This was a Lightning team that was not mentally prepared to play tonight.
Johan Holmqvist stopped just 22 of 26 shots he faced tonight for the loss. Dan Boyle had a pair of assists for the Lightning who got goals from Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba and Ruslan Fedotenko. Individual assists went to Eric Perrin, Brad Richards, Holmqvist and Vincent Lecavalier.
The Flyers came out in the first five minutes of the game and really ambushed the Lightning with a lot of speed and hustle, but that isn't what cost the Lightning the game. Mental mistakes destroyed the team in this game and three goals came directly from preventable Tampa miscues. Holmqvist allowed an awful short side goal to go through him on Zhitnik's opening goal, they allowed a 2-on-1 on a bad defensive change on the second goal and Paul Ranger fell down surrendering a breakaway on Kapanen's winning goal. This is a team that's just 1 point out of the basement in the Southeast Division now and they continue, time after time, to play down to inferior opponents and leave critical points on the table. This was the Lightning's 38th game so we're just shy of the midway point of their season and no one in that lineup seems to have gotten the memo that the drive to the playoffs has to start now. Better to get the points you need now than be sitting in March four or five points out of the hunt scoreboard watching desperate for help.
Philadelphia 4:01, Alexei Zhitnik 3 (power play) (Peter Forsberg, Joni Pitkanen)
Tampa Bay 10:06, Martin St. Louis 25 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Dan Boyle)
Philadelphia 16:41, Simon Gagne 18 (Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 9:30, Simon Gagne 19 (Joni Pitkanen, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 19:42, Sami Kapanen 5 (Jeff Carter)
Tampa Bay 1:18, Filip Kuba 5 (power play) (Brad Richards, Johan Holmqvist)
Tampa Bay 14:02, Ruslan Fedotenko 10 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Slovakia allowed three unanswered third period goals today falling to Sweden 6-3. Lightning prospect Vladimir Mihalik had 1 goal in the game and was +1 with 1 shot on goal. Marek Bartanus was scoreless with no shots on goal in the loss. Now at 0-2, Slovakia's medal round chances are on life support heading into a matchup Saturday against Team USA. The Americans were mentioned among the pre-tournament favorites but have also fallen to 0-2 early in the tournament and will be just as desperate as the Slovaks to get a victory to try and salvage their medal round hopes.
If this keeps up, they're going to have to treat Cey for PTSD.
Morgan Cey, fresh off of stopping 59 shots in Johnstown's last game, stopped 47 of 50 shots faced tonight for the loss. Radek Smolenak had both Chiefs goals with assists going to Zbynek Hrdel, Andrew Martens and Adam Henrich. Hrdel's assist snapped a 9 game long scoreless streak for the former Rimouski Oceanic. Andre Deveaux missed the game due to a one game suspension suspension stemming from his match penalty against Toledo on December 23rd. The Chiefs were outshot 51-23 on the night. Goaltender Gerald Coleman remains out due to a groin strain. Radek Smolenak's two goal effort extended his point streak to four games. The 2005 3rd rounder has 5 goals and 6 points over that span, stepping up in the absence of veteran Randy Rowe and rookie sensation Maxime Boisclair who are in Springfield on recall.
TOL Zultek, (9) (James, Martin), 9:26 (PP)
JHN Smolenak, (10) (Hrdel, Martens), 15:20 (PP)
TOL Attard, (2) (Maunu, Magowan), 2:56 (PP)
JHN Smolenak, (11) (Henrich), 6:55
TOL Burke, (3) (Tardif, Martin), 5:45 (PP)
TOL Attard, (3) (Watson, Martin), 19:52 (EN/PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Karri Ramo y'all.
Ramo stopped 43 of 44 shots faced in the game for the win as the Falcons were outshot 44-24 in a far cry from the birds last game against Hartford. Norm Milley had a pair of goals for Springfield, both coming off helpers from Eric Healey. Marek Kvapil had 1 goal (empty net) and 1 assist with individual helpers coming from Daniel Corso and Matt Smaby. Ramo and Milley were named first and second stars of the game.
Marek Kvapil has extended his points streak to 4 games and has 6 goals and 10 points in his last 10 games. Defenseman Mike Egener returned to the lineup after missing time with an undisclosed upper body injury. The Falcons dressed 7 defensemen and scratched enforcer Mitch Fritz. Who does Coach Stirling trust in the final minute of a one goal game? Kvapil, Healey and Smaby were joined by Dan Cavanaugh and Andy Delmore as the Falcons held off Hartford with the extra attacker.
The victory leapfrogs Springfield into 3rd in the Atlantic Division just 4 points back of division leading Manchester and 6th in the Eastern Conference. The Falcons also hold a game in hand on the Monarchs in their chase for the division title. Springfield plays second place Portland on Friday and Bridgeport on Saturday.
HFD Callahan, (20) (Isbister, Girardi), 19:59 (PP)
SPR Milley, (14) (Kvapil, Healey), 5:09 (PP)
SPR Milley, (15) (Corso, Healey), 5:46 (PP)
SPR Kvapil, (8) (Smaby), 19:43 (EN)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Germany continued their great start to the U20 WJC's today knocking off Slovakia 4-2 after defeating Team USA less than 24 hours prior. Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus registered an assist on the Slovak's second goal. Counting Slovakia's two exhibition tune ups Bartanus now has 1 goal and 2 points in 3 games since heading over to Sweden for the tournament. Bartanus has assumed a regular spot on Slovakia's second line thus far. Bartanus was even with 3 shots on goal in the game. 2005 first round pick Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 1 shot on goal in the game.
Gee, who do you think the league office in Toronto wants to win the Southeast Division?
The league replay system is a joke, a complete and utter sham. This is the second time this season the Lightning have been robbed of a point on a blatently obvious puck tipped in with a high stick that was allowed. The first time, in Boston, the league spun allowing a goal knocked in by 6'9" Zdeno Chara with the shaft of a stick that was above his eye level into a 4' high net by citing a made up non-existent rule regarding Chara getting cross checked (as if that absolved Chara from his responsibility for carrying his stick at a safe height which is what the high stick rule was instituted to promote). They also did a song and dance claiming that they didn't have all the proper camera angles to make a completely informed decision, as if not having enough information to make an informed ruling somehow made it ok.
Tonight, with less than 9 seconds left in the game, a long wrist shot from the point by Bobby Holik was tipped in by the blade of Jim Slater's stick being carried above both Slater and defenseman Dan Boyle's head. Slater is listed at 6'0" tall. Boyle is between 5'10" and 5'11". The net is 4' tall. It does not take a PHD in physics from MIT to figure out that the puck was tipped in with a high stick. My guess is that the NHL will claim they did not have a definitive angle proving Slater's stick was above the crossbar when the puck was tipped, hoping that you as hockey fans will cast aside simple logic as easily as they have.
Every single person in the league office with a stake in video review should be fired. Period. Point blank. Every single one of them. No matter how you want to look at this, the league is either guilty of bias or it is guilty of incompetence in both the way that the system is set up without all the proper video angles (and, honestly, if that's true I will offer to plunk down the $130 it will take to purchase the Toronto office their own Centre Ice package so they will at least have all the replay angles that I and every other Lightning fan has at their disposal) and in their complete disregard for common sense. We ought to go back to having in-building review judges who have access to all the available camera angles from the TV production crews and so that there is not the seeming of inpropriety of a league operating from on high from some 1,000 miles away manipulating scores to serve an agenda.
Lets quit talking about changing conference structures or making the nets bigger or making the jerseys tighter and start with a more fundamental problem: integrity, or lack thereof, in the league office. Lets fix that before we get to Gary Bettman's next gimmick o' the month. Nah, I can already here what Toronto is saying now, "No, wait, I got a better idea, lets keep the rigged replay system and instead institute the two point goal arc from 'beach roller hockey'."
Do these buffoons ever stop to think what they're doing to this sport?