If Vincent Lecavalier played in a bigger market, there'd be no doubt who the MVP would be this season.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier had 1 goal and 2 assists to boost his season point total to 106. If you had a fever that high, you'd be dead. Dan Boyle had 1 goal and 1 assist and is now just one goal shy of the difficult to reach 20 goal mark for a defenseman. Also with 1 goal (shorthanded) and 1 assist Martin St. Louis goes into triple digits with a sick but still non-lethal 101. And, Cory Sarich had a multi-point night with 2 assists?!?!? Stock up on canned goods, people. Ryan Craig and Jason Ward had the other Lightning goals with individual helpers going to Paul Ranger, Andreas Karlsson, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal.
With the win the Lightning keep pace with Atlanta three points back in the division with their head-to-head match up still on tap in the season finale. They gain two points on the Islanders, who lost tonight, and maintain their gap on victorious Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers.
Some numbers to consider as we enter the waning games of the season:
-As mentioned, with one more goal Dan Boyle will reach 20 goals for a defenseman.
-With 4 more points, Filip Kuba would reach the 40 point plateau. Difficult, but not impossible.
-Despite missing almost 10 games with a knee injury, Paul Ranger is 3 points shy of the 30 point plateau. Also difficult, but not impossible.
-Netminder Johan Holmqvist recorded his 26th win of the season last night. Even if the Lightning run the table, he cannot reach 30 wins. Darn the flu.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
If the playoffs started tonight, Johnstown would be in.
Morgan Cey stopped 35 of 35 shots faced for the shutout. ATO Rob Lehtinen led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist while red hot Radek Smolenak had a pair of assists. John Adams had the other Chiefs goal and Marek Kvapil also stayed hot with an assist. Cey, Lehtinen and Adams were the game's three stars.
The win moves Johnstown back to .500 for the season at 31-31-6 and moves one point ahead of Reading into the final playoff spot in the ECHL North Division while still holding a game in hand. With Wheeling losing tonight to Cincinnati, Johnstown should have a 2 point lead on the Nailers as well at night's end. Johnstown controls their destiny and is now riding a three game winning streak in which they have beaten Cincinatti (#2 in the North Division), Toledo (#3 in the North Division) and Dayton (#1 in the North Division). Kvapil= season changer.
JHN Adams, (4) (Lehtinen, Smolenak), 4:14 (PP)
JHN Lehtinen, (2) (Kvapil, Smolenak), 8:34
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
The season can't end soon enough.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 28 shots in the loss. Calling up Karri Ramo to avoid this mess? Smart move by the Lightning. ATO Justin Fletcher had the only Falcons goal off an assist by Adam Henrich.
POR Motzko, (26) , 5:58 (SH)
POR Motzko, (27) (Miller, Wilson), 10:40 (PP)
SPR Fletcher, (1) (Henrich), 5:33
POR Carter, (14) (Miller), 15:02 (PP)
POR Blanchard, (3) (Ryan, Hartigan), 5:29
POR Miller, (13) (Ryan, Ferguson), 6:44
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Kazan got off to a great start in the opening game of their semifinal series round against CSKA winning 5-2. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match for Ak Bars.
Kazan took a commanding 2-0 series lead defeating CSKA 4-2. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match for Ak Bars.
Game Three is scheduled for Sunday. A Kazan victory would send Kazionov and his team through to the Superleague finals.
Spokane 1 @ Everett 5
Everett leads best-of-7 series 3-2
The Everett Silvertips used a four goal second period to break open a tie game and untie their opening round series with Spokane. The Tips ended up with a 5-1 victory over the Chiefs, taking a 3-2 lead in the series. Dane Crowley was scoreless and plus-1 in the win. Game 6 is in Spokane Sunday.