Tampa Bay lays an egg in what was supposed to be their tune up for the regular season.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 14 shots for the loss before giving way to Johan Holmqvist who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots.
No matter how you slice this, tonight's result was disappointing considering this supposedly was the lineup John Tortorella wants in place on opening night. The poor result was further compounded by more injury issues as forward Nick Tarnasky had his nose broken in a fight and defenseman Paul Ranger left the game with a minor shoulder injury.
Right now the Lightning have nothing resembling continuity in their forward lines or their defensive pairings due to injuries resulting in precious few opportunities for units to work together at game speed to get their timing. As a consequence the Lightning were outshot 32-23 tonight and, frankly, there are no quick fixes. The Lightning will have to try to get healthy again and grind it out over the first few weeks of the season and try to keep their heads above water while the rust and the growing pains are shaken off.
The Lightning were fortunate to have dressed an extra defenseman tonight and Paul Ranger's minutes were partially absorbed by the three headed monster of Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby, and Doug Janik. Unfortunately, the three were a combined -5 in the game.
Lundin led the group in ice time with 20:27 but was -2 with no shots on goal and no hits for the contest. Smaby had the second most ice time at 14:36 and was -1 with 1 hit. Janik brought up the rear with 12:32 of ice time and a -2 rating. Both Smaby and Janik also took penalties for tripping and hooking, respectively.
Paul White of the Virginian Pilot writes Admirals Head Coach Steve Stirling in planning to cut another 4-5 Sunday night or Monday morning to coincide with the last batch of cuts from Lightning camp.
Norfolk starts their preseason slate tonight at 7 pm in Hershey.
Johan Harju was scoreless in a 3-1 Lulea loss to Linkopings. Through three games this season Harju is scoreless with 0 penalty minutes, 7 shots on goal, and an even rating. He is also 57% thus far this year on draws.
Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless in a 3-1 Frolunda loss to Skelleftea. Through 3 games this season Holmqvist has 1 assist, 0 penalty minutes, 11 shots on goal, and a -3 rating.
Erik Erlendsson has another blog post today noting that veteran AHLers Bryce Lampman, Kyle Wanvig, and Mathieu Darche have been put on waivers with a view toward reassigning them to Norfolk of the AHL. Erlendsson goes on to speculate this may mean that contrary to prior statements by the Lightning, they may carry 21 into the regular season meaning both prospects Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby may make the opening night roster.
Hat tip to Randy from Admirals Zone for bringing it to my attention.
Kootenay Ice 5 @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 4
C Mitch Fadden, LET: 2-1-3, +3, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Fadden scored the gameâ€™s first two goals but Lethbridge blew a 4-0 lead late. Fadden is 3-2-5 in 3 games to start the year.
Kelowna was badly outshot, 35-21. Crowley had a power play assist in his 2007-2008 debut for Everett.
Lewiston MAINEiacs 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Wardâ€™s assist came on the power play. I watched the third period of this game on Teles, and Ward played significant minutes, including PP, PK, and was on the ice at the end of the game with the goalie pulled. He also had a good rush and two solid hits in the third. Several Q games appear to be available to view for free via www.lhjmq.qc.ca.
Cowichan Valley Capitals 5 @ Victoria Grizzlies 2
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-1-1, 0 PIM
Courtnall has one goal and three assists in seven games so far this season for the 1-3-1(ties)-2 (OTL) Grizzlies.
According to Erik Erlendsson's blog the fourth line at today's practice included center Craig MacDonald while the third pairing at the practice featured defensemen Doug Janik and Mike Lundin. Given that Torts has been adament that his lineup Saturday night will be his opening night lineup barring injuries and that the team will only carry 20 players into the regular season this may be a tip off that veteran forwards Kyle Wanvig, Mathieu Darche, Bryce Lampman and prospect Matt Smaby will be the odd men out.
Karri Ramo and left wing Justin Keller were returned to Norfolk of the American Hockey League today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced. After todayâ€™s cuts there are 26 players remaining in camp.
Ramo, 6-foot-2, 201-pounds, played in one game this preseason and earned a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings. He posted a 3.00 goals-against average and a .870 save percentage. The sixth-round pick also posted a 1.12 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage in four training camp scrimmages.
Keller joined the Lightning from Norfolk on September 26 and played in his first preseason game against the Red Wings on September 27. In his one preseason game he logged 10:17 of ice time, landed two hits and recorded one shot on goal.
Both players will travel to meet the Admirals in Philadelphia as they prepare for a 1 p.m. game against the Phantoms on Sunday.
Matt Smaby just gave John Tortorella something to think about.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 2 goals on 18 shots before giving way to Marc Denis who was a perfect 11 of 11 in regulation and overtime before taking the shootout loss.
Matt Smaby led the way offensively for the Lightning with 1 goal and 1 assist. Vaclav Prospal had a pair of helpers while Michel Ouellet had the other Lightning goal. Bryce Lampman added an individual helper.
The big winner of the night? Matt Smaby, hands down. This was the game he needed to play himself back into the conversation to make the team. Just a good all around game. His 15:47 of ice time was second among the four headed gaggle of potential defensemen and he was +2 with 3 shots on goal and 2 bone crushing hits. To me, that last area is Smaby's trump card. If the Lightning are serious about getting more physical on their blueline post-Craig Ramsey then Smaby should make the team. He brings a dimension with his open ice hits and his willingness to stand up opponents at the blueline that none of the other defensemen on this team do.
The big loser? The Lightning PK was only 50%, meaning the PK was PU. This was a sore spot the first half of last season and hopefully it won't be a sore spot again this season.
Albert Vishnyakov did not play in Spartak's 5-2 loss to Magnitogorsk.
Evgeny Artyukhin had 2 penalty minutes in Omsk's 4-1 pounding of Chelyabinsk.
Denis Kazionov did not play in Novokuznetsk's 3-2 loss to Podolsk.
Alexei Glukhov was scoreless in Cherepovets' 3-2 overtime loss to Khimik.
Anton But had an assist in St. Petersburg's 5-2 spanking of Yaroslavl.