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NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 3-20-14

Ontario Hockey League

Sudbury Wolves 2 @ Barrie Colts 3
Colts lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, 1-0

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

Barrie drew first blood in Game 1 against the Wolves, holding on for a 3-2 win.

NHL Game Night: 3-20-14 Lightning at Senators

Lightning gets the job done.

TB-5
OTT-4

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the victory. The stat line isn't pretty, but he made some key saves when he needed to and never allowed his team to fall behind on the road. That's how you scratch out points at this time of the season.

First Period
0:23 TB Purcell (11), (Hedman, Johnson)
10:44 OTT MacArthur (21), (Turris)(SH)
12:38 TB Purcell (12), (Hedman, Johnson)
13:07 OTT Karlsson (18), (Hoffman, Spezza)(PP)

Second Period
5:43 TB Filppula (23), (Palat, Salo)(PP)
17:32 OTT Hemsky (11), (Michalek)

Third Period
3:48 TB Brewer (1), (Brown, Killorn)
11:58 TB Callahan (13), (Palat, Salo)(PP)
17:08 OTT Michalek (13), (Karlsson, Spezza)

Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman were the game's first and third stars.

Giving up 4 goals doesn't exactly give you the warm and fuzzies, and perhaps it was a reflection of the quality of opponent tonight, but this was probably the best game the Lightning played of the 3 game set against Canadian-based teams. Ottawa really didn't seem to have concerted pressure in this game, and they didn't look as dangerous on the rush as Toronto did. The goals the Lightning surrendered were on a puck handling gaffe by Salo in the neutral zone, two clean Filppula faceoff losses, and Gudas and Carle getting undressed by a great individual play by Hemsky. All of these things are, at least, correctable, and the Lightning never fell behind in the game and eventually got the result they deserved.

The Lightning end this 10 game segment of the season right on the target 12 points you want, and at 85 points they're 1 point ahead of pace for the season. At no point this season have the Lightning fallen behind the pace we set forth here, overall, for the year. They've missed 12 points in some segments, but they've always had insurance points saved up to compensate. It's been an impressive, consistent ride by the Lightning thus far. To finish the drill, the Lightning now have 12 games to earn at least 11 points (to hit 96 for the year) and I dare say a 100 point season (15 points in the last 12 games) is certainly not out of the question.

And if that doesn't earn Jon Cooper NHL Coach of the Year, well, that's another rant for another night.

Mike Kostka had 1 shot and 3 blocked shots in 15:56. He wasn't quite as good as he was in Toronto when he was pumped up in front of the home town.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Ink Free Agent Camper Cody Kunyk

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Cody Kunyk to a one year, two-way NHL contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Kunyk, 23, skated in 37 games for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks this season, posting 22 goals and 43 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound forward led the Nanooks for goals, points, power-play goals (six) and shorthanded goals (two). Kunyk was named the WCHA’s Player of the Year and to the First Team All-WCHA team. He also led the WCHA for scoring during the 2013-14 season.

The Sherwood Park, Alberta native skated in 148 games over four seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, amassing 60 goals and 133 points. He set career highs his senior year for goals, assists (21) and points. Kunyk became the 30th Nanook in program history to join the 100-point club with a goal on November 22, 2013.

Kunyk also participated in the Lightning’s development camp this past summer.

NHL Game Night: 3-19-14 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Finish line coming into view.

TB-5
TOR-3

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 39 shots for the victory. He'll rightly regret the Kulemin deflection goal, but he closed out the game strong with 21 saves in the Third Period against a desperate Leafs team.

First Period
0:59 TB Gudas (3), (Filppula)
3:31 TOR Kessel (35), (Gunnarsson, Bozak)
10:32 TOR Kulemin (9), (Gleason, Rielly)
13:22 TB Stamkos (17), (Filppula)(PP)
15:39 TB Stamkos (18), (Johnson, Salo)

Second Period
5:55 TB Stamkos (19), (Malone, Brewer)

Third Period
8:20 TOR Gardiner (10), (Franson, Bozak)
12:56 TB Johnson (22), (Purcell)(PP)

Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

Much like the Vancouver game, do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Half full, the Lightning again played a strong first 35 or so minutes and built a solid 2 goal lead going into the Third Period. As an added bonus, they showed new strength on special teams with 2 PP goals in this game and the kill of an Alex Killorn boarding major after knocking Paul Ranger out of the game. And, oh by the way, Steven Stamkos is back with the hat trick, which will take the Lightning from good to great offensively. Glass half empty? The last 25 minutes of the game were mentally lazy hockey, and lazy minds lead to lazy legs. They looked like they were coasting, possibly to try to save energy for Ottawa. Whatever that was, it was aggravating, and it took Bishop standing on his head to preserve the win. Being outshot 22-8 in the final frame was a bad joke, and speaks to the Lightning still having problems closing out victories.

With all that said, the Lightning move up to 83 points in 69 games played. With 1 more game to go in this 10-game segment of the season, they need 2 points to hit the segment goal or 1 point to stay on the 12 points per segment pace for the season. They're also now 13 points shy of the 96 point goal I set at the start of the season with 13 games to go, meaning they could go .500 the rest of the way and hit the season target. That's a good feeling. The finish line is coming into view.

Mike Kostka was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 19:15. He played well in front of the home town. I wasn't too happy he missed the net on a couple of wide open looks, but he was much more active offensively than against Vancouver and he had some really good chances.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-19-14

Nadezhda Cup
Omsk 5 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 1
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansisysk, 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 8 SOG
Regular season totals: 44 GP, 8-6-14, -6, 10 PIM
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 3-3-6, -3, 0 PIM

Happy trails to Nikita Gusev and Yugra, who dropped the fourth and final game of their second round Nadezhda Cup matchup with Omsk 5-1. Gusev played 16:02 in the match and had a power play assist on his club's only goal. Omsk got a hat trick from former Montreal forward Sergei Kostitsyn as well as 1 goal and 3 points from former Flyers draft pick Stefan Ruzicka in victory.

Despite his team's setback, Gusev can feel good about a fine final couple of months in KHL regular season and in the Nadezhda Cup after playing very sparingly the first 2/3 of the season. His point a game pace in this year's Nadezhda Cup bested his production in last year's Nadezhda Cup with Khabarovsk (5 points) in half the games. Recall, Gusev played much of his junior hockey in CSKA's organization and with Team Russia on a line with current Lightning rookie forward Nikita Kucherov. The end of Gusev's year gives us some optimism he may be able to continue to develop and one day play again with Kucherov in the NHL.

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