If the Lightning had earned even half the points they've frittered away late in games this season they'd probably be winning the division right now.
The Lightning held a two goal lead with under 4 minutes in the third to play and still found a way to choke and give Tomas Vanek a hat trick in the process. Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 46 shots in the loss.
Tampa Bay 1:03, Brad Richards 18 (Jan Hlavac)
Buffalo 3:03, Derek Roy 22 (Jaroslav Spacek, Tim Connolly)
Tampa Bay 13:12, Vaclav Prospal 28 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Buffalo 17:39, Thomas Vanek 23 (Tim Connolly, Toni Lydman)
Buffalo 18:15, Thomas Vanek 24 (Tim Connolly, Derek Roy)
Buffalo 2:25, Thomas Vanek 25 (power play) (Jaroslav Spacek, Jason Pominville)
Is it really any secret why this team wilts defensively late in games? If Doug Janik is not trusted to play more than 2:43 in a game, then why the hell is he in the bigs? Seriously. If he's not traded at the deadline he should be immediately sent down to Norfolk. It would be far more logical to have Matt Smaby up with the team learning the ropes and filling a jersey than a living, breathing dead-end like Janik. And why, when the season is a bust, is a young player like Mike Lundin not getting more ice time? It might give John Tortorella and his mini-me Sullivan a heart attack to hear this, but the season is over. There's 22 more games now to help this franchise lay a foundation to have a successful 2008-2009 season, and part of laying that foundation is letting the kids play and learn in games where mistakes won't cost a playoff spot because the season is already over.
That means playing Lundin and Tarnasky more. That means giving extended recalls to guys like Smaby and Blair Jones. That means giving cups of coffee to a few guys like Justin Keller, Radek Smolenak, Mario Scalzo, Vladimir Mihalik, and Andy Rogers and actually giving them some ice time when they're up with the team.
Kelowna Rockets 1 @ Spokane Chiefs 2
G Torrie Jung, KEL: Loss, stopped 26 of 28 shots, *Second Star*
Jung took a shutout into the second half of the third period, but Spokane would score two goals, including the winner with just over 2 minutes to go in the game. Jung has not won in 5 straight starts and has lost 7 of 8 since a personal 5 game win streak in early January.
Brotherly Love: Drayson Bowman of Spokane, who scored the game winning goal, fought his brother, Collin Bowman of Kelowna, early in the third period.
WHL Playoff Update: It appears all Lightning WHL prospects will be in the playoffs with the exception of Dana Tyrell of Prince George. Kelowna (Jung) and Lethbridge (Fadden) may be the only teams with a Lightning prospect to host a first round series, however.
Multiple news sources are reporting Norfolk Admirals and former University of Michigan defenseman Kevin Quick has been charged with identity theft. Quick was accused of stealing a teammate's bank account numbers while at Michigan. He was later dismissed from the team and eventually signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with AHL Norfolk.
According to the Ann Arbor News, Quick, 19, stood mute during his arraignment in 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, which he attended with his mother and attorney. He is charged with single counts of identity theft, fraud under false pretenses, and using a computer to commit a crime.
The Buffalo, N.Y., native faces up to five to seven years in prison if he's convicted. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 12.
For more, see the Ann Arbor News.
Prince George Cougars 4 @ Portland Winter Hawks 1
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Prince George won a battle between the league's two worst teams, and with the two points moved into a tie for third last overall with Calgary. The Cougars have won 2 in a row, both on the road. Portland, who dressed just 14 skaters for the game because of injuries yet outshot PG 41-39, has lost 16 straight games. Their last win was a shootout victory over PG.
Nanaimo Clippers 2 @ Victoria Grizzlies 5
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-1-1, 0 PIM
Sioux City Musketeers 4 @ Chicago Steel 3 (OT)
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (â€œboard checkingâ€), 2 shots on goal
Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3 @ Lewiston MAINEiacs 2 (OT)
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 0 shots on goal
Regina Pats 2 @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 5
C Mitch Fadden, LET: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
Edmonton Oil Kings 2 @ Kelowna Rockets 3 (SO)
G Torrie Jung, KEL: Did not play.
Prince George Cougars 5 @ Chilliwack Bruins 4
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM
PG snapped a 7 game losing streak.
Final nail in the coffin.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.
Washington 16:12, Tomas Fleischmann 8 (power play) (Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom)
Washington 13:52, Dave Steckel 5 (Matt Bradley, Quintin Laing)
Tampa Bay 15:49, Vaclav Prospal 27 (Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 16:22, Jan Hlavac 9 (Filip Kuba, Shane O'Brien)
Washington 17:00, Alexander Semin 16 (Viktor Kozlov, Mike Green)
This game was said to be critical in determining just how much the Lightning were going to be sellers at the deadline. There was little doubt moves were going to be made, but a win here might've meant wholesale changes would've been put off until the summer. Now? Sell, sell, sell.
Maybe the game that gets Marc Denis back to the NHL?
Marc Denis stopped a preposterous 48 of 50 shots faced for the victory.
NOR Milley, (15) (Jones, Schneider), 7:25
NOR Rosehill, (2) (Mihalik, Milley), 12:22
WOR Setoguchi, (5) (Kaspar, Raduns), 16:49 (PP)
WOR Setoguchi, (6) (Traverse, Cavanagh), 17:39 (SH)
NOR Szczechura, (12) (Wanvig, Smolenak), 6:18
NOR Wanvig, (17) (Milley, Jones), 19:39 (EN)
Denis was named first star of the game while Norm Milley earned third star of the game honors. There are rumors the Lightning may put Denis through re-entry waivers in the next week or two in the hope another team will take him. And effort like tonight coupled with a great relief appearance last night will go a long way toward making that happen.
Don't look now but Vladimir Mihalik, favorite target of the Norfolk fan base, improved his +/- to even on the season with a +3 night and had an assist.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
This week's Superleague scores and updated skater statistics.