Wild and wooly.
Marc Denis allowed 6 goals on 37 shots before allowing 3 of 5 shooters to score for the shootout loss. Remember how I said about a week ago that maybe Denis' play was turning up just enough to get him back to the NHL on re-entry waivers? Um, yeah, scratch that. We're stuck with him.
NOR Lessard, (15) (Keller, Mihalik), 2:36
MCH Boyle, (22) (Moulson, Gauthier), 6:44 (PP)
MCH Zeiler, (3) (Murray, Klemm), 7:39
MCH Moulson, (19) (Tukonen, Milam), 13:42 (PP)
MCH Meckler, (16) (Boyle), 19:56 (SH)
NOR Milley, (16) (Scalzo, Smaby), 0:14
NOR Milley, (17) (Keller, Jones), 14:38
NOR Wanvig, (19) (Stewart, Fletcher), 16:03
NOR Jones, (9) (Keller, Milley), 2:52
MCH Moulson, (20) (Lewis), 5:45
NOR Szczechura, (13) (Smolenak), 15:52
MCH Gauthier, (20) (Meckler, Hersley), 19:52 (PP)
MAN- Boyle, Meckler, Moulson
Yes, you read right, the Ads came within 8 seconds of winning the game in regulation before allowing Gauthier's tying power play goal. Stat of the game: Manchester 3-for-4 on the power play, Norfolk 0-for-5. The Ads also allowed a shorthanded marker on the night. Special teams were not so special tonight and that made all the difference on the scoreboard.
That said, kudos to the Admrials for battling back from a 4-1 first period hole to get a point. The "battle level", as Claude Loiselle likes to say, has gone through the roof on this team in the last month. That was job one for the Ads this season: create that never-say-die work ethic. Once that foundation gets laid, everything else gets a lot easier.
Blair Jones was named second star of the game for Norfolk. Jones had 1 goal, 1 assist, and was +2.
Justin Keller had 3 helpers and was +4 and has been busily doing everything it takes to get his card punched for Tampa in the coming weeks.
Vladimir Mihalik had an assist and was +3 on the night. For all the Norfolk fans who want to tar and feather the Vladasaurus, that put the big Slovak at +3 for the season.
Radek Smolenak's assist on what almost was the game winner continued a solid last month and a half for the big Czech winger. Smolenak has 5 goals and 11 points in his last 16 games. Cup of coffee. Give him one.
After a wickedly bad start to his Admirals career which saw him a tragic -15 with Norfolk at the end of December (yuck), Mario Scalzo is a much more respectable -2 in the last two months and has 3 goals and 10 points in 21 games over that time period.
The improvement is pretty much across the board amongst the prospects on the team in the last couple of months. It's very exciting.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Victoria Grizzlies 3 @ Surrey Eagles 2 (OT)
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-2-2, 2 PIM (unsportsmanlike conduct), *First Star*
Tri-City Storm 3 @ Chicago Steel 2
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 shot on goal
Lewiston MAINEiacs 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 2 (SO)
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 shots on goal
More scores on the flip.
In an article published on tampabaylightning.com, Lightning Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle gives an in depth interview about what's on tap for the Lightning organization next season in terms of its prospects.
Key bullet point items:
- Loiselle will attempt to re-sign midseason acquisitions Paul Szczechura and Junior Lessard.
- Matt Smaby is regarded as the prospect most prepared to make the jump to the NHL next season after a strong season in the AHL.
- As reported here on Bolt Prospects, Luca Cunti will attempt to return to SCSU next season and play college hockey.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jonathan Boutin.
Boutin stopped 41 of 43 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping 6 of 7 shooters for the shootout win. Boutin evened his season record at 11-11-3 with the win and he is now 5-0-1 in his last 6 starts. He also has a .951 save percentage in his four starts this month. We don't do the Bolt Prospects Prospect of the Month anymore, but if we did, he's be getting his name engraved on it for February.
MCH Petiot, (2) (Cliche, Murray), 4:15
NOR Wanvig, (18) (Leach, Schneider), 10:04 (PP)
NOR Stewart, (13) (Henrich, Leach), 7:08 (PP)
MCH Cliche, (4) (Tukonen, Murray), 5:09
NOR- Szczechura, Lessard
Jay Leach and Boutin were named the first and third stars of the game, respectively.
The Admirals took the two points despite being outshot 43-29 in the contest.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Have they quit?
Karri Ramo stopped 27 of 28 shots faced as the Lightning wasted another quality start by the kid.
NY Islanders 5:37, Miroslav Satan 14 (Sean Bergenheim, Drew Fata)
Not much passion in the team tonight, and in fact there were some lazy mental lapses that are indicative of a team that is thinking about early summer tee times. Trade deadline's Tuesday.
Helenius and Seattle had a comfortable 6-0 lead before Tyrell beat his fellow Lightning prospect late in the second period on a 5 on 3 power play. This was the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. Seattle has outscored the Cougars a combined 11-2 in those games, both Seattle wins.
Spokane Chiefs 4 @ Everett Silvertips 3 (SO)
D Dane Crowley, EVT: 0-0-0, -1, 5 PIM (fighting major vs. Chris Bruton)
Tough third period.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 25 shots in the loss.
NOR Keller, (10) (Scalzo, Kearns), 1:42
BRI Keith, (8) (Pitton, Colliton), 17:32
NOR Smolenak, (5) (Szczechura, Lessard), 0:31
BRI Jackman, (7) (Keith), 1:49
NOR Kearns, (3) (Schneider, Keller), 10:57
BRI Okposo, (7) (Fraser, Bentivoglio), 4:26 (PP)
BRI Keith, (9) (Bourne, Smith), 8:30
Justin Keller was named third star of the game with 1 goal and 1 assist.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
If the Lightning had earned even half the points they've frittered away late in games this season they'd probably be winning the division right now.
The Lightning held a two goal lead with under 4 minutes in the third to play and still found a way to choke and give Tomas Vanek a hat trick in the process. Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 46 shots in the loss.
Tampa Bay 1:03, Brad Richards 18 (Jan Hlavac)
Buffalo 3:03, Derek Roy 22 (Jaroslav Spacek, Tim Connolly)
Tampa Bay 13:12, Vaclav Prospal 28 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Buffalo 17:39, Thomas Vanek 23 (Tim Connolly, Toni Lydman)
Buffalo 18:15, Thomas Vanek 24 (Tim Connolly, Derek Roy)
Buffalo 2:25, Thomas Vanek 25 (power play) (Jaroslav Spacek, Jason Pominville)
Is it really any secret why this team wilts defensively late in games? If Doug Janik is not trusted to play more than 2:43 in a game, then why the hell is he in the bigs? Seriously. If he's not traded at the deadline he should be immediately sent down to Norfolk. It would be far more logical to have Matt Smaby up with the team learning the ropes and filling a jersey than a living, breathing dead-end like Janik. And why, when the season is a bust, is a young player like Mike Lundin not getting more ice time? It might give John Tortorella and his mini-me Sullivan a heart attack to hear this, but the season is over. There's 22 more games now to help this franchise lay a foundation to have a successful 2008-2009 season, and part of laying that foundation is letting the kids play and learn in games where mistakes won't cost a playoff spot because the season is already over.
That means playing Lundin and Tarnasky more. That means giving extended recalls to guys like Smaby and Blair Jones. That means giving cups of coffee to a few guys like Justin Keller, Radek Smolenak, Mario Scalzo, Vladimir Mihalik, and Andy Rogers and actually giving them some ice time when they're up with the team.