The Good News = Lightning move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division
The Bad News = Tampa Bay fails to get both points, and possible injuries to Ranger and Fedotenko.
Tampa Bay-4 (Overtime)
With Atlanta's loss in Ottawa this afternoon, the Lightning needed just one point to move into a first place tie with the Thrashers. The held on for the point, but fell in overtime in South Florida 5-4 to the Panthers. Tampa now leads the division by tiebreaker with 69 points and hold the No.3 seed. Atlanta also has 69 and the Hurricanes, who won tonight in Montreal, are 2 back at 67. The Lightning has a game in hand on both division rivals.
The Panthers won their first game in extra time this year and move to 57 points, 2 ahead of Washington for 13th place in the conference. They are 9 points out of a playoff spot.
Back to the game â€¦ Johan Holmqvist struggled at times in net for Tampa, stopping 25 of 30 shots. The Lightning only put up 20 shots on Ed Belfour, including just 3 in the final period. Part of the reason for the low shot total was the absolutely horrific ice conditions that both teams battled. No less than three goals were the direct or indirect result of the puck jumping over or off of a stick. With 6 minutes left in the third period, the teams had combined for 5 shots and what seemed like 2 dozen giveaways. It was awful to watch, but both teams had to deal with it.
The â€œLightnings,â€ as they were referred to by Panthers analyst Denis Potvin at one point, got goals from Martin St. Louis (2), Dan Boyle, and Eric Perrin. Assists were compiled by Vaclav Prospal (2), Vincent Lecavalier (2), Boyle, Perrin, and Brad Richards.
Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a thigh or knee injury when he was hit by Bryan Allenâ€™s raised knee late in the third. No penalty was called on the play. Paul Ranger also left the game with an injury, but the Panthers broadcast never addressed it. They were too busy fawning over Allenâ€™s hit on Fedotenko.
Blair Jones was a scratch for the Lightning and Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune speculates he could be sent back to Springfield on Monday.
Florida 1:47, Ruslan Salei 6 (power play) (unassisted)
Florida 4:02, Stephen Weiss 12 (Nathan Horton, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 6:09, Martin St. Louis 34 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 11:03, Eric Perrin 10 (Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 16:28, Martin St. Louis 35 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Florida 6:48, Bryan Allen 2 (Stephen Weiss, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 11:11, Dan Boyle 13 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Vaclav Prospal)
Florida 11:28, Ville Peltonen 10 (power play) (Olli Jokinen, Steve Montador)
Florida 0:29, Nathan Horton 19 (Jay Bouwmeester, Stephen Weiss)
Gamesheet from NHL.com
Mississauga 5 @ Brampton 0
Chris Lawrence had an assist in the IceDogs win and also finished plus-2. A relatively quiet night for Lawrence considering his recent hot streak.
Erie 2 @ Owen Sound 7
Do you criticize Kevin Beech for letting in 7 goals, or praise him for making 72 saves? Judging from the fact he was named the game's third star as the visiting goalie, it's the latter. It also turns out Beech was the "lucky" goalie to be in net when Marek Bartanus finally scored. Bartanus had a goal and was plus-2. Bartanus had gone 24 games without scoring a goal. It was his fifth of the year.
Vancouver 1 @ Prince George 3
Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless and plus-2 with 4 PIM as Prince George beat Vancouver 3-1 Friday. Mihalik had tripping and holding calls against him.
Kelowna 5 @ Everett 6 (Shootout)
Dane Crowley was plus-1 and scoreless for the Silvertips in their 6-5 home shootout win over Kelowna.
0-2 tonight for Lightning farm teams.
Springfield again outshot their opponent (28-25), but for the second straight game came away with a loss. Karri Ramo stopped 22 shots in net and the Falcons got goals from Eric Healey and Marek Kvapil. Norm Milley, Matt Smaby, Justin Keller, and Dan Cavanaugh added assists. Though Jonathan Boutin was declared healthy and has practiced the last three days, Gerald Coleman served as the backup.
PRO Leach, (1) (Krejci, Kalus), 0:56
PRO Hoggan, (2) (Krejci, Curry), 4:47
SPR Healey, (23) (Smaby, Milley), 10:55 (PP)
PRO Talbot, (1) (Walter, Trevelyan), 11:06
SPR Kvapil, (12) (Keller, Cavanaugh), 15:33
Gamesheet from AHL.com
Adam Henrich had two goals and an assist and Stan Lascek scored one and one to break his five game scoreless streak, but the Chiefs fell to Cincinnati 5-4 in overtime. John Adams had two assists for the Chiefs and Dmitri Tarabrin added one and one, also. Jean Desrochers had one assist, setting up the Chiefs' first goal. Henrich earned third star honors for his efforts.
Both Morgan Cey (9 of 12) and Ryan Munce (23 of 25) saw action in net for Johnstown. Munce took the loss in relief.
CIN Deitsch, (21) (Daoust, Aubin), 7:47
JHN Tarabrin, (10) (Desrochers, Henrich), 12:51
JHN Henrich, (12) (MacLean, Lascek), 15:58 (PP)
JHN Henrich, (13) (Adams), 2:48
CIN Deitsch, (22) (Aubin, Daoust), 4:42
CIN Martens, (1) (Aubin, Daoust), 7:34
JHN Lascek, (9) (Adams, Tarabrin), 8:51 (PP)
CIN Daoust, (18) (Martens), 0:28
CIN Daoust, (19) (Deitsch, Martin), 4:51
Gamesheet from ECHL.com
According to today's Springfield Republican:
Jonathan Boutin has returned from injury (which was a concussion) and the team will carry three goaltenders into the weekend: Boutin, Karri Ramo, and Gerald Coleman. The paper says that a roster move could be made on Monday. Of interest here is Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster telling the Tampa papers today that he doesn't want to deal off a player from the NHL roster, but instead - if a deal is to be made - he would use a prospect/pick. Tampa currently has three AHL-caliber goaltenders. Hmmmmâ€¦..
Also, Falcons Coach Steve Stirling plans to permanently move David Spina to center. Stirling likes the way Spina and Kyle Wanvig work with each other and the physical presence of Brandon Elliott on that line. The Republican points out Spina assisted on all three of Wanvigâ€™s goals against Hartford the other night.
Probable top-3 lines entering the weekend: