For Rob Zettler, it all comes down to being in the right position.
With the offensive lines lacking their normal scoring punch, the Syracuse Crunch coach knows the margin for error is slim. But his defense has keyed in on limiting the opposition’s offensive opportunities, and Syracuse grinded out wins last weekend by holding St. John’s to a pair of goals Friday and shutting out Adirondack Saturday.
"We really limited both teams' chances because we were in good position," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We didn't have the high-end skill we've had in the past, but we made up for it in position and hard work."
Lightning skate the final 40 minutes like they were in a turkey-induced coma.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the loss. He deserved better. He was hung out to dry 1-on-1 with an uncovered shooter on the only goal he allowed.
4:30 CBJ Foligno (7), (Johansen)
There haven't been many times this season where the Lightning have been outworked. Tonight, they got absolutely outworked by an arguably less talented team. That effort simply won't do. The power play was bad. The Blue Jackets double teamed the Lightning all over the ice to win puck battles. Their puck support was excellent, the Lightning's was terrible. They went to the net front. The Lightning acted like they were allergic to it. There's nothing good you can say about the night, other than thanking Ben Bishop for giving the team a chance. The Lightning will not reach 12 points in this 3rd 10 game segment of the season. They have to readjust their sights to at least salvage 8 points to leverage some of the extra points they got in the first 2 segments of the year to try to stay on track. It's bad. This was a bad, bad loss.
Mark Barberio had 2 hits in 17:16. I didn't notice any huge mistakes, but he was oddly invisible at the offensive end of the ice, too.
Tyler Johnson had 2 shots, 1 hit, and was 53% on draws in 17:19. He was the Lightning's best center tonight. That's a low bar to clear, though. You could trip on it.
Alex Killorn had 1 shot and 1 hit and was 50% on draws in 16:40. I'm beginning to think his game is too north-south to work at the center position. Seems like a pro winger.
Ondrej Palat had 2 blocked shots in 17:26. He came close a couple of times to working the Lightning into the scoring chance they needed, either with his forechecking or his stick handling. Just couldn't get anything to stick.
J.T. Brown had 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:27. He had a breakaway chance that he was stopped on that led to Bobrovsky leaving the game and he was one of the few Lightning forwards consistently going to the net.
Nikita Kucherov had 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:18. Had a slick little attempt on net in the First Period and helped spring Brown for his breakaway chance. I don't know why, with the team down 1 goal in each of the past 2 games, Cooper hasn't spotted him more with quality line mates. Cooper moved Tyrell onto the kid line in lieu of Panik, and I just face palmed. Tyrell wasn't going to finish off a chance from Johnson or Palat. Let's just be honest with ourselves about that. I have no idea why you don't spot a finisher like Kucherov on that line instead.
Andrej Sustr was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:15. He was one third of the rolling blunder that led to the game's only goal. At least he can say it wasn't a rookie mistake, because two veterans (including Filppula, who was exceptionally brutal tonight) chose to partake in creating that king-sized dumpster fire of a play.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for November 25 – December 1, 2013 is … Cedric Paquette, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).
Rookie pro Cedric Paquette played superhero last week, rescuing the injured, falling Syracuse Crunch by swooping in at the last moment to lead the club to two needed wins.
The Crunch entered last weekend banged up, short on players due to injuries in Tampa, and on a season-long 5-game losing streak.
Bratislava 3 vs. Cherepovets 2
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, Win, 21/23, 2.00 GAA, .913 sv%
Season totals: 20 GP, 8-10-2, 2 SO, 3.00 GAA, .887 sv%
Former Lightning prospect Michal Sersen had a goal in Bratislava's 3-2 win over Severstal Cherepovets. Cherepovets got a goal from ex-acs pick Linus Videll in defeat.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Moncton Wildcats 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 0
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 0 Hits, 21/27 FO
Season totals: 21 GP, 15-32-47, +17, 22 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
Moncton’s 5-9 goaltender Alex Dubeau (undrafted) did the unthinkable and shut out Drouin and Halifax, ending Drouin’s 14-game point streak. Drouin is a lock for Canada's WJC camp roster, which will be announced today. He may be Canada's captain.
Quebec Remparts 3 @ Rimouski Oceanic 4 (SO)
C/W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-2-2, +1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 1 Hit, 20/31 FO, *Second Star*
Season totals: 26 GP, 10-22-32, +1, 35 PIM
2012-2013 Season: 68 GP, 28-44-72, +11, 67 PIM
Erne finished the weekend with four points (1-3) in two games. He is three points behind Anthony Duclair (NYR) for the team scoring lead.
Ontario Hockey League
North Bay Battalion 4 @ Kitchener Rangers 0
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM
Season totals: 16 GP, 1-4-5, -13, 18 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
Blujus has one assist in his last 10 games.
Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Oshawa Generals 1
W Henri Ikonen, KGN: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 25 GP, 13-25-38, +15, 23 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM
Ikonen extended his point streak to nine games with a secondary assist on Kingston’s game-winning goal.
Windsor Spitfires 3 @ Sarnia Sting 2 (SO)
D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 26 GP, 6-17-23, +27, 10 PIM
2012-13 totals: 40 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM
Windsor completed a weekend sweep of Sarnia with a shootout win on the road. Koekkoek was plus-7 with three assists in the two games. After several years significantly in the minus, Koekkoek’s plus-27 rating is ties for the OHL lead. Koekkoek will have his fingers crossed today as Canada releases its WJC camp roster.