11-20, E, 26 PIM

Killorn, a sophomore, was one of the top prospects at the Lightning’s 2009 summer camp and could be a signing target of the Lightning this offseason. Speculation from Harvard followers is he’ll return to the Crimson next season, however. Stay tuned.

D Luke Witkowski , Western Mich. Univ.: Season complete.
Season Totals: 32 GP, 2-4-6, -13, 67 PIM

Witkowski gained valuable ice time as a freshman defenseman for the Broncos this season, though he went through his ups and downs in his rookie year. He is expected to be a big part of WMU’s future on the blueline.

USHS Update

D Kirill Gotovets, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Season Totals: 44 GP, 8-19-27, 73 PIM

Gotovets, a Cornell commit, had five points after 14 games, but has 22 points in his last 30. Shattuck is 42-11-4 entering the USA Hockey Tier 1 National Tournament in Chicago on April 7. Shattuck’s playoffs start following the Chicago tourney.

AHL Game Night: 3-26-10 Penguins at Admirals

Things are about to get very desperate.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for the loss.

First Period

Second Period
WBS Wallace, (24) (Smith, Conner), 10:08 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Tangradi, (14) (Lee), 5:44 (PP)
NOR Lashoff, (7) (Craig, Hall), 11:05 (PP)
WBS Wallace, (25) (Smith, Engelland), 19:19 (EN)

Matt Lashoff was the game's third star.

Norfolk has seven games left to try to make the playoffs. They've fallen 3 points back of the Penguins for 3rd place in the North Division, putting them in 4th place in the division which places them in crossover peril from the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division. In the Atlantic, 3rd place Manchester thumped 5th place Bridgeport and 4th place Lowell beat Springfield in overtime. That means Manchester moves 5 points up on Norfolk with 1 game in hand, Lowell moves 4 points up on Norfolk and Bridgeport remains 2 points up on the Admirals. That means that if the playoffs began tomorrow, Norfolk would be staying home.

Norfolk draws the best team in the Atlantic Division, Worcester, tomorrow night, so things won't get easier.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-26-10

Eastern Conference Semifinals
(2)Magnitogorsk 1 @ (3)Kazan 3
Kazan Leads the Series 3-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +7, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 1-1-2, +4, 4 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 21/24, 4.50 GAA, .875 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 5-3, 1 SO, 1.90 GAA, .935 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin was chased after 40 minutes as Kazan seized a 3-2 series lead over Magnitogorsk by defeating Metallurg 3-1. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 17:31 in the match. Jarkko Immonen had 1 goal and 2 assists in the match for Kazan. Game Six is on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Yulaev defeated Nizhnekamsk 2-1 in overtime to take a 3-2 Eastern Conference Semifinal lead in their series. Tomorrow, Yaroslavl will attempt to close out Spartak Moscow in Game Six of their Western Conference Semifinal series.

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