No hardware for the Lightning's European prospects...
Despite a power play goal by Lightning prospect Andreas Holmqvist, Linkopings fell in Game Six of the Elitserien finals 3-2 to MODO. MODO wins the series and the championship 4 games to 2. Holmqvist also had 2 penalty minutes in the game. Former Springfield Falcon Zdenek Blatny had a goal in the match for MODO.
Holmqvist concludes the postseason with a more than respectable 4 goals and 9 points in 13 games. Holmqvist also added 35 penalty minutes and an even rating. He will likely play for Sweden in the upcoming World Championships. A strong showing at that tournament could prompt the Lightning to re-sign Holmqvist and bring him back into the fold in North America.
It's a good thing this season is about over. Otherwise, I think mild mannered Steve Stirling might be prone to choke some of these players.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 26 shots before being pulled for Kevin Beech who allowed 2 goals on 9 shots the rest of the way. Manchester scored a remarkable 6 power play goals in the game going 6 for 12 on the man advantage.
MCH Nolan, (2) (Tukonen, O'Sullivan), 10:38 (PP)
MCH O'Sullivan, (18) (Likens, Moulson), 13:32 (PP)
MCH Lewis, (3) (Kemp, Fukufuji), 2:36 (PP)
MCH Lewis, (4) (O'Sullivan, Kemp), 11:11 (PP)
MCH Kanko, (11) (Mormina, Crosty), 13:38
MCH Westgarth, (1) (Giuliano, Kanko), 2:29 (PP)
MCH Zeiler, (12) (Tukonen, O'Sullivan), 4:24 (PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
The Draft History page has been updated to reflect 2006-2007's regular season statistics.
Fun fact: while current Florida Panther Chris Gratton holds the career Lightning draft pick mark for NHL games played (1,008), he was surpassed this season by Vincent Lecavalier in career NHL goals (233). Roman Hamrlik still holds the mark for assists (374). Gratton is second (340), then Brad Richards (306), then Daymond Langkow (296). Gratton also holds the mark for career points (544) although his lead is a scant 34 points ahead of Lecavalier (510), who passed Hamrlik (505) this season. Lecavalier and Richards have played just 629 and 490 NHL games, for comparison purposes.
Not so fun fact: in just one season Columbus' Fredrik Norrena swept the Lightning draft pick career marks for games played (55) and wins (24) away from Zac Bierk (47 games played, 9 wins). Norrena became the first Lightning draft pick ever to reach double digits in wins. How sad is that?
More inside the numbers...
So close and yet so far...
Defending champions Ak Bars Kazan saw their repeat title hopes slip through their fingers today as Metallurg Magnitogorsk claimed a narrow 2-1 victory in the deciding Game Five to win the Superleague championship. Dimitri Kazionov, in what may have been his final game in Russia before coming to North America to play in the Lightning organization, was scoreless in the match.
Kazionov finished the playoffs with 2 goals and 4 points in 13 games and 4 penalty minutes and a +1 rating.
MODO knocked off Linkopings 2-1 in Game Five to take a 3-2 lead in their best of seven Elitserien finals series. Lightning prospect defenseman Andreas Holmqvist had 2 penalty minutes in the game. With their backs squarely against the wall, Linkopings heads into Game Six which is scheduled for Saturday.
With any kind of goaltending, the Lightning would've won this game 3-1.
Johan Holmqvist was awful in Game One. Awful. 5 goals on 24 shots in the loss and 3 of those were soft goals and the final goal of the game came on a terrible decision to move the puck rather than freezing it after he originally put his glove down on the biscuit on the play. Where do you go from here in net? Holmer's confidence might be 100% shattered right now. Denis has been publicly told to get lost, for all intents and purposes. And, while I have confidence in Karri Ramo and his abilities, he hasn't started a hockey game in close to a month and he's never started a game at the NHL level.
And the frustrating thing is the other 18 guys on the rink tonight for the Lightning definitely played well enough to win. They were the better team on balance. Vincent Lecavalier got loose for 2 goals. Martin St. Louis had 1 goal and 1 assist. Brad Richards, Dan Boyle and Vaclav Prospal all had assists. All the big guns, for the most part, got theirs and the Lightning also got particularly strong games from Jason Ward and Nick Tarnasky. Perhaps that's the silver lining: if the Lightning can find someone, ANYONE, who won't allow goals to go through them (the Devils' first goal), or to beat them on unscreened wristers from the side boards around the top of the circles (the Devils' second goal), or to get beaten on an emotionally deflating short side goal just moments after getting the game tied (the Devils fourth goal), then they should be able to handle New Jersey in this series.
On paper, the Lightning's goaltending situation is so much improved over last season, and yet there was something terribly Grahame-esque vs. Ottawa about Holmer tonight. Games Two and Three will be interesting.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Everett 3 @ Prince George 4 (Overtime)
Best-of-7 series tied 2-2
The Prince George Cougars got an overtime goal from Nicolas Drazenovic (St. Louis Blues) to beat the top-seeded Everett Silvertips 4-3 and tie their series at 2. Down 2 games to 0 heading back to Prince George, the Cougars won both home games and not the series goes back to Everett for Game 5 on Saturday. Both Vladimir Mihalik (Prince George) and Dane Crowley (Everett) were scoreless and minus-1. Crowley had a minor penalty for tripping in the third period.
Kazan struck even in their Superleague final series by knocking off Magnitogorsk 4-3 on Game Four. Dimtri Kazionov was scoreless in the match. Kazan's win sets up a decisive Game Five matchup on Friday.
I'll say it again: the Lightning need to make sure to take David Spina with them to Norfolk.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 3 goals on 14 shots before being pulled for Kevin Beech who allowed 3 on 33 shots to take the backdoor loss. David Spina and Norm Milley each had 2 goals in the game. Veterans Kyle Wanvig, Daniel Corso and Eric Healey each had 2 assists. Jacob Micflikier and Nick Kuiper added individual helpers.
Spina now has 15 goals and 35 points in 71 games this season. Over the last 11 games Spina has 7 goals and 13 points including 4 multi-point games. This comes at a time when Steve Stirling has chastized some of his players for simply going through the motions down the stretch of an otherwise lost season. Spina has now spent over 1-1/2 years playing in the Lightning's system in Springfield after being signed as an ATO midway through last season. His speed and his character have made him the rare success story among minor league players adjusting to the Lightning's style of play. Tampa has invested too much time in developing Spina not to take him to Norfolk.
SPR Milley, (25) (Corso, Healey), 5:00
MCH Kanko, (10) (Ryan, Giuliano), 5:20
MCH Harrold, (7) (Clarke, Murray), 8:21 (PP)
MCH Jackman, (18) (Schmidt), 16:28
SPR Spina, (14) (Wanvig, Micflikier), 19:24
SPR Milley, (26) (Healey, Corso), 2:35 (PP)
MCH Jackman, (19) (Murray, Clarke), 6:07 (PP)
MCH Likens, (2) (Murray, Westgarth), 15:34
MCH Likens, (3) (Ryan, Lewis), 10:53
SPR Spina, (15) (Kuiper, Wanvig), 15:58
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
According to the Portland Press Herald, University of Maine senior defensman Mike Lundin does not plan to sign any potential professional contract until after the university's Spring classes are complete.
It was speculated that Lundin, an alternate captain for the Black Bears who had 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points this year, may be signed and placed in Johnstown for the ECHL playoffs after his team was finished. There was a small window between Maine's loss to Michigan State and Johnstown's elimination loss last night when this could have happened.
Of interest: Maine's leading scorer (tied), Mike Laveille, a 5'9", 180 pound playmaking center, is expected to sign an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs' affiliate, the Toronto Marlies this week. Laveille tied for the club lead in scoring with senior forward Josh Soares, who has signed on with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL (St. Louis Blues affiliate).