AHL Game Night 2/24: Admirals at Pirates
Jonathan Boutin is a winner!
Jonathan Boutin stopped 29 of 30 shots faced to improve his record to 12-11-3 this season, with two shutouts, a 2.94 GAA, and a .910 save percentage.
NOR Lessard, (16) (Leach, Scalzo), 7:17 (PP)
POR Wirtanen, (10) (Ryan, Salcido), 6:29 (PP)
NOR Milley, (18) (Keller, Kearns), 7:50
NOR Rosehill, (3) (Klinkhammer, Szczechura), 13:26
NOR Smolenak, (6) (Scalzo, Szczechura), 0:15
NOR Smolenak, (7) (Lessard), 16:42
Oh boy, Pete's got opinion tonight. This will get lost in the Brad Richards saga over the next week, but someone needs to stick up for Jonathan Boutin. Claude Loiselle has announced the Lightning's intention to pursue Vasily Koshechkin next summer and they already have first round pick Riku Helenius under contract for next season. A Koshechkin/Helenius tandem would inevitably push Boutin out of Norfolk and possibly out of the organization altogether, and Loiselle had some unkind things to say about Boutin earlier in the season when the Admirals were struggling. Now there's a very real possibility (and I don't want to jinx the young man) that Boutin could finish the season with a winning record, a GAA below 3.00, and a save percentage above .910. It puzzles me why the Lightning seem bent on giving up on Boutin just when the young man is finally starting to come into his own as a professional. I hope someone in this organization steps up and realizes how much this young man has improved over the past three or four years and does the right thing and finds a way to keep him around. I also hope, and I know the Ads fans agree with me, that when the deadline passes (and Denis is either gone on re-entry waivers or the reality of being stuck with him sinks in) the organization decides to give Boutin two out of every three starts from now on rather than trotting out Marc Denis every other game to underperform. This Admirals team has a chance to have a really strong last month of the season and lay the foundation for a very successful 2008-2009 season. That doesn't happen if Denis keeps fouling the nest in a rotation where one goaltender is clearly playing better than the other.
How 'bout that Radek Smolenak?
Box score from TheAHL.com.