HPK 2 vs. HIFK 3
Saku Salminen, HPK, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 3-3-6, E, 2 PIM
Saku Salminen was scoreless in 11:39 in HPK's 3-2 loss to HIFK. HPK held a 2-0 lead going into the final frame, but surrendered 3 unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes of the game to lose yet again. HPK has now fallen to 11th on the Liiga table, which is out of the 10 team playoff field.
After a nice holiday break, we continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for January 7, 2014 is … Cameron Darcy, Center, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL – Canada).
There are turnarounds, then there's what Lightning prospect Cam Darcy is doing.
Darcy’s story is well known – he was intent on getting a pro contract last fall, but the Lightning sent him back to juniors for an overage year so he could get stronger. The South Boston native didn’t produce anywhere close to the level that made him a second team all-star with Cape Breton last year and eventually the Eagles had to move on. Darcy was traded to Sherbrooke, where he suddenly found his game again.
Tasty, tasty revenge.
Ben Bishop again smacked Carey Price around, allowing just 2 goals on 22 shots for the victory. Funny how Montreal can't buy a win against Tampa Bay unless Anders (stinking) Lindback is between the pipes.
15:07 MTL Weise (5), (Plekanec, Gonchar)
3:17 TB Brown (2), (Drouin, Boyle)
10:42 TB Johnson (16), (Kucherov, Palat)(PP)
18:16 TB Connolly (8), (Filppula, Paquette)
19:38 TB Johnson (17), (Palat, Kucherov)(PP)
5:01 MTL Pacioretty (17), (Gallagher, Gonchar)
Man, I wish the Lightning could just alternate between playing Montreal and the Rangers every game. This team, when it has extra motivation, just goes to another level. I said it when the playoff run ended last season: All Montreal did was make a very powerful enemy of the Lightning, and that my suspicion is the Lightning will spend the next 5 seasons torturing the Canadiens for how that series went. Two games into the season series this year, the Lightning are 2-0-0 and have outscored Montreal in the series 11-3. My goodness, Tampa Bay even pulled their shambolic power play out of the dumpster with a 2-for-5 performance based partly on a new strategic wrinkle -- putting Stamkos out on a unit with the triplets. It looked like money tonight. The Canadiens' broadcasters are trying to stoke this as a budding rivalry between Tampa Bay and Montreal. My early take is that Montreal looks more like speed bump to Tampa Bay than a rival, regardless of how close things are in the standings. Without Lindback spotting them 1-2 free goals a game, Montreal's at a huge disadvantage playing against the Lightning head-to-head.
Cedric Paquette had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 5 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:29. He got his assist hedmanning the puck on a 3-on-1 that Connolly converted, and otherwise was just a bowling ball on skates all night. He was trying to hit everything that moved out there.
Jonathan Drouin had a helper and 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:28. He might've had the key shift of the night hitting a crossbar on one rush and then creating a chance on the next rush that saw Brown pot his rebound for the Lightning's opening goal. Once they got one on Price, the floodgates opened in the Second Period and the rest is history.
Western Hockey League
Calgary Hitmen 6 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 1
D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 29 GP, 4-12-16, -3, 16 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM
C Brayden Point, MJ: Did not play
Season totals: 29 GP, 16-26-42, +10, 21 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM
Calgary outshot Moose Jaw 36-16 on their way to an easy 6-1 win. The Warriors only mustered two shots in the final period compared to 16 for Calgary, who had a 5-1 lead entering the last 20 minutes. Ben Thomas was scoreless for the Hitmen. Brayden Point, fresh off his gold medal for Team Canada at the WJCs, arrived at the arena just before game time, so he was a scratch.
Luke Witkowski isn't sitting idly by waiting for the phone to ring.
The Syracuse defenseman, one of the last players cut from Tampa Bay Lightning training camp who earned a short call-up in October but didn't play, isn't worried about when he will have the opportunity to make his NHL debut. Even with the Lightning's blueline being banged up, Witkowski is focused on his game and doing what he can to help the Crunch.
"I'm not really worried about that right now," Witkowski said of the possibility of a promotion.
Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler has seen progress in Witkowski's second professional season.