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NHL Game Night: 2-15-15 Lightning at Sharks

The biggest win of the season thus far.

TB-5
SJ-2

Ben Bishop sparkled, allowing just 2 goals on 35 shots for the victory. He chose a good night to uncork a bottle of '13-'14 Bishop: an excellent vintage, for sure.

First Period
19:44 TB Stamkos (30), (Stralman, Filppula)

Second Period
7:12 TB Killorn (12), (Callahan, Stamkos)
10:27 SJ Couture (21), (Nieto, Irwin)

Third Period
0:10 TB Palat (12), (unassisted)
11:38 SJ Burns (15), (Marleau, Thornton)(PP)
16:19 TB Paquette (12), (Filppula, Garrison)
17:40 TB Callahan (17), (unassisted)(EN)

Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars. Remember what I wrote after the Blues game debacle? The part about the Lightning needing Hedman and Stamkos to step up and be the team's best players? Remember how I also said that when Stamkos is on his game, he makes Ryan Callahan so much better? Case it point: tonight. It wasn't the complete game from either player, but it was a good game from both Hedman and Stamkos, with Stamkos playing an integral role in manufacturing the Lightning's initial 2-0 lead and setting the tone for success. Along with Bishop playing well, you saw the triumvirate that could take the Lightning deep in the playoffs. If those three play well, the Lightning are almost impossible to beat, because it takes pressure off the d-corps and allows the ThatDisputedName/Triplets/AnotherLoveTKO line (I'm not getting into the middle of that mess) to be in a position where they just need to chip in 1 goal instead of carrying the bulk of the scoring load for the Lightning to win.

Beyond those top two lines, you also got a key insurance goal from Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Drouin looking incredibly dangerous all game long, including ringing a post that nearly put the Lightning up 3-0.

Luke Witkowski had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:52. To go through a game against the Sharks and play nearly 19 minutes and stay pretty unblemished is solid. It portends good things. Witkowski could be this Lightning team's Nolan Pratt. That's the type of guy you need if you want to win championships: a bottom pair guy who can go up and play second pair minutes when pressed into service and give you some grit, hustle, and steadiness.

Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:28. He got stone cold robbed of his first NHL goal by Niemi in the First Period.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-15-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Val-d’Or Foreurs 8 @ Sherbrooke Phoenix 7 (SO)

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-1-1, -2, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 18/24 FO, 0 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 24 GP, 14-19-33, -8, 26 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 43 GP, 15-32-47, -13, 42 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

Sherbrooke erased a 4-goal deficit they faced entering the third period, only to lose the extra point in the skills competition.

Ontario Hockey League

Niagara IceDogs 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 1

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 48 GP, 16-18-34, -9, 91 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM

Islanders pick Josh Ho-Sang came back to his old stomping grounds and had two assists to earn first star honors and pace the IceDogs to victory. There was never any doubting his skill in Windsor, just his ability to play within a team concept.

Extraliga Game Day: 2-15-15

HC Sparta Praha 7 vs. PSG Zlin 6 (OT)
Jaroslav Janus, Sparta Praha, Win, 12/13, 2.93 GAA, .923 sv%
Season totals (CZE): 2 GP, 1-1-0, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .909 sv%
Season totals (KHL): 25 GP, 6-12-5, 2 SO, 3.01 GAA, .891 sv%

Jaroslav Janus made 12 saves in relief for the victory in Sparta Praha's 7-6 win over Zlin. Janus entered the game with 30 seconds left in the Second Period. Ex-Leafs pick Karel Pilar had 3 assists in the win for Praha. Ex-Blues forward Petr Cajanek had a pair of goals in defeat for Zlin.

KHL Game Day: 12-15-14

Magnitogorsk 3 vs. Togliatti 4 (OT)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, OT Loss, 21/25, 3.75 GAA, .840 sv%
Season totals: 48 GP, 30-9-6, 5 SO, 1.79 GAA, .936 sv%

Ex-Leafs fifth rounder Dmitry Vorobiev scored the OT winner, his first goal of the season, in Lada Togliatti's 4-3 OT win over Magnitogorsk. Undrafted Czech national Jan Kovar scored a pair of goals in defeat for Magnitka.

Chelyabinsk 4 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 2
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 20-15-35, +1, 12 PIM

Nikita Gusev assisted on a goal by ex-Dallas Stars defenseman Phillip Larsen in Yugra's 4-2 loss to Traktor Chelyabinsk. It was Larsen's second goal of the contest. Gusev played 17:48 in the defeat. Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov had a goal for Traktor in the win.

Juniors Game Night: 2-14-15

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Plymouth Whalers 0

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: Did not play
With SSM: 14 GP, 4-21-25, +11, 28 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 43 GP, 14-49-63, +12, 93 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

DeAngelo served his one-game suspension for removing a helmet during a fight. The Greyhounds were also without Edmonton super prospect Darnell Nurse, yet still shut out the Whalers.

Peterborough Petes 5 @ Belleville Bulls 7

D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 43 GP, 7-17-24, -14, 64 PIM
2013-14 totals (Czech U20): 39 GP, 2-19-21, +6, 102 PIM

Jordan Subban (Canucks) had two goals to pace the Bulls to a win over the Petes.

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 0 @ Kelowna Rockets 6

C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 44 GP, 23-35-58, +5, 38 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM

Oilers first rounder Leon Draisaitl had two goals and four points and Tyson Baillie (undrafted) had two goals to lead the Rockets to a blowout win over Moose Jaw.

Calgary Hitmen 2 @ Medicine Hat Tigers 1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 44 GP, 5-20-25, +10, 20 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary returned to its winning ways after having its 9-game win streak snapped last game.

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