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The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Episode 95

This week’s “Michel Petit Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:

· The No. 95
· Blame finger ready
· Despite murky present, TB’s future is bright
· Extended interview with Cory Conacher
· Rankings reaction, 1-9

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-3-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 2 @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Rouyn-Noranda wins best-of-7 series, 4-2

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 15/24 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 0-1-1, -4, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Mooseheads gave it a good go, but in the end the second-seeded Huskies were too much. Considering one of the games went to three overtimes before Rouyn-Noranda won it, Halifax made a good showing. Somppi’s season is done, and one would guess he may go under the knife to repair a shoulder that’s been injured two years in a row. He could also join Syracuse for their run, but considering the length of time it takes to recover from surgery, he may not. We’ll see. He will return to Halifax next year where he could be the No. 1 center if Nico Hischier (2017) goes to the NHL as a top-3 pick.

Western Hockey League

Swift Current Broncos 3 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 2
Eastern Conference First Round
Swift Current wins best-of-7 series, 4-3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 7 GP, 2-1-3, -4, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

Moose Jaw forced a Game 7 with a road win Saturday, but they couldn’t find a way to knock out the Broncos. Swift Current moved on with a 3-2 win Monday. Goaltending is usually the story in the playoffs and Jordan Papirny (undrafted) was first star in Game 7, stopping 39 of 41 shots. The Warriors outshot the Broncos, 41-30. Papirny, who was a game star in all seven games it seemed, had a 3.21 GAA and .907 save percentage in the regular season split between Brandon and Swift Current. His playoff numbers were 2.02 and .947. As for Howden, he finished the series with two goals and an assist. He is now eligible to join AHL Syracuse for their stretch run, though he’s set to return to Moose Jaw as captain again next year come fall.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-2-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Shawinigan Cataractes 1 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 5
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Val-d’Or wins best-of-7 series, 4-2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 2 Hits
Playoff Totals: 6 GP: 3-2-5, -2, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 46-29-75, +23, 52 PIM

Third-seeded Shawinigan was ousted by 14th-seeded Val-d’Or in six games, largely on the back of timely goals and 20-year-old goaltender Etienne Montpetit (undrafted). Montpetit was 18-20 this season with a 3.14 GAA and .909 save percentage. He went 4-2 in the playoffs with a 2.35 GAA and .937 save percentage while facing an average of 37.5 shots per game. Shawinigan outshot the Foreurs, 39-24, in Game 6. Yan finished the playoffs with three goals (that came in one game) and five points. He’s already under contract with the Lightning, but that won’t technically begin until next year. He will likely be in AHL Syracuse by the end of the week. The 2015 third rounder will add some sniping ability to the Crunch lineup for their playoff run. Perhaps they can stop dressing stay-at-home defensemen on the forward lines now.

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 5 @ Windsor Spitfires 3
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Best-of-7 series tied, 3-3

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 4-0-4, +2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

Stephens scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, which is twice as many as his previous playoff total with Saginaw, and London lived to see another day, winning Game 6 on the road, 5-3. Stephens’ goal early in the second period tied the game at one for London and started a four-goal run for the Knights. Windsor got it back to 4-3 with 5:22 to play, but London beat the invisible goalie to seal the win. Game 7 is back in London Tuesday. The winner plays Erie in the second round. Sault Ste. Marie faces Owen Sound in the other series. Both series will be high-level hockey. In the East, Matt Spencer and Christopher Paquette’s Peterborough Petes will face the winner of Tuesday’s Game 7 between Kingston and Hamilton.

Western Hockey League

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Kamloops Blazers 2
Western Conference First Round
Kelowna wins best-of-7 series, 4-2

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Loss, 31 saves on 34 shots, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 2-4-0-0, 2.18 GAA, .946 sv %, 0 SO
Season Totals: 45 GP, 26-14-2-2, 2.44 GAA, .927 sv%, 5 SO

Ingram was second star in his final junior game, a 4-2 loss to the Rockets. Kelowna moves on in the WHL playoffs while Ingram is likely headed to AHL Syracuse to at least practice with the club. He is unsigned by the Lightning, but that could change this week. He’s expected to begin his pro career for good next year, so getting a head start seems like the way to go. He was lauded by the Lightning at the draft for his .938 playoff performance last year, and he topped it this year, going .946. He will likely finish second in the WHL for Goaltender of the Year to Everett’s Carter Hart. He will likely fill Adam Wilcox’s role as the next goaltender in the pipeline.

NHL Game Night: 4-2-17 Stars at Lightning

Lackluster Lightning still power through to set up big game in Boston.

DAL-3
TB-6

Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory. Strange game. Budaj got the benefit of two video replays and a quick whistle on a shot that knocked off his mask. Was he bad? No. Was he lucky? A little. It was just a bizarre contest.

First Period
11:27 TB Erne (2), (Gourde, Sustr)

Second Period
1:49 DAL Smith (3), (Lindell, Spezza)
10:57 DAL Spezza (14), (Klingberg, Lindell)
19:42 TB Coburn (4), (Stralman, Palat)

Third Period
5:43 TB Point (14), (Dotchin, Palat)
13:27 TB Palat (17), (Drouin, Kucherov)(PP)
14:37 TB Erne (3), (Namestnikov, Johnson)
16:40 DAL Ritchie (15), (Lindell, Shore)
19:58 TB Stralman (5), (unassisted)(EN)

Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

I'm not going to call that a work of art, because it wasn't. The Lightning looked particularly trashy in the Second Period when they seemed like they could neither give nor receive passes cleanly. They had a lot of luck with the video replays, too. But, in the end equation, it's about survival and manufacturing ways to stay in the race. That's what the Lightning did tonight. I don't care how. They just did it.

Tampa Bay moves to 88 points, 3 points back of Ottawa with the Senators holding a game in hand. Next up, a meeting in Boston on Tuesday night with the Spoked Satan. Win and they move within 2 points of Boston with a game in hand. Lose and the Lightning probably stay home for the postseason.

Luke Witkowski had 3 hits and 2 blocked shots in 7:02.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:52.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit in 8:59 and was 20% on 10 draws.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 15:06. He was also 54% on 13 draws.

Erne had a pair of goals and was +2 with 5 shots and 2 hits in 13:36. Surprise, Dan Hamhuis! Big Erne has afterburners.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

ECHL Game Night: 3-31-17 & 4-01-17

3-31-17: Kalamazoo Wings 7 at Florida Everblades 5
4-01-17: Kalamazoo Wings 3 at Florida Everblades 5

F Brian Hart, KAL, 2gp, 2-1-3, -1, 0 PIMS, 7 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 31 GP, 5-5-10, -5, 4 PIMs, 60 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 2gp, 0-4-4, E, 2 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 18 GP, 5-18-23, +10, 10 PIMs, 47 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, 2gp, 118:33 MINS, 1-1-0-0, 81/90, *THIRD STAR*
Season Totals: 31 GP, 18-11-0-1, 3.00 GAA, 0.903 SV%, 1 SO

F Stefan Fournier, KAL, 1gp, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIMS, 0 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 2 GP, 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIMs, 4 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 32 GP, 2-2-4, -1, 97 PIMs

F Brendan O'Donnell, FLA, 2gp, 2-4-6, +3, 0 PIMS, 8 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 58 GP, 39-38-77, +29, 35 PIMs, 229 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 6 GP, 0-0-0, -6, 0 PIMs, 0 SOG

F Dalton Smith, FLA, 2gp, 0-1-1, -3, 12 PIMS, 1 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 58 GP, 10-11-21, -7, 138 PIMs, 90 SOG

After losing to the Everblades in Estero Wednesday night, the K-Wings split the Friday/Saturday night double rematch. Nic Riopel was in net for Kalamazoo both nights, surrendering 9 goals on 90 shots in back-to-back tilts. On Friday night, Riopel stopped 51 of 55, getting the back door 3rd Star honor after feasting on 7 goals of support from his teammates to squeak out 1 win for the K-Wings in their 3-game road swing through Estero. Speaking of feasting, former Bolt prospect Brendan O'Donnell put up 2 goals and 4 assists in the 2 weekend games, totaling 3-6-9 in three games including last Wednesday night's 6-2 Florida win. Current Lightning prospect Brian Hart scored in both weekend games and recorded his first multi-point game of the season in Saturday night's 5-3 loss. Fellow prospect Cam Darcy rung up 4 assists, including 3 assists in Friday night's 7-5 victory. Kalamazoo will conclude their regular season play next weekend with a home-and-home against the Wheeling Nailers, and then turn their attention to a 1st round Kelly Cup playoff series against Central Division winner Toledo Walleye, who are likely to end the regular season as the league's best team.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-1-17

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 3 @ Swift Current Broncos 2
Eastern Conference First Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 3-3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 2-0-2, -4, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

Moose Jaw forced a Game 7 with a 3-2 road win Saturday. The Warriors were up 3-1 entering the third period and held on. The teams combined for 84 shots on goal. Game 7 is Monday in Moose Jaw.

Crunch Fall to Marlies in Shootout for Second Straight Night


By Jeremy Houghtaling

There was a serious case of deja vu at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

With the score tied after 65 minutes, the Crunch and Marlies went to a shootout. Syracuse’s shootout struggles continued, as Toronto earned a 3-2 win for a second straight night.

The Crunch came into the weekend tied for first place in the North Division, but the Marlies now lead by two points.

“Two teams that are giving it all on the ice, obviously,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Last night they took the lead 2-0 and we came back. Tonight we took a 2-0 lead. They came back and they found a way twice in the shootout. It’s disappointing, but I’m very proud of the two hard fought battles we gave them this weekend.”

AHL Game Night: 4-1-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch fail to protect two goal lead in critical divisional tilt.

TOR-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 23 shots, stopped a PS in OT, but allowed 2 of 5 to convert in the Shootout for the loss.

First Period
5:06 SYR Lynch (5), (McGinn)

Second Period
6:58 SYR Richard (13), (McGinn, Condra)
12:05 TOR Leipsic (15), (Moore, Findlay)(PP)

Third Period
6:07 TOR Gauthier (3), (Sislo, Johnsson)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Griffith, Timashov
SYR- Lynch

Kevin Lynch and Michael Bournival were the game's second and third stars.

Two identical, frustrating results in a row against the Marlies have put the Crunch down 1 point to Toronto in the race for the North Division crown. They've got the big ROW tiebreaker advantage, so the Crunch will need to beat them clean to get the title.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-1-17 Canadiens at Lightning

Big Goal Gourde helps Lightning salvage a life-sustaining point.

MTL-2
TB-1 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the OT loss. He was brilliant, really. Justified the faith of the franchise by acquitting himself well in a goaltending duel with Price that he nearly won.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
14:24 MTL Danault (3), (Pacioretty)

Third Period
11:38 TB Gourde (4), (Hedman, Drouin)

Overtime
0:51 MTL Radulov (17), (Pacioretty, Danault)

Vasilevskiy was the game's second star.

This was a tough game for the Lightning. They looked gassed throughout a healthy portion of this one and it took a lot of character to dig deep in the Third Period and at least salvage the point. It's a shame that Kucherov couldn't quite finish his glorious OT chance, but the Lightning have nothing to feel ashamed of and they've got 2 more critical points to chase tomorrow night when Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson possibly return to the lineup.

It's pretty simple math now. At the start of the season, we always talk about pursuing that magic 96 points to make the playoffs safely. Well, the Lightning must now win out to hit 96 points on the nose. They might have 1 more point worth of margin for error, but they likely can't afford a regulation loss the rest of the way. Right now Ottawa is looking like the most realistic target for the Lightning to run down and get into the dance, with Boston and Toronto refusing to fade. The Lightning are 5 points back of Ottawa with both teams having 5 more games left to play. They're also 4 points back of Boston with a game in hand and a head-to-head still on the docket, but the ROW tiebreaker heavily favors the Bruins.

Luke Witkowski had 2 hits and 2 blocked shots in 12:14.

Gregg McKegg had 2 penalty minutes in 8:46.

Jake Dotchin had 2 shots and 4 hits in 17:50.

Gabriel Dumont had 2 hits in 9:19.

Yanni Gourde had the big goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 14:20. He was also 40% on 10 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:44.

Joel Vermin was +1 with 1 shot in 10:32.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Gourde Makes Most of Opportunity After ’Road Less Traveled’ 

By Steven DiOssi

For some young prospects like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, or Brayden Point, their road to the NHL is a fast one. But for others, playing at the game’s highest level doesn’t come as quickly. It’s a matter of putting in hard work, developing their game, and pushing hard for that next opportunity. 

Yanni Gourde knows all about waiting for an opportunity. And since being recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Syracuse Crunch on March 6, he’s been making the most of his. Especially lately. 

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