NHL Game Day: 3-21-10 Lightning at Panthers



Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 40 shots for the loss.

First Period
TB 6:04, Downie 19 (unassisted)
FLA 14:12, Horton 18 (Stillman, Weiss)(PP)
FLA 17:42, Booth 6 (Bitz, Ballard)
FLA 18:28, Stillman 15 (Horton)

Second Period

Third Period
TB 2:09, Stamkos 43 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
FLA 4:03, Weiss 25 (Allen, Ballard)
FLA 15:34, Dvorak 12 (Garrison)

I'm mildly pleased that Steve Downie scored his 19th goal and is now one shy of the 20 goal plateau. Other than that, there's not a lot of positives to take away from this game.

I see Mark Parrish was out of this lineup for this game. I hope the Lightning will send him down to Norfolk to help their playoff drive. I also see Matt Smaby was held out of a second straight game with David Hale returning. I don't know the rules governing conditioning stints after Clear Day, but I'd sure love to see Smabes get one Wednesday and Friday.

In case you're wondering about draft position, the Lightning now have the 3rd worst record in the league. They won't "catch" the worst, Edmonton, but if trends hold up the Leafs will probably make up the 4 points necessary to put the Lightning back into second-to-last again for a second straight season. This is considered a two-superstar draft (Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin) so perhaps if the Lightning continue to slide there's a silver lining (presuming ping pong balls bounce favorably for a third straight year).

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

European Game Day: 3-21-10

KHL (Russa) Eastern Conference Semifinals
Magnitogorsk 2 @ Kazan 3
Kazan Leads the Series 2-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +7, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, +4, 4 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 3-2, 0 SO, 2.24 GAA, .925 sv%

Magnitogorsk switched to backup Ilya Proskuryakov for Game Two of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, but the results were the same as Metallurg now finds themselves in a 2-0 series hole. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov opened the scoring for Kazan in the 2nd period and took a hooking minor in 14:45 of ice time. But, it wasn't until less than 2 minutes left in the game when former Penguin Alexei Morozov notched the game winning goal that the outcome was finally decided. The scene now switches to Magnitogorsk for Game Three of the seven game series.

Tomorrow features Game Three between Riga and KHK MVD with Riga down 2-0 in the series. Elsewhere today, Nizhnekamsk evened up their Eastern Conference Semifinal series 1-1 with Yulaev with a 2-1 overtime win.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Sodertalje 2 @ Rogle 0
Riku Helenius, Win, 28/28, 1 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 1 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Not a bad start to Sweden's relegation/promotion series for Riku Helenius as he blanked the only other Elitserien level opponent in the series, Rogle, 2-0. Sodertalje won despite being outshot 28-19 in the contest. The club got goals from former Kings prospect Yanick Lehoux and ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll. On Tuesday, Sodertalje faces Allsvenskan team AIK.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-20-10


Atlantic-3 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 0 @ Atlantic-2 Moncton Wildcats 6
First Round, Game 2. Moncton leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM

Barberio’s power play goal in the third period gave the Wildcats a 5-0 lead. It was his first career playoff goal. Game 3 is Tuesday in Sydney.


East-1 Barrie Colts 2 @ East-8 Sudbury Wolves 1
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2. Barrie leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-1-1, E, 4 PIM (slashing, slashing)
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-3-4, +4, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-3-3, E, 0 PIM [/i]
Season Totals (OTT, SBY): 51 GP, 8-21-29, -3, 24 PIM

Barrie’s Bryan Cameron (Kings 3/07) scored the tie-breaking goal early in the third period and the Colts held on for the win. Game 3 is Sunday in Barrie. Going back to the regular season, Hutchings has points in six consecutive games.


West-7 Kamloops Blazers 3 @ West-2 Vancouver Giants 6
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2. Vancouver leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 21 GP, 6-13-19, -3, 17 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

This was a convincing win for Vancouver, led by Craig Cunningham's (undrafted) two goals and three assists. The 5-9 forward had 97 points during the season and has seven already in two playoff games. Game 3 is Tuesday in Kamloops.

In other WHL news, East No.8 seed Moose Jaw has taken both early games from No.1 Calgary in Calgary.

Six Teams for Five Spots

We're seeing a narrowing and tightening in the field of teams vying to make the postseason in the AHL's Eastern Conference. Three teams look pretty much guaranteed to be in: Hershey (109 pts, 1st in East), Worcester (89 points, 1st in Atlantic), and Portland (86 points, 2nd in Atlantic).

Albany (84 points, 2nd in East) is probably a very good bet to hang onto a playoff spot, but they're not a lock to remain in 2nd place in the East. The Admirals, for instance, are 6 points back of Albany with 1 game in hand and 1 game head-to-head remaining on the schedule. So, things could tighten up even more very quickly, especially if the Rats keep stubbing their toes against teams like Binghamton.

They're the first of six teams, including the Admirals, fighting for five playoff spots. Typically, they'd be treated separately by division, but with the crossover rule potentially vaulting a 5th place Atlantic team over a 4th place East team, we should treat them as lumped together. The other five teams are: Manchester (79 points, 3rd in Atlantic), Lowell (79 points, 3rd in Atlantic), Norfolk (78 points, 3rd in East), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (77 points, 4th in East), Bridgeport (75 points, 5th in Atlantic).

Here's what's left for the six teams:

NHL Game Night: 3-20-10 Capitals at Lightning

Give them credit for fighting hard.


Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
WSH 2:40, Fleischmann 21 (Fehr, Steckel)
TB 6:54, Lecavalier 22 (Purcell, Bochenski)
WSH 10:47, Ovechkin 45 (Backstrom)

Second Period

Third Period
WSH 7:20, Semin 33 (Laich, Morrison)

I'm heartened by how well Vincent Lecavalier is playing down the stretch for the Lightning. It portends good things for next season, because if Vinny's scoring at a 40 goal clip, and Stamkos is too, then the Lightning are un-defendable, if that's a word. Ted Purcell looks like a keeper, too, with 6 points in his first 8 games with the Lightning.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-20-10 Phantoms at Admirals

Tic, the Cap'n, and the Bottle Rocket get the win.


Dustin Tokarski was brilliant in the win stopping 38 of 39 shots he faced. He took Andreas Nodl's lunch money twice in the game to make sure the Admirals got the win and the necessary 2 points. When he's on like he was tonight, he's cooler under pressure than Billy Dee Williams and the other side of the pillow, combined.

First Period
NOR Craig, (22) (Tyrell, Mihalik), 7:14
ADK Dingle, (5) (Klotz, Lehtivuori), 14:39

Second Period
NOR Hall, (15) (St. Pierre, Tyrell), 19:43

Third Period
NOR Tyrell, (9) (Jackson, Craig), 19:18 (EN)

Tokarski, Adam Hall, and Dana Tyrell were the game's three stars.

The unsung hero of the game, though, was Ryan Craig, who not only was Johnny on the Spot on the first Admirals goal, popping in a rebound that was laying beside the goal line, but whose faceoff wins set up the other two Admirals talleys, including his critical faceoff win on Tyrell's empty netter. He is leading this team by example, and his line with Hall and Tyrell is arguably one of the 5-10 best in the AHL right now. I sure hope the Lightning can find a way to keep Ryan in the organization, because he's one heck of a captain for the Admirals. In fact, I'm beginning to think the "C" stands for commodore. I just promoted him in rank.

For Tyrell, it was the first 3-point game of his pro career. His previous 7 multi-point games this season were 2-pointers. He shot from downtown tonight. He now has 23 points in his last 18 games and 8 multi-point efforts in that span. He set up the Admirals' first goal by beating out an icing with his speed, he helped shovel the puck back to the points for a helper after Craig's faceoff win on the second goal, and his blazing speed victimized former Lightning forward Jason Ward to beat out another icing for the empty net goal.

Vladimir Mihalik set a new career high in points with 17 with his assist on the Admirals' first goal. He was also as surly as I've ever seen him at his own net front.

In the standings, which mean everything right now: Norfolk still sits in 3rd place in the East Division with 78 points in 71 games and 9 games left to play. 2nd place Albany fell 2-1 to Binghamton tonight, so the Admirals have pulled to within 6 points again of the River Rats and the Ads hold 1 game in hand. 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated Rochester 5-4 to keep pace with the Admirals and remain 1 point back of Norfolk with 1 game in hand. The rest of the division looks done with Binghamton 10 points back and Syracuse and Adirondack now 12 points back.

In the crossover, which is becoming a cluttered mess again, Manchester defeated Bridgeport in overtime, which unfortunately awarded a 3rd point in that game, and Lowell defeated Portland in overtime as well. So the Atlantic Division looks like this: 3rd and 4th place Manchester and Lowell have 79 points, 1 ahead of Norfolk, with the Monarchs holding 2 games in hand and the Devils holding 1 game in hand. 5th place Bridgeport is 2 points behind the Admirals with 1 game in hand. Why is this important? If the Admirals fall to 4th place in the East Division they must finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to reach the postseason.

So, coming down the stretch, things are starting to bunch up with 6 teams fighting for 5 spots. And, that sets up a colossal 2-game set at The Scope on Wednesday and Friday between Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton that could be season defining for the Admirals. Both teams will bleed, sweat, and pay the price with 3rd place in the division and possibly the playoffs on the line. And, with David Hale coming off IR in Tampa Bay, one wonders if some defensive help might be on the way from the Lightning just in time.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-20-10

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

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 18/22, 6.63 GAA, .818 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 3-2, 0 SO, 2.24 GAA, .925 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin was lifted early in the Second Period as Kazan steamrolled Magnitogorsk in Game One of their KHL Eastern Conference Semifinal Series. Former Penguin Alexei Morozov had a natural hat trick in the game for Kazan. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov assisted on Morozov's second goal and played 16:09 in the match and took a minor for hooking.

Western Conference Semifinal
(2)KHK MVD 2 @ (8)Dynamo Riga 0
KHK MVD Leads the Series 2-0
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 12 GP, 4-4-8, +6, 16 PIM
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 2 PIM

Things are looking dire for Karsums and Cindarella Riga. After knocking off top seeded St. Petersburg in the first round, they're finding second seeded KHK MVD to be a much more formidable challenge. Today they were shut out 2-0, meaning Riga has managed just a single goal in the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinal series. Former Lightning draft pick Ruslan Zainullin had a goal in the match for KHK MVD.

Elsewhere, Yaroslavl and Spartak Moscow are tied 1-1 in their Western Conference Seminfinal series while Yulaev holds a 1-0 lead over Nizhnekamsk in the other Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Tomorrow will feature Game Two in the East between Kazan and Magnitogorsk.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-19-10


Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 6
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1. Moncton leads Best of 7 Series 1-0
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM

The Wildcats had to claw back from a 3-1 second period deficit to win. Barberio’s helpers were both primary assists on the power play. Last year Barberio had four assists in 10 playoff games. He has never scored a goal in his QMJHL playoff career (17 games). The teams will meet up again Saturday for Game 2.


Kamloops Blazers 3 @ Vancouver Giants 4 (OT)
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1. Vancouver leads Best of 7 Series 1-0
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM (cross-checking)
Season Totals: 21 GP, 6-13-19, -3, 17 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

James Henry (undrafted) scored at the 33-second mark of overtime to give the Giants the series’ first game. Last season Wright notched three goals and 10 points in 17 playoff games as the Giants made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing to Kelowna. the teams play again Saturday.

NCAA Playoffs Game Night: 3-19-10

No.14 Vermont Catamounts 0 vs. No.4 Boston College Eagles 3
Hockey East Semifinals; BC advances to finals.
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: Did not play.

Season Totals: 33 GP, 1-4-5, -4, 14 PIM

John Muse (undrafted) shutout the upstart Catamounts, and now the BC Eagles will face the University of Maine for the Hockey East championship. The Catamounts will wait for a potential at-large bid to the upcoming 2010 NCAA Tournament. Marshall, a sophomore, sat for the fourth straight game as a healthy scratch after only missing one game all season. According to the Burlington Free Press, Marshall's replacement, Jay Anctil, scored the game winner in overtime to clinch their series vs. New Hampshire to send them to the Hockey East Semifinals.

AHL Game Night: 3-19-10 Phantoms at Admirals

Heeeeeyyyyyy there goes a snowman!


Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 32 shots, but bathed in the clear, cool waters of rejuvenating goal support for the win.

First Period
ADK Holmstrom, (1) (Marshall, Pyorala), 3:46
NOR Craig, (21) (Hall, Fornataro), 8:45 (PP)
NOR Tyrell, (7) (Craig, Hall), 14:22

Second Period
ADK Ross, (10) (Pyorala, Bourdon), 0:14
NOR Hall, (14) (Lashoff, Craig), 5:36
NOR Keller, (14) (Mihalik, Tarkir), 8:57
ADK Nodl, (10) , 9:54
NOR Keller, (15) (Lawrence, Jones), 13:29

Third Period
NOR Ashton, (1) (Panik, Marks), 2:36
ADK Kalinski, (9) (Bellamy, Bodrov), 5:27
NOR Fadden, (6) (Fornataro), 6:39
NOR Tyrell, (8) (Jackson, Hall), 9:22

Adam Hall, Dana Tyrell, and Justin Keller were the game's three stars.

Norfolk got the benefit of facing two extremely inexperience netminders, Teslak (13 games of AHL experience coming into the night) and Mayotte (8 games of AHL experience entering the night), and absolutely punished them for daring them to step off the bus all game long. Norfolk gets Adirondack again tomorrow night, and I know it's hard to beat a team twice on back-to-back nights, but both of those young netminders have to be shell shocked.

Congratulations to Tyrell on the first multi-goal game of his professional career. Some folks may look at his numbers for the season and draw the conclusion he's had a pedestrian rookie season (8 goals and 31 points in 64 games). But, it should be pointed out that since 2-12-10 the speedy forward has posted 6 goals and 20 points in 17 games. We always expected Tyrell to get off to a slow start while he shook off the rust after knee surgery, and we always thought he'd have a strong second half. But, I don't think we ever believed he'd be this strong. In those 17 games he has 7 multi-point outings, all 2 point affairs, including tonight's game. He's got world class speed and acceleration and world class ethic, and has shown that he has underrated hockey sense in the offensive zone. He's one to watch, for sure.

Congratulations to Carter Ashton on his first professional goal, set up by Richard Panik for his first professional assist. That's a scoresheet combo I'm sure the Lightning would love to see often over the next 5-10 years.

Vladimir Mihalik tied his career high in points (16) with his assist on Justin Keller's first goal.

With the win, Norfolk reaches 76 points, which surpasses their point total of 75 from a season ago. They still sit in 3rd in the East Division and moved to within 8 points of 2nd place Albany with the Admirals holding a game in hand. 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stayed just 1 point behind the Admirals with the Pens holding a game in hand by overcoming a 3 goal deficit against Springfield tonight. 5th, 6th, and 7th place Syracuse, Adirondack, and Binghamton are all 10 points back of Norfolk with all three holding 1 game in hand on the Admirals. So, coming down the stretch, this is shaping up into a 3-5 team dogfight between the Admirals, Penguins, and a logjam of about three teams (Manchester, Lowell, and Bridgeport) in the Atlantic that could wind up in 5th place in that division but still make the playoffs because of the crossover rule.

In the crossover, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place in the Atlantic Division are beginning to bunch up. Lowell lost tonight and Manchester lost in a shootout, so they're tied 77 points, 1 point ahead of the Admirals and 2 points ahead of 5th place Bridgeport, which beat Syracuse. So the Ads hold a slim 1 point lead on Bridgeport with the Sound Tigers hanging onto a game in hand, but if you look at the past 10 games as the trend, Bridgeport may climb up to third in the Atlantic and it may be Manchester or Lowell that slips all the way to 5th. 6th place Providence remains alive, 6 points back of the Admirals and 5 back of the Tigers.

So, now, it's a 10 game sprint to the finish line for the Admirals and we'll see if this snowman they just hung on Adirondack gives them a little extra kick in the final 100 meters. Norfolk has 7 games remaining at home and 3 on the road. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has 5 at home and 6 on the road. Ultimately, though, this is coming down to the three head-to-head matchups the Admirals have with the Penguins in the remaining few weeks of the season. Win and they're in. Lose and they'll be scoreboard watching what the Atlantic Division teams do, which is not the position you want to be in.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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