What a bizarre game with a disconcerting outcome.
Johan Holmqvist stopped just 10 of 13 shots he faced for the loss before giving way to Marc Denis who stopped 5 of 6 before Washington tacked on an empty net goal. The Lightning outshot the Caps by a stunning 50-20 margin including a 16 shot first period and a mind blowing 25 shot third period. Olaf Kolzig, however, was up to the task. Dan Boyle had 2 assists to lead the Lightning attack. Nick Tarnasky and Vincent Lecavalier scored the Lightning goals. For Tarnasky, it was his first in the NHL with Blair Jones and Ryan Craig getting individual assists in the game.
The downside of the night's outcome is the team squandered an opportunity to move into a tie for second in the division with Carolina and to pick up a point against Atlanta. On paper, the Lightning's schedule in December and January looks potentially brutal so the Lightning must get points when they play lesser opponents like Washington. You can't necessarily fault their effort tonight against the Caps, but the points left on the table still hurt.
Washington 14:12, Kris Beech 2 (Matt Pettinger, Alexander Semin)
Washington 1:53, Boyd Gordon 2 (shorthanded) (Matt Pettinger)
Washington 16:29, Alexander Semin 9 (Brian Sutherby, Steve Eminger)
Washington 18:30, Chris Clark 6 (Alexander Ovechkin, John Erskine)
Tampa Bay 5:10, Nick Tarnasky 1 (Blair Jones, Dan Boyle)
Tampa Bay 10:03, Vincent Lecavalier 11 (Ryan Craig, Dan Boyle)
Washington 18:51, Alexander Ovechkin 16 (empty net) (unassisted)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Denis Kazionov scored his first goal of the CHL-Russia Challenge tonight to go along with 2 penalty minutes, but it wasn't enough as the Russians fell to Team OHL 4-3. Kazionov has enjoyed a strong tour of North America thus far picking up points in 3 of the 4 games he has played thus far against select teams from the QMJHL and OHL. Through four games, Kazionov has 1 goal and 4 points. Denis plays his hockey in the Russian Superleague, the top men's league in Russia, despite the fact he won't turn 19 until December 8th. The young winger plays primarily a fourth line role for the club team Tver.
Vasily Koshechkin was again out of the lineup as Mike Fountain and Togliatti fell to Khabarovsk 4-3.
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless in Yaroslavl's 2-1 loss to Magnitogorsk.
Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless as Kazan smoked Novokuznetsk 7-0.
Holy cow. Who'd have thought the Lightning could do THAT in the same week and a half they took a 7-2 beat down from Buffalo?
Johan Holmqvist continued his iron fisted hold on the starting goaltending gig stopping 22 of 23 shots faced. Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Filip Kuba led the way offensively with 1 goal and 1 assist each. Eric Perrin, Paul Ranger and Dan Boyle each had individual assists in the game. Don't look know, but quiet like a thief in the night Kuba is on a pace for 10 goals and about 55 points. Pavel who? Dollar for dollar, you can make an argument Filip was one of the best free agent signings in the NHL last summer.
Ottawa 3:34, Jason Spezza 11 (Dany Heatley, Andrej Meszaros)
Tampa Bay 10:28, Filip Kuba 3 (Eric Perrin, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 11:04, Brad Richards 9 (Filip Kuba, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 18:42, Martin St. Louis 15 (power play) (Paul Ranger, Dan Boyle)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Marek Bartanus was scoreless with 2 penalty minutes in Owen Sound's 2-1 loss to Saginaw. Bartanus has just 1 point in his last 8 games. That's rather underwhelming for a player looking to earn a contract with his signing deadline coming up in the summer.
Kevin Beech stopped 25 of 27 shots faced in Sudbury's 4-2 win over Barrie. Beech is now 9-9-1-2 this season with a 3.39 GAA and .889 save percentage. Those numbers are also underwhelming for a player looking to earn a contract, in this case in an organization which has grown crowded with goaltenders.
Dane Crowley was kicked out for instigating a brawl with Dustin Moore in the second period of Swift Current's 5-2 loss to Red Deer. Crowley left the game at +1 with 17 penalty minutes.
Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless as Prince George defeated Chilliwack 3-2.
Why does it feel like when Ramo doesn't start it's an automatic L?
If you ever needed a clearer example of why Karri Ramo is by far and away Springfield's MVP through the first quarter of the season, consider the last two nights an object lesson. Last night the Falcons entered the third period with a three goal lead and were barely outshot in the final frame. Ramo, however, stood on his head and made the key saves necessary to preserve the win. Tonight, against the same opponent, the Falcons built a two goal lead heading into the third period where they were again badly outshot (16-7). Sean Burke, unlike Ramo, did not weather the storm well at all. Eric Healey had 1 goal and 1 assist for the Falcons while Daniel Corso had 2 assists. Norm Milley snapped a long scoreless streak (6 games) with a goal and Andy Delmore had an individual helper. Sean Burke stopped 28 of 33 shots faced for the loss.
Clearly, the Falcons need to get better in the final frame. It seems to be by far their worst period of late and it shouldn't require the goaltender having to stare down a 16 shot barrage to get a win. Still, it seems that for now Coach Stirling needs to play Ramo until he drops because that is almost the team's only chance of getting wins these days. The Falcons are now 2-7 in decisions where Ramo doesn't figure in the final outcome and Burke is a team worst 2-5-0 with a 4.52 GAA and .856 save percentage.
SPR Healey, (7) (Corso, Delmore), 11:16 (PP)
SPR Milley, (7) (Corso, Healey), 5:56 (PP)
WOR Iggulden, (9) (Prudden, Kurtz), 1:53
WOR Rome, (2) (Cavanagh, Kaspar), 9:49
WOR Valette, (5) (Iggulden, Prudden), 11:48
WOR Darche, (19) (Stevenson, Armstrong), 12:32
WOR Armstrong, (7) (Stevenson, Darche), 17:38
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.