And, just like that, the Lightning no longer control their division title destiny.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 24 shots for the loss while Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 5 shots in relief. Filip Kuba had the only Lightning goal off assists from Doug Janik and Nick Tarnasky. The Lightning now trail Atlanta by six points in the division with a game in hand after the Thrashers' overtime win against Buffalo today. Just 4 points separate 6th place Tampa Bay and the 9th place New York Islanders now, putting the Lightning in the uncomfortable position of not only seeing their division title hopes slip away, but also seeing that making the playoffs may become a difficult task as well.
Bad, bad, bad time of year for a three game losing streak.
Washington 5:31, Tomas Fleischmann 3 (Boyd Gordon)
Washington 13:38, Tomas Fleischmann 4 (Kris Beech, Milan Jurcina)
Washington 1:14, Alexander Semin 35 (power play) (Chris Clark, Brian Pothier)
Washington 6:45, Alexander Semin 36 (Tomas Fleischmann)
Washington 8:18, Alexander Semin 37 (Kris Beech, Matt Bradley)
Tampa Bay 17:44, Filip Kuba 11 (Doug Janik, Nick Tarnasky)
Washington 10:34, Alexandre Giroux 2 (unassisted)
Washington 17:55, Boyd Gordon 5 (Tomas Fleischmann, Shaone Morrisonn)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The 2007 NCAA Tournament bracket is set. 16 teams make up the bracket with four different regions of four teams. The winners of the regionals will meet in St. Louis for the Frozen Four, Arpil 5-7.
Three different teams will have Lightning prospects. Boston College and backup goaltender Joe Pearce are the No. 2 seed in the Northeast region and will face No. 3 seed St. Lawerence. Boston College won the Hockey East tournament.
John Wessbecker and UMass got the No. 4 seed in the East region and will take on No. 1 seed Clarkson, who won the ECAC tournament.
Mike Lundin and Maine, who were on the bubble after losing early in the HEast tourney, got the No. 3 seed in the East region and will face St. Cloud State.
Notable teams that did not make the tournament were Denver, Colorado College, Vermont, and last year's National Champs, Wisconsin. The first round begins next weekend. Bracket
London 6 @ Erie 4
Kevin Beech did indeed get the Otters' final start of the season and it will be the last start of Beech's junior career as he is an overager. Beech gave up 7 goals on 39 shots last night in 2 periods. Tonight, Beech gave up 6 on 33 shots for the game. Usually outshot by a large margin night in and night out, the lowly Otters had 60 shots in their favor. Erie finishes the year with a record of 15-50-1-2.
Beech's season stat line (Sudbury, Erie): 19-29-2-4, 3.92 GAA, .891 sv%, 1 shutout.
Kingston 3 @ Mississauga 4
Chris Lawrence had an assist as the IceDogs finished their regular season with a win over the Frontenacs. He had an even rating for the game. Mississauga will play either Sudbury or Ottawa in the first round.
Lawrence's season stat line: 64 GP, 47-41-88, +29, 113 PIM.
Guelph 5 @ Owen Sound 4
Marek Bartanus was scoreless and even with a fight as the Attack lost at home to the Storm. Owen Sound will get the "honor" of playing top seeded London in the first round of the playoffs.
Bartanus's season stat line: 57 GP, 6-14-20, -9, 56 PIM.
Vancouver 0 @ Everett 2
Dane Crowley was scoreless as the Silvertips finished out their regular season with a home win over the Giants. Crowley was scoreless and even. Everett will play Spokane in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
Crowley's season stat line (Swift Current, Everett): 62 GP, 8-28-36, +1, 124 PIM.
Prince George 2 @ Kelowna 3
Vladimir Mihalik had an assist and a fight in the Cougar's final game of the season - a 3-2 loss to Kelowna. Prince George plays Kamloops in the first round.
Mihalik's season stat line: 53 GP, 7-19-26, +2, 91 PIM.
Alexei Glukhov and #9 Cherepovets' season ended by the slimmest of margins today as they fell 1-0 to #8 Khimik in the decisive Game Five of their opening round playoff series. Glukhov finishes the playoffs scoreless in 5 games with 4 penalty minutes and a -3 rating.
The next round of the Russian Superleague playoffs begins Tuesday. In series involving Lightning prospects:
#1 Kazan (Dimitri Kazionov)
#7 Yaroslavl (Evgeny Artyukhin)
With the weight of the affiliation dissolving seemingly lifted off their shoulders, Springfield responds.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 29 of 31 shots faced for the win. Veteran Eric Healey led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist while new Falcon Joe Rullier had a trifecta of assists. David Spina added 2 goals and the Falcons' other newcomer, Nick Kuiper, had two helpers. Stephen Baby had the other Falcons goal and Justin Keller, Dan Cavanaugh and Norm Milley had individual assists. ATO player Dusty Collins was -1 with 2 shots on goal in his professional debut.
Kyle Wanvig and Ryan Munce were not available for the game due to travel problems presumably because of the snowstorm that has enveloped the Northeast. Karri Ramo was not listed as a healthy scratch in Springfield's game recap, for those who need fuel for the speculation he has been recalled.
SPR Healey, (25) (Keller, Milley), 11:04
SPR Healey, (26) (Rullier, Kuiper), 18:33 (SH)
HFD Bourret, (12) (Degon, Lampman), 4:27 (PP)
SPR Baby, (2) (Rullier, Healey), 16:25 (PP)
SPR Spina, (9) (Rullier), 19:44 (SH)
HFD Olver, (1) , 8:34
SPR Spina, (10) (Cavanaugh, Kuiper), 17:57 (EN)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
The sun may be setting on the Chiefs' season.
Morgan Cey allowed 2 goals on 22 shots in the loss. Ian MacLean had the Chiefs goal off assists from Grant Jacobsen and Brandon Elliot. Johnstown is now 7 points behind Trenton for the final North Division playoff spot with just 1 game in hand and 8 points behind Reading with 3 games in hand.
REA Becker, (9) (Wing, Francisco), 8:03
REA Christie, (4) (Cohen, Zappala), 1:45
JHN MacLean, (2) (Jacobsen, Elliott), 15:00
REA Bala, (19) , 19:28 (EN)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
The Springfield Falcons have announced that defenseman Matt Smaby has been recalled to Tampa Bay of the NHL. In addition, forward Kyle Wanvig has been returned to the Falcons and goaltender Ryan Munce has been recalled from Johnstown of the ECHL.
Jonathan Boutin is in net tonight being backed up by Bryon Lewis, an emergency goaltender who was signed yesterday by the Springfield Falcons. This points to either an injury to Karri Ramo or a recall to Tampa Bay. Munce is still with Johnstown, apparently, playing backup tonight against Reading.
According to ECHL.com, the Johnstown Chiefs have signed Northern Michigan left winger Rob Lehtinen. Lehtinen, who stands at 5'11" 195 lbs, played 41 games this season for the Wildcats scoring 4 goals and 16 points with 26 penalty minutes and a -4 rating. In his 156 game NCAA career, Lehtinen compiled 17 goals and 55 points. Prior to college, Lehtinen played two seasons in the USHL for the Waterloo Blackhawks where he compiled 17 goals and 49 points in 120 games. Lehtinen was a four year teammate at Northern Michigan of Lightning prospect Dusty Collins who recently signed an ATO contract with the Springfield Falcons.
New Hampshire 3 - UMass 2 (2OT)
Game 1 - Hockey East Tournament - Semi-finals
John Wessbecker and UMass' HEast tournament run came to an end as No. 1 seed New Hampshire's Bobby Butler scored 1:30 into the second extra period. Wessbecker was scoreless and even in the game with one shot.
The semi-finals and finals of the HEast tournament are single elimination after a best of three series in the first two rounds. New Hampshire takes on Boston College in Saturdays final.
Peterborough 3 @ Mississauga 9
Chris Lawrence had a hat trick to keep pace with Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier for the organizational lead in goal scoring. Lawrence scored his 45th, 46th, and 47th goals for the IceDogs, while adding 2 assists for a 5 point night. Lecavalier scored his 47th and 48th in a loss to Buffalo tonight. Lawrence was also plus-5 as the top line of Jadran Beljo (2+4), Michael Swift (2+4), and Lawrence (3+2) combined for 17 points and a plus-15 rating. The line also swept the three stars, with the center, Swift (undrafted), getting first, Lawrence second and Beljo (undrafted) third.
Erie 3 @ London 9
Kevin Beech may have played his last junior game tonight. Unfortunately, it's one he'll likely want to forget. Beech, an overager, started for the Otters and allowed 7 goals on 39 shots through two periods before being pulled. Erie plays their last game of a forgettable season tomorrow night at home to the OHL leading Knights. If you thought Lawrence and his linemates had a good night, likely 2007 top-2 pick Patrick Kane had 4 goals and 3 assists for London in the game.
Owen Sound 2 @ Kitchener 4
Marek Bartanus was scoreless and even in the Attack's 4-2 loss in Kitchener.
Prince George 0 @ Vancouver 2
This was a meaningless game for the Cougars, but they could have at least given an effort. Prince George only put up 14 shots in the shutout loss. Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless and had 4 PIM (checking-from-behind, hooking).
Everett 1 @ Tri-City 3
Another meaningless game for Everett, who has clinched home ice throughout the playoffs. This is the Silvertips third loss in a row, but they remain resting their stars for the postseason. Dane Crowley was back from his one-game vacation and was scoreless, even, and had 2 PIM (delay of game).