NHL Game Night 1/17: Panthers at Lightning

It was an organization-wide choke fest tonight.

FLA-4
TB-3

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 21 shots in the loss.

First Period
04:37 TB Lecavalier (19), (Smaby, Prospal)
13:36 TB Prospal (10), (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
17:55 FLA Campbell (9), (Peltonen, Dvorak)
18:46 TB Malone (13), (St. Louis, Meszaros)

Second Period
06:39 FLA Stillman (10), (Horton, Bouwmeester)(PP)
10:56 FLA Zednik (6), (Booth, Horton)
19:59 FLA Bouwmeester (10), (Stillman, Horton)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

In the NHL, you can never take your foot off the gas and expect a team to lay down when you only have a two goal lead. Lukas Krajicek allowed himself to be outhustled by Nathan Horton to set up Florida's second goal and it was all downhill from there. By the time the Lightning got back to playing at full speed, Florida had gone into full blown trap mode. This is something they've done a couple of times before this season, and hopefully they'll finally get the message. No two goal lead is really safe.

Matt Smaby had 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes in 14:53.

David Koci was +1 in 4:08.

Kevin Quick was +1 with 3 shots in 17:52. He was also out on the ice when the Lightning pulled Smith at the end of the game. That speaks volumes about how the coaching staff feels about Quick.

Now, that said, I am really looking forward to the team getting Paul Ranger back in the lineup and healthy. Playing Lukas Krajicek and Steve Eminger 25+ minutes a night just isn't a sustainable way to win hockey games.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night 1/17: Sharks at Admirals

Massive choke.

WOR-6
NOR-5 (OT)

Karri Ramo allowed 6 goals on 44 shots in the overtime loss.

First Period
WOR Traverse, (3) , 0:34
NOR Kearns, (10) (Boyle, Smolenak), 1:55
NOR Jones, (7) (Keller, Kearns), 4:39
NOR Gratton, (3) (Keller), 15:23
NOR Jones, (8) (Kearns, Mihalik), 17:09
NOR Lawrence, (3) (Bochenski, Potulny), 18:19

Second Period
WOR Armstrong, (16) (Zalewski, Traverse), 0:14
WOR Vesce, (13) (Kaspar, Westgarth), 17:37 (SH)
WOR McGinn, (9) (Demers, Moore), 18:53 (PP)

Third Period
WOR Demers, (2) (Traverse, Armstrong), 8:36 (PP)

Overtime
WOR Vesce, (14) (Moore, Fornataro), 3:04

That's a 5-1 lead choked away. A total team failure. And that's two points in two nights that the Admirals left on the table, which right now is the difference between being 9 points out of the last playoff spot and 11 points.

Lots of Admirals returned to the lineup this weekend from injury. Andy Rogers was -3 in his first game back in a month. Brandon Segal returned after about three weeks out and earned a penalty shot in the third that probably could've iced the victory, but could not convert. Juraj Simek played in his second game since a layoff of over a month.

Bracken Kearns and Blair Jones were the game's second and third stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/16

Ward continues to produce in Cape Breton ... another First Star for Fadden ... Tokarski strengthens league-leading stats ... Calgary knocks off Vancouver in battle of the WHL's top teams.

NCAA Game Night: 1/16

Providence Friars 5 @ Massachusetts Minutemen 4
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, 1 SOG, -2
Season totals: 19GP, 0-3-3, +9, 18 PIM

#8 Vermont Catamounts 1 @ #3 Northeastern Huskies 3
F Matt Marshall Ver: 0-0-0, 3 SOG, Even
Season totals: 13GP, 1-1-2, 8 PIM, +1

AHL Game Night 1/16: Sharks at Admirals

The Admirals can ill afford to leave single points on the table.

WOR-3
NOR-2 (SO)

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 41 shots before surrendering 3 goals on 7 shooters for the shootout loss.

First Period
NOR Kearns, (9) , 2:30 (SH)

Second Period
NOR Bochenski, (13) (Potulny, Lundin), 3:54
WOR Mitchell, (1) (McGinn, Lemieux), 15:15

Third Period
WOR Fornataro, (4) (Vesce), 6:00

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WOR- Vesce, McGinn, Fornataro
NOR- Keller, Smolenak

Bracken Kearns was named the game's second star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/15

OHL
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 1 @ Brampton Battalion 5
W Kyle DeCoste, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 8-6-14, -15, 51 PIM
With SSM: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM

NHL Game Night 1/15: Flyers at Lightning

I may not have much faith in this club's ownership or the GM, but I believe in Rick Tocchet.

PHI-1
TB-4

Mike Smith stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win. He never looked completely settled or comfortable tonight, but the team played great in front of him.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
05:21 PHI Lupul (15), (Carter, Carle)(PP)
14:48 TB St. Louis (17), (Stamkos, Recchi)
15:13 TB Meszaros (2), (Malone, Recchi)(PP)
16:51 TB Craig (2), (Pettinger, Hall)

Third Period
12:34 TB Lecavalier (18), (unassisted)(PS)

I said after the debacle in San Jose that the last 36 hours was going to be a real test of whether or not Rick Tocchet has gotten these guys to buy into what he's doing in Tampa Bay. It would've been easy for these guys to lay down against a physical Philadelphia team on a short turnaround after a West Coast swing. They're down in the standings and they just got embarassed. It would've been so simple for these guys just to not show up tonight.

Test passed. A+. I don't know if these guys can play much better than they did tonight. Philly had no answer. They outhustled and outmuscled a Flyers franchise that has lived playing that style for some 30+ years. I'll say it again: I don't trust this ownership. I blame Len Barrie for a lot of the garbage that's happened this season, and Oren Koules is the guy whose bright idea it was to bring in Barry Melrose. I don't have a lot of faith in Brian Lawton either, as I'm not sure his philosophy meshes perfectly with what Tocchet is doing and he clumsily unloaded an entire clip in his foot with the Lecavalier situation. But Rick Tocchet? Mike Sullivan? Wes Walz? Cap Raeder? I believe in what these coaches are doing. I hope the rest of the clowns in ownership and the front office shut their yaps and quit the power plays and the backroom politics and take a look at what is happening on the ice. Rick Tocchet and his staff are building something here. Give the man what he needs to finish the job, and then get the hell out of the way.

Steve Downie had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in a pesty, pesky 11:22. I love players in the Darcy Tucker/Sheldon Keefe agitator mold like fat kids love chocolate cake, and I can't wait until Downie is a full time member of this team.

David Koci had 10 penalty minutes in 6:55.

Kevin Quick had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 10:07. Other than a pretty stinky early shift, he was good tonight in a game where, on paper, you'd expect him to struggle against a big, physical opponent. He's changing the pecking order in this organization with every shift.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Recall Downie, Reassign Mihalik to Norfolk

Tampa Bay Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today that the club has reassigned prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik to the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) and have recalled prospect forward Steve Downie from the Admirals.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/14

Courtnall plays in BCHL All-Star Game ... Fadden and TC lose to Backlund and Kelowna ... Tokarski honored in pregame ceremony before making his 2009 WHL debut.

Rogers Vies for a Comeback

By Corine Gatti
NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk defenseman Andy Rogers did not anticipate the difficulty or adjustments he would endure at the start of his professional career. Now, it's a fight to prove to himself and to the brass upstairs that he can move on.

Riddled with injuries and the usual lack of maturity found in many players, Rogers was slipping behind on the depth charts. After two seasons of moving off the radar, Rogers entered the final year of his three-year entry-level contract this season and the 22-year-old started to hush critics. Before the 2008-09 campaign, Rogers had a solid outing at camp for Tampa Bay. He climbed out of obscurity and moved up in the depth charts and prospect rankings during the fall. Rogers’ skating developed further this season, along with working developing better gap control. The Calgary, Alberta native earned 16 to 24 minutes of ice time under the leadership of Norfolk coach, Darren Rumble, according to Admirals General Manager Mike Butters.

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