Prospects and Stars to Highlight Lightning Pre-Season Home Opener

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has released the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning's only pre-season home game Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. 2009 1st round draft picks Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton highlight six prospects that will get important starts in a star-filled lineup in front of an expectant home crowd. After playing 27+ minutes against Dallas Wednesday night, Hedman will get a chance to showcase why he was the #2 overall pick this summer. Ashton will line up on right wing alongside franchise center Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay on what presumes to be Tampa's top line. A heady start for the young power forward whom most believe is headed back Lethbridge for one more year of juniors. Forwards Paul Szczechura, Richard Panik and Blair Jones get their second consecutive starts after playing Wednesday against the Stars. Jones tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period before the Bolts succumbed to a shootout loss. Prospect goaltender phenom Dustin Tokarski will relieve Mike Smith for the third period and demonstrate to the home crowd as to why he won the 2008 Memorial Cup.

The expected forward lines for Friday's game are:

Alex Tanguay - Vincent Lecavalier - Carter Ashton
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Stephane Veilleux - Paul Szczechura - Richard Panik
Zenon Konopka - Ryan Craig - Blair Jones

Joining Hedman on the blueline for a second straight game are David Hale, Kurtis Foster, and Mike Lundin. Mattias Ohlund will be making his Lightning debut and Lukas Krajicek rounds out the Bolt defensive corps. Joining Tokarski in net is Lightning #1 goalie Mike Smith in his first game action since a concussion prematurely ended his 2008-09 season.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/16 Lightning at Stars

The Lightning's minor leaguers drop one in a shootout to half of the Stars' first stringers.

TB-3
DAL-4 (SO)

Antero Nittymaki allowed 2 goals on 15 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Jaroslav Janus who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots in the third and overtime before going 2/3 in the penalty shot session for the overtime loss. All in all, a very good performance for a young man who has been challenged to earn a pro contract.

First Period
DAL 9:28, Eriksson 1 (PP) (Modano)
DAL 18:51, Richards 1 (PP) (Modano, Neal)

Second Period
TB 5:45, Fedoruk 1 (Mclean)
TB 19:31, Mclean 1 (PP) (Foster, Downie)

Third Period
TB 5:55, Jones 1 (Halpern, Miller)
DAL 16:46, Neal 1 (Richards, Eriksson)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- NONE
DAL - Richards

Winners? Brett McLean, who is also looking for a contract, drops 1 goal and 1 assist. The Kurtis Foster experiment gets off to a decent start with a power play assist, a +1, and 4 shots on goal. Richard Panik earns 15 minutes of ice time, which is a team high for forward prospects not named Steve Downie or Drew Miller. And Janus? Probably got a contract.

Steve Downie had a helper and was +1 in 17:03 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits. Still my pick to win the job on the Lecavalier/Tanguay line.

Drew Miller had 1 helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:43.

Paul Szczechura was -1 in 12:22 with 1 shot on goal and 2 hits. He was also 33% on draws. If there was a loser in this game, in the race to win a roster, maybe it was Szczechura.

Dana Tyrell was -1 in 12:09 with 2 shots and 1 hit. He had a breakaway opportunity shorthanded he was stopped on. Coach Tocchet said he wanted to see if Tyrell could kill penalties. Shortie breakaways don't hurt.

Martins Karsums had 1 shot and 3 hits in 12:55. He also was stopped in the shootout session.

Blair Jones notched a rebound goal and was +1 in 12:42 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He also was stopped in the shootout session. Tocchet moved Jones over to right wing with Halpern and Miller, which is ostensibly two-thirds of the likely third line. It was a good opportunity for Jones and he did pretty well with it.

Matt Lashoff was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 18:36. No hits? Matt, brother, do you read the website? We need to see some jam, my friend.

Richard Panik had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:00. I find it fascinating he got more shifts and more ice time than guys like Tyrell and Karsums who are closer to the NHL, particularly on the power play. They have sky high hopes for this young man, clearly.

Oh, yeah. Victor Hedman? 27:15 in his first NHL preseason game. Are you kidding? 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot. That's unbelievable, really.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 9/16

Vasily Koshechkin got the day off as Togliatti got rolled by Spartak Moscow 6-3.

Johan Harju got his first KHL point assisting on a goal by, who else, Linus Omark in Dynamo Moscow's 5-3 loss to Yulaev. Harju was +1 in 16:50 and was 75% on draws.

Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 17 shots in Omsk's 2-1 loss to Dynamo Minsk.

Tomorrow, Denis Kazionov is in action with Ekaterinburg against Mytischi.

KHL Game Day: 9/15

Denis Kazionov was scoreless with 1 shot on goal in 14:37 as Ekaterinburg fell to St. Petersburg 4-1.

Tomorrow will include games for Johan Harju, Karri Ramo, and Vasily Koshechkin.

Lightning Return Five Prospects to Juniors

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have returned five prospect invitees to the their respective junior squads.

Goaltender Michael Zador was returned to Oshawa (OHL), while forwards Matias Sointu, Alex Hutchings, and Kyle DeCoste were returned to their OHL clubs in Ottawa, Barrie, and Sault Ste. Marie, respectively. Technically, DeCoste never participated in the Lightning training camp, having been excused last weekend due to a death in the family. Hutchings, a 2009 4th round pick, drew praise from Tampa head coach Rick Tocchet who called out Hutchings as being a player he particularly liked. The Lightning also returned defenseman Mark Barberio to Moncton (QMJHL), where he is expected to vie for QMJHL defenseman-of-the-year honors.

Tampa must sign DeCoste and Barberio to NHL contract before June 1, 2010 or face losing their rights to these players.

Prospects To Highlight Lightning Exhibition Opener

The Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice Wednesday night in Dallas, TX for their first pre-season game against the Dallas Stars. Five of BoltProspects' Top 7 ranked prospects, including the top three ranked prospects, will help kick off the Lightning's 2009-10 hockey season. Highlighting the Tampa roster will be 2009 #2 overall pick, Swedish blueline phenom Victor Hedman. Hedman will be joined by fellow 2009 draftees Richard Panik and Jaroslav Janus. Forwards Steve Downie and Dana Tyrell along with defenseman Matt Lashoff round out the remaining top prospects that will be showcased in tonight's opener. Forwards Blair Jones, Martins Karsums, and Paul Szczechura represent three more Top 20 prospects that are fighting for roster spots on the Lightning's bottom lines with overagers Drew Miller and Zenon Konopka.

The expected forward lines for Wednesday's game are:

Drew Miller - Jeff Halpern - Blair Jones
Brandon Bochenski - Paul Szczechura - Dana Tyrell
Steve Downie - Brett McLean - Richard Panik
Todd Fedoruk - Zenon Konopka - Martins Karsums

Joining Lashoff and Hedman on the blueline are newcomers David Hale and Kurtis Foster along with former prospects Matt Smaby and Mike Lundin. Joining Janus in net is 2009 free agent acquisition Antero Niittymaki.

KHL Game Day: 9/14

Vasily Koshechkin allowed 5 goals on 32 shots in Togliatti's 5-4 overtime loss to Yaroslavl.

Dimitry Kazionov was scoreless with 3 shots on goal in 12:29 in Kazan's 1-0 overtime win over KHK MVD.

Johan Harju was -2 with 2 shots on goal in Dynamo Moscow's 5-4 win over Astana. Harju's teammate Linus Omark got his first point in the KHL assisting on the game winning goal. Harju was 64% on draws in the match.

Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 28 shots in Omsk's 5-4 win over Dynamo Riga.

Tomorrow Denis Kazionov and Ekaterinburg square off with St. Petersburg.

KHL Game Day: 9/13

Denis Kazionov was scoreless with 2 shots on goal in 14:17 as Ekaterinburg fell to Cherepovets 4-1.

Tomorrow will be a heavy slate for the Lightning's Russian prospects. Vasily Koshechkin and Togliatti take on Yaroslavl. Dimitri Kazionov and Kazan face KHK MVD. Johan Harju and Dynamo Moscow will face Astana. And, finally, Karri Ramo and Omsk will face Dynamo Riga.

Smolenak Officially Signs

Lost in the excitement of the opening of camp...

(Tampa Bay Lightning release) The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have re-signed LW Radek Smolenak to a one-year contact today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.

KHL Game Day: 9/12

Josef Stumpel scored a goal with just nine seconds remaining in overtime to spoil Karri Ramo's Russian debut as Omsk fell to Astana 1-0. Ramo stopped 17 of 18 shots in the match.

Vasily Koshechkin stopped 33 of 36 shots as Togliatti defeated KHK MVD.

Dimitry Kazionov was -2 in 12:20 of ice time as Kazan fell to Spartak Moscow 4-1.

In other news, prospect Denis Kazionov has moved from Khabarovsk to Ekaterinburg. He was -1 in his debut with the club yesterday in the team's 3-1 loss to Magnitogorsk. He played 12:14 in the match. The younger Kazionov and Ekaterinburg will face off with Cherepovets tomorrow.

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