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KHL Game Day: 12-11-15

St. Petersburg 5 vs. Magnitogorsk 3
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 15 GP, 6-10-16, +5, 0 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-17-30, +11, 4 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 23/27, 4.02 GAA, .852 sv%
Season totals: 33 GP, 13-12-7, 0 SO, 2.31 GAA, .918 sv%

Nikita Gusev had a power play helper and an even strength helper in SKA's 5-3 win over Magnitogorsk. He played 15:11 in the match. Ex-Blue Jackets pick Sergei Mozyakin had a pair of goals in defeat for Magnitka to put him at 28 for the season.

Novgorod 0 vs. CSKA 3
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, E, 25 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 8-7-15, +4, 49 PIM

Carter Ashton got a game misconduct and a major for slashing in the First Period of Novgorod's 3-0 shutout loss to CSKA. He played just 2:04 in the match. Former Syracuse Crunch Geoff Platt had 1 goal and 1 assist to pace CSKA in the win.

Juniors Game Night: 12-10-15

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 3 @ North Bay Battalion 4

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 6/15 FO
Season totals: 26 GP, 8-16-24, -8, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Anthony Cirelli opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period, but the Gens ended up allowing three straight goals in the third period to eventually lose, 4-3. Cirelli has had a goal and an assist in three consecutive games.

Mississauga Steelheads 4 @ Windsor Spitfires 3 (OT)

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 25 GP, 11-14-25, +15, 40 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

DiGiacinto returned from a 5-game suspension, but the Spits fell in overtime. DiGiacinto did not register a point.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ Peterborough Petes 1

D Dominik Masin, PBO: Did not play (WJC)
Season totals: 29 GP, 3-10-13, +20, 28 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 30 GP, 3-10-13, +2, 27 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

Masin missed the game as he is with Team Czech Republic in preparation for the upcoming World Junior Championships in Finland. His usual partner, Matt Spencer, was minus-3 in Masin’s absence.

Saginaw Spirit 1 @ Niagara IceDogs 2

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: Did not play (WJC)
Season totals: 9 GP, 7-4-11, +3, 6 PIM
2014-15 totals: 62 GP, 22-26-48, -17, 44 PIM

Stephens is with Team Canada preparing for the upcoming WJCs in Finland. His teammate with Canada and fellow Lightning prospect Brayden Point was kept out of practice the first day of Canada’s camp, but the coach said if it was a game Point would be healthy enough to play. They’re taking precautions with his shoulder injury.

NHL Game Night: 12-10-15 Senators at Lightning

The biggest win of the season.

OTT-1
TB-4

Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 31 shots for the victory. In my opinion, even in the absence of goal support, Bishop's play this season is approaching the brilliance of his Vezina finalist season two years ago.

First Period
19:52 TB Kucherov (9), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:25 TB Filppula (3), (Brown, Callahan)
8:33 TB Kucherov (10), (unassisted)
12:06 OTT Ceci (3), (Ryan, Stone)
19:46 TB Brown (3), (Callahan)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov, Bishop, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

This was a big game for a number of reasons I'll elaborate on later, and it was obvious it was going to be a big game once the Lightning failed to get points out of the Kings game to close the road trip. I warned after that game the Lightning needed to avoid falling into the trap of playing flat as a pancake to start the first game back from a road trip. Well, my worst fears were confirmed and the first 12 minutes of the game were among the worst the Lightning have played all season. Unfocused, sloppy, turnover-riddled, just bad hockey. Chances were 6-1 in favor of Ottawa after about 10 minutes and only Bishop and Ottawa's own lack of sharpness in finishing kept the Lightning from suffering an early haymaker from the Sens. The Lightning slowly climbed back in the game and then Ottawa gave Tampa Bay a fortuitous two-man advantage where Nikita Kucherov, thank goodness, actually shot the puck and put the Lightning up 1-0. The rest of the game was a tale of Bishop's sharp play and the Lightning capitalizing on enough of their own chances along the way to build a 3 goal lead in the Third Period to seize a more leisurely feeling win for a change. Beautiful.

The standings impact cannot be understated. On a head-to-head basis, the win pulls the Lightning to within 4 points of Ottawa for 3rd in the division. Falling 8 points behind third place in the division would've been crushing. From a micro standpoint, the victory clinched a successful third 10-game segment for the season. As we've hammered home for the past 2+ seasons, you need to get at least 12 points every 10 game segment of the year to comfortably make the playoffs. The Lightning got 12 points in Segment One of the year but crashed and burned with just 7 points in Segment Two to dig a big 5 point hole for the season. One of the first rules for getting yourself out of a hole when you find yourself in one: stop digging. The Lightning did that by getting the big win tonight. You didn't want to see the Lightning going into a game against Metropolitan Division leading Washington needing 2 points just to avoid digging themselves into a deeper hole for the year. On a macro-level, that could've led to full-on disaster. Now the Lightning get a chance, if they can manage points against the Capitals, to cut into the deficit they created for the season to as little as 3 points. Ultimately, that's how the Lightning get out of the hole they've built for themselves. It's not reasonable to expect them to just go on some gigantic 8-9 game winning streak to get back into prime playoff position. They've got to keep putting together segments where they get 13, 14, 15 or so points and pay down that deficit over the span of a handful of 10-game segments.

That task should get easier as the Lightning continue to get healthier. With Ondrej Palat's return tonight, the team is now only missing Cedric Paquette from its regular lineup. Once he gets back, hopefully Jon Cooper can keep some steady line combinations in place and the Lightning can get their full 5-on-5 scoring swagger back while they continue to try and fix that thing they call a power play. If that scenario plays out, we may find the silver lining of this early season was that this Lightning team learned to be more mindful of the defensive side of the puck when they found themselves in their extended goal scoring slump. Knowing how to win games against multiple styles of opponents and being able to win games a variety of ways is the hallmark of a championship caliber club.

Jonathan Marchessault was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 8:56. He wasn't much of a factor tonight, and now we'll see the challenge that Marchessault has to overcome to stick in the NHL. With guys like Johnson and Palat returning, it's pushing Marchessault down to lower lines with less talented linemates in more of a checking role. How he adapts to that role and his ability or inability to make contributions in it will tell the tale.

Nikita Nesterov had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 13:32. On balance, I don't think he'll be asking Nigel Kirwan for the Blueray edition of his game film from tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

ECHL Game Night: 12-10-15

Orlando Solar Bears 2 at Greenville Swamp Rabbits 6

F Brian Hart, GRN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 19 GP, 6-1-7, -2, 2 PIM, 35 SOG
Season totals (AHL): 3 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG

Other Notables
G Allen York, GRN, injured reserve
Season totals: 5 GP, 0-4-0-0, 5.61 GAA, 0.840 SV%, 0 SO

D Charlie Dodero, GRN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (ECHL): 17 GP, 0-3-3, -6, 24 PIM, 16 SOG

The Swamp Rabbits' PK was a perfect 5 for 5 and the offense unleashed another sixer as Greenville gave their 2,500 fans at Bon Secours Wellness Arena a lot to cheer about. The Rabbits scored early and often, and will take on the Solar Bears again Friday night on the rematch.

AHL Game Night: 12-9-15 Crunch at Penguins

Hump Day horror.

SYR-2
WBS-6

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 6 goals on 35 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Kuhnhackl, (5) (Rust), 3:14
WBS Kostopoulos, (5) (Sundqvist), 3:54
WBS Sheary, (6) (Kuhnhackl, Andersen), 11:04

Second Period
SYR Tambellini, (9) (Richard, Taormina), 4:48 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Simon, (8) (Porter, Oleksy), 6:11
WBS Simon, (9) , 12:06
WBS Uher, (1) (Sundqvist, Pouliot), 18:58
SYR Gourde, (5) (Paradis, Witkowski), 19:31

The Crunch are in the midst of a brutal stretch of games against quality opponents, and thus far they're not warming to the challenge.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 12-9-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 6 @ Moncton Wildcats 2

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-0-1, +1, 9 PIM, 1 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 27 GP, 4-9-13, +1, 45 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 2-1-3, +3, 2 PIM, 8 SOG, 1 Hit, *First Star*
Season totals: 27 GP, 14-13-27, +13, 33 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

Joseph scored once in the first and again in the second to pace the Sea Dogs in their 6-2 road win Wednesday. Boko Imama added his fourth goal of the season and first since October 16 (19 games). Joseph, who is now at a point per game, has a five game point streak. He has one minus game in his last nine. On the other side of the ice, Saint John held Conor Garland scoreless – something no one has done this year. Garland’s point streak ended at 28 games. The Coyotes’ fifth rounder this past summer leads the Q with 69 points (19 goals) in 29 games. That’s 13 more points than anyone else. The 5-8 winger had 129 points last year.

Western Hockey League

Brandon Wheat Kings @ Moose Jaw Warriors

C Brayden Point, MJ: Did not play
Season totals: 19 GP, 18-25-43, +9, 8 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM

Point has now missed nine straight games with an injured shoulder. He was expected be healthy in time for Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp later this week.

KHL Game Day: 12-9-15

St. Petersburg 5 vs. Ufa 3
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 14 GP, 6-8-14, +6, 0 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 37 GP, 13-15-28, +12, 4 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a pair of power play helpers in 16:03 in SKA St. Petersburg's 5-3 win over Ufa. Gusev, who received a 2-year contract extension from SKA earlier this week, is now at a point a game since joining SKA and matched his point totals from 23 games with Yugra in just 14 with St. Petersburg. Former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk also had a pair of helpers in the win.

Spartak Moscow 3 vs. Magnitogorsk 2 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, SO Loss, 38/40, 1.85 GAA, .950 sv%
Season totals: 32 GP, 13-11-7, 0 SO, 2.25 GAA, .920 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin allowed 2 of 2 shooters in the penalty shot session to convert in Magnitogorsk's 3-2 Shootout loss to Spartak Moscow. Ex-Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy had a helper in the win for Spartak.

Novgorod 3 vs. Cherepovets 1
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 8-7-15, +4, 24 PIM

Carter Ashton was scoreless in 16:07 of ice time in Novgorod's 3-1 win over Cherepovets. Ex-NHLer Sergei Kostitsyn scored the game's opening goal for Novgorod.

Juniors Game Night: 12-8-15

Ontario Hockey League

Niagara IceDogs 2 @ Peterborough Petes 1

D Dominik Masin, PBO: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 3-10-13, +20, 28 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 3-10-13, +5, 27 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

Alex Nedelijkovic (Carolina), acquired from Flint earlier in the week, stopped 44 of 45 shots to give Niagara a road win in Peterborough. The one shot that beat him was from Masin, which set off a teddy bear toss. Masin’s partner, Matt Spencer, earned a plus on the goal.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 46

This week's “Martin Cibak Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 46
· The Lightning’s power play, as described by Veronica Corningstone
· New blood needed
· DeAngelo an option?
· Trend report for junior, NCAA, and European prospects
· Interview with Adam Erne
· #BPMailbag: Marchessault’s future with the club … Looking ahead to expansion draft … Pie or cake? … Bishop vs Vasilevskiy plan … Which Triplet goes? … Nesterov’s future … Thoughts on Cooper’s contract extension – strategic timing?

Erne Using New Perspective in Return to Crunch Lineup


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne looked to make the best of a bad situation.

The Syracuse Crunch forward missed six weeks after being injured during a game against Hartford on Oct. 23. Unable to play, Erne used the time to get a new perspective and study the game from afar.

After returning to the lineup last weekend, Erne is using the knowledge he gained to help him on the ice.

“I haven’t had too many injuries through hockey,” Erne said. “It’s going to happen. It’s a part of the game. When it does, you just have to make the best of it and work hard, and use it as an opportunity to get faster and even more ready for the remainder of the season.”

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