It's getting better, but still not quite there.
Mike Smith was the hard luck shootout loser stopping 21 of 21 in regulation and overtime before allowing 1 of 3 in the penalty shot session.
The Lightning outshot Minnesota 32-21 in the game.
Janne Niskala had 3 shots and 1 hit in 12:37.
David Koci had 4 penalty minutes in 0:41 of ice time (3 shifts).
Steven Stamkos had 4 shots and 2 hits and was 50% on draws in 13:56. He also failed to convert in the shootout session.
The wheels came off for Norfolk in the final frame.
Karri Ramo allowed 5 goals on 41 shots in the loss as the Admirals tasted defeat at the hands of their former mate, Marc Denis.
HAM D'Agostini, (1) (Lehoux, Valentenko), 11:59 (PP)
NOR Segal, (2) (Szczechura, Jones), 18:00
NOR Smolenak, (3) (Bochenski), 18:13
HAM D'Agostini, (2) (Trotter), 2:02
HAM Glumac, (2) (Desharnais), 5:57 (PP)
HAM Glumac, (3) (Desharnais, Henry), 9:54
HAM Weber, (2) (Maxwell, D'Agostini), 11:44 (PP)
NOR Segal, (3) (Smolenak, Szczechura), 13:59
HAM Russell, (1) (Henry), 18:45 (EN)
Radek Smolenak was named the game's third star after recording a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
No.7 Miami Redhawks 3 @ No.17 Vermont Catamounts 4
C/W Matt Marshall, UVM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Vermont got the game winner late in the third from undersized Justin Milo, a Cornell transfer who plays in the outfield for the Catamountsâ€™ baseball team. It was his third goal of the season.
Tyrell gets a First Star ... Witkowski makes Fargo debut ... Tokarski another win
Augusta drops its 2008-09 season opener to Tampa's former ECHL affiliate. Recently assigned goaltender Riku Helenius did not play. Joel Martin allowed 4 goals on only 18 shots. Kevin Quick, who started on the blueline paired with newly acquired defenseman Brock Wilson, was held pointless and -2 with 3 shots.
Former Lightning goaltending prospect Ryan Munce, who signed with Mississippi as a free agent, stopped 39 of 41 Augusta shots enroute to second star honors. Munce picks up where he left off last season as the Sea Wolves goalie. Augusta continues its season Saturday night on the road against the South Carolina Stingrays.
Norfolk gets a win in its first road game of the season.
Karri Ramo, like all the goaltenders in the organization these days, shouldered a heavy burden stopping 39 of 41 shots faced for the win.
LE Willsie, (3) (Ledin), 1:24
NOR Szczechura, (2) (Bochenski), 2:22 (PP)
NOR Smolenak, (2) (Szczechura, Segal), 14:39
LE Dupuis, (1) (Hendricks, MacKenzie), 3:11
NOR Szczechura, (3) (Segal), 5:16
NOR Bochenski, (2) , 11:56
The Smolenak/Szczechura/Segal line looks like a winner, and the way Szczechura continues to rack up points he might make a run for AHL MVP if he can keep healthy.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Brampton Battalion 5 @ Barrie Colts 4
W Kyle DeCoste, BRA: Did not play
Season totals: DeCoste: 8 GP, 3-1-4, -3, 13 PIM
DeCoste was serving the second game of his two game suspension. He was suspended two games for getting into a second fight with Sudburyâ€™s Eric Oâ€™Dell in a previous game. The second fight came during a stoppage in play.
Jung is expected to give the â€˜Canes an experienced back-up to Juha Metsola (undrafted).
The Kelowna Rockets have announced they have officially traded goaltender Torrie Jung to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a sixth round Bantam draft pick in 2010.
Jung joins fellow Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden in Lethbridge. He had been staying at his Nanaimo, B.C. home waiting for a trade. Jung was expected to be Kelowna's No.1 goaltender this year, but a pre-season trade for a more experienced No.1 changed things for the former seventh round pick.
Kind of a rough night for Olaf Kolzig, allowing two goals on bad rebounds kicked up the slot and then giving the Islanders the winner on a puck handling mistake. He stopped 32 of 36 for the overtime loss.
02:47 NYI Mike Comrie, (Kyle Okposo, Bruno Gervais)
13:54 NYI Doug Weight, (Bill Guerin, Frans Nielsen) (PP)
03:43 TBL Vincent Lecavalier, (Vaclav Prospal, Andrej Meszaros)
12:02 TBL Vaclav Prospal, (Andrej Meszaros, Lukas Krajicek) (PP)
13:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Jeff Tambellini, Mike Comrie)
14:57 TBL Ryan Malone, (Jussi Jokinen, Janne Niskala)
00:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Frans Nielsen)
There are hopeful signs. For the first time this season, the Lightning allowed less than 40 shots and the team finished square in shots on goal at 36.
Janne Niskala had 1 assists, 1 shot on goal, and 4 penalty minutes in 12:00 of ice time.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, and was 50% on draws in 9:22. Seem Stamkos? Still, not so much.
According to a report in the Augusta Chronicle, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltending prospect and 2006 1st round pick Riku Helenius from the AHL's Norfolk Admirals to the ECHL's Augusta Lynx. This move was not unexpected as Helenius had been a healthy scratch for both of Norfolk's season opening games last weekend behind goaltenders Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna.
Helenius joins Tampa defensive prospect Kevin Quick who was reassigned last week, and the Lynx expect Helenius' arrival by as early as noon on Thursday. The Lynx open their 2008-09 season at home Friday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
This season might prove to be a challenge for the Lynx with a relatively young and inexperienced roster comprised of nine rookies and seven more 2nd year pros. No player on the Lynx roster qualifies as an ECHL veteran of 250 professional games.