Preseason Game Night 9/24: Stars at Lightning

It doesn't happen often, but my goodness is this team scary when both the top lines are clicking at the same time. DAL-4 TB-7 Dan Boyle had a pair of power play goals and added an assist on the game. The Lightning power play was 3 of 6 tonight, continuing a promising trend in this preseason. Vaclav Prospal also had a pair of goals with the other three Lightning goals scored by Doug Janik, Martin St. Louis and Filip Kuba. St. Louis also had 2 helpers in the game. Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards both enjoyed incredible 4 assist nights while Dimitry Afanasenkov and [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url] each had single assists. Marc Denis stopped 28 of 32 in the win. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20062007/GS010056.HTM]NHL.com[/url]. Among the team's prospects, Doug Janik was -1 in 18:12 with 1 shot on goal. Eric Perrin was -1 in 14:40 with 3 shots on goal and 1 blocked shot. The diminutive center also had an outstanding 4 takeaways on the night. Norm Milley looked to burnish his physical credentials with 4 hits in 13:54 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot. [url=mitch-fritz]Mitch Fritz[/url] was -2 in 9:45 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. He also invited Matthew Barnaby's skull to become better acquainted with pain in a fight. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] was -1 in 10:51 with 3 hits. With Falcons camp hitting the ice tomorrow, expect another round of cuts soon.

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Fourth Line Logjam

First off, I was very pleased with the team in general tonight. Other than a few defensive mistakes, overall, their cohesiveness looked solid, their special teams in general looked much improved over last season (and I'm not going by results, since Dallas skated only half of an NHL team last night compared to only 4 guys who didn't suit up for the Bolts last night), and they looked unbelievably comfortable on the ice with Denis in net. As for what the title suggests, I am pleased to see that there is an honest competition for the final roster spot. IMO, at training camp and the first exhibition game, Alexeev solidified a roster spot, so there is only one real spot open on the forward lines. Anyways, it is good to see that I would be content with any of Milley, Perrin, or Tarnasky on the fourth line (I would mention Fritz, but the man just cannot skate at the NHL level...yet). I would even venture a bold prediction that DiMaio's spot may even be tested (and after reading Ken's blog, he seems to share the same sentiment). Finally, on to defense. With Ranger possibly being out for at least the first week of the NHL season, this opens the door for Doug Janik and Andy Delmore to at least stick with the NHL club, and with what I saw out of them last night, they would fair alright with bottom pairing positions with limited IT for now (Delmore would really make the 2nd PP unit dangerous). I like what Janik brings to the table. He's still a little raw in the defensive zone, but a year in Springfield or limited NHL time could fix that.

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