Get out the brooms. Linkopings defeated Lulea today 5-2 to complete the first round sweep in the Elitserien playoffs. Lightning prospect Andreas Holmqvist, who led the team in scoring through the first three games of the season, lasted just 3:42 into Game Four before being kicked out for an ultra-rare Swedish league fight with Lulea's Tomas Surovy, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL ranks. Despite the absence of one of their most potent offensive weapons, Linkopings still managed to win easily and now, along with #1 seed Farjestads which also completed the sweep today in their series, await an opponent to be determined in the second round.
It couldn't be anyone else this week...
Mississauga 7 @ Brampton 4
Chris Lawrence and Mississauga appear to be back on track. The IceDogs put up 7 goals in Brampton to beat the Battalion 7-4 today. Lawrence had a goal and was plus-1.
London 7 @ Owen Sound 6 (Shootout)
Owen Sound had 65 shots against the high-powered Knights, including outshooting London 23-5 in the third period, but the Attack fell 7-6 in a shootout. Marek Bartanus did not register a point, was even, and had 2 PIM. London is tied with Plymouth for the most points in the league at 100.
On the opening day of the Superleague playoffs...
#1 seed Kazan defeated #16 seed Novokuznetsk 4-2. Dimitri Kazionov remains out of the lineup for Ak Bars.
In overtime, #3 Ufa defeated #14 SKA 2-1. Anton But had the only goal of the game for St. Petersburg.
#4 Magnitogorsk massacred upstart #13 Tver 7-1. Denis Kazionov had 2 penalty minutes in the match.
Vasily Koshechkin took the loss as #11 Togliatti fell to #6 CSKA 4-1.
Alexei Glukhov and #9 Cherepovets were shutout by #8 Khimik 3-0.
All favored teams won today.
Springfield gets their butts handed to them.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 36 shots in the loss. The Falcons were outshot 36-14 in the game including a shell shocking 16-3 in the decisive opening frame in which Hartford leapt out to a 3-0 lead. Defenseman Joe Rullier made an inauspicious Falcons debut registering a -3 rating in the game, just slightly better than the team's top line veterans who each checked in at -4. Springfield allowed a disgusting two shorthanded talleys in the game.
HFD Immonen, (12) (Baranka, Degon), 6:29 (SH)
HFD Immonen, (13) (Byers), 10:52
HFD Dawes, (16) (Jessiman, Richter), 19:24
HFD Callahan, (34) (Byers, Liffiton), 7:05
HFD Callahan, (35) (Immonen), 3:51 (SH)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Chiefs fail to complete the comeback.
Ryan Munce allowed 3 goals on 22 shots before Toledo tacked on an empty net goal in the closing moments of the game. Maxime Boisclair had 2 assists with Johnstown's goals coming from Zbynek Hrdel and Ian MacLean. Gus Katsuras also had a helper in the game.
TOL Attard, (9) (Parillo, Zultek), 5:16 (PP)
TOL Hall, (2) (Blight, Mulherin), 7:48
JHN Hrdel, (8) (Katsuras, Boisclair), 8:45
TOL Sakaluk, (2) (Zultek, Sullivan), 17:07
JHN MacLean, (1) (Boisclair), 18:14 (PP)
TOL Parillo, (12) (Watson), 19:47 (EN)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
In todayâ€™s Springfield Republican they briefly mention the Edmonton rumors:
Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon met with the Booster Club prior to the game. "We have two years left on our deal with Tampa Bay," Landon said, debunking a rumor that Edmonton was planning to become Springfield's parent team next season. "I told our fans that I feel their pain." Landon also assured the fans the Falcons have not been sold and will operate next season.
As Nigel mentioned in the Greco/AHL discussion, Bill Barber and Claude Loiselle canceled their appearance with Springfield fans to watch Mike Lundin play UMass. If Maine's season is indeed finished, and considering Springfield's injuries to their defensemen (Rosehill, Rullier and now Matt Smaby), Lundin could be signed pretty quick - pending education issues, I'm sure.
UMass 5 - Maine 2
Game 2, Hockey East Tournament - First Round
UMass wins series 2-0
Mike Lundin could very well have played his last college game last night as Massachusetts knocked out the Black Bears from the Hockey East Tournament. Maine now sits on the bubble and hopes for a selection into the NCAA Tournament.
Lundin had an assist in the game, his second in as many nights, and finished a minus-1. UMass sophomore defenseman, John Wessbecker was scoreless and even in the game. UMass now plays No. 1 seed New Hampshire in the semi-finals, in a best-of-three series. The Minutemen have won six straight.
Michigan 8 - Northern Michigan 3
Game 2, CCHA Tournament - Quarterfinals
Michigan wins series 2-0
Senior, Dusty Collins more than likely played his last collegiate game last night as Michigan knocked out Northern Michigan from the CCHA Tournament. Collins was scoreless and even in the game with 2 PIM. Michigan moves on to the semi-finals against Michigan State.
Lightning win Game Eight of the '04 Finals.
Marc Denis stopped 25 of 27 shots faced in the win. The Secret Weapon, Nick Tarnasky, and Maurice, er, Vincent Lecavalier led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist each in the game. Dan Boyle added the game winning overtime goal and Tim Taylor, Jason Ward, Ruslan Fedotenko and Martin St. Louis each had individual helpers.
And tonight, I think this Lightning team took their game to another level. It might have been premature to label this team a Stanley Cup contender even up until the past few games. But, to go into a hostile building (the hardest building to get a road win in the NHL) where the entire city of Calgary of geared up for payback for the '03-'04 Finals and where there's so much emotion on the ice and come out with two points, that's the stuff of champions. And, to me, it's the way they did it. True, he only got 6:32 of ice time, but little by little Nick Tarnasky's role on the team is expanding. And, also, Jason Ward playing 13:07 and getting his first point in a Lightning jersey is also seeing his role expand. This team needs to get quality minutes out of guys like Ward and Tarnasky on their lower lines if they're going to be successful in the playoffs and as time goes by these players are starting to show they may very well be up to the challenge.
The Lightning's win, coupled with Atlanta's earlier loss to Florida, puts the Lightning back into a tie with Atlanta in points atop the Southeast Division and they've managed to eat up that game in hand the Thrashers were holding for much of the week. Good good deal. And, don't look now, Marc Denis is starting to play winning hockey again. If the Lightning can get Holmqvist and Denis playing well going into the playoffs then the team is going to have the kind of tandem that last year's Cup winner in Carolina proved can be successful.
Tampa Bay 18:25, Nick Tarnasky 4 (Tim Taylor, Jason Ward)
Calgary 13:56, Jeff Friesen 5 (Rhett Warrener, Andrei Zyuzin)
Calgary 4:28, Craig Conroy 11 (Andrei Zyuzin, Alex Tanguay)
Tampa Bay 6:35, Vincent Lecavalier 46 (Nick Tarnasky, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Tampa Bay 2:59, Dan Boyle 15 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Ramo slays Goliath.
Karri Ramo stopped 38 of 40 shots faced for the win. Norm Milley led the way offensively with a pair of goals, including a shorthanded talley. Veteran Eric Healey had the game winning goal and added an assist. Individual helpers belonged to Radek Smolenak and PJ Atherton. In 4 games since his recall, Atherton has 2 goals, 3 points and, just as importantly, a solid even rating.
Brady Greco suited up but did not play in the game for Springfield. Milley, Ramo and Healey were named the game's three stars. Ramo and the Falcons ended a Providence winning streak which had reached six games.
SPR Milley, (21) (Smolenak), 4:49
PRO Krejci, (23) (Lashoff, Glenn), 18:35 (PP)
SPR Milley, (22) (Healey, Atherton), 19:44 (SH)
SPR Healey, (24) , 2:20
PRO LeClerc, (1) (Stuart), 9:32
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.