I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Cam Neely? Andre Roy? They're the same guy.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 27 of 27 shots faced to post the first shutout by any Lightning goaltender this season. He was excellent, and seems to be settling nicely into the Lightning's new tandem arrangement, alternating starts with Karri Ramo.
For anyone thinking that the Lightning had given up, were tuning out their coach, were already making tee times etc etc after the Colorado game, tonight was an object lesson in the heart and pride that still exists in that Lightning locker room. This season may very well be a wash, but the Lightning cannot allow bad habits to sink in and they must continue to compete night in and night out, regardless of what the standings say.
On the other side of the rink, can you imagine a worse scenario for Pittsburgh? Not only do you get shutout by Johan Holmqvist and drop your 7th straight game on home ice to the Lightning, but you lose your superstar to a high ankle sprain in the process? Ouch. They have to be wishing they had never taken the ice tonight.
Mathieu Darche was even in 8:25 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots. Tonight was his 40th game of the season, meaning he will graduate to NHLer by this site's criteria if he plays against Ottawa. Congratulations will definitely be in order.
Another late comeback bid falls short.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots in the loss.
WBS McLean, (12) (Engelland, Brent), 2:44
WBS Brent, (7) (McLean, Minard), 12:33
NOR Smolenak, (1) (Szczechura, Scalzo), 16:16
WBS McLean, (13) , 18:32 (PP)
Radek Smolenak was named third star of the game after scoring his 1st AHL goal. It will be a huge boon to this organization if, after a year and a half of wasted potential, Smolenak really used this second half as a springboard into a critical third professional season.
Paul Szczechura now has 1 goal and 2 points in his first two games in Norfolk.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Cedar Rapids Roughriders 2 @ Chicago Steel 4
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 shots on goal
Seattle Thunderbirds 2 @ Chilliwack Bruins 5
G Riku Helenius, SEA: Loss, Stopped 24 of 28 shots
Everett Silvertips 2 @ Spokane Chiefs 1
D Dane Crowley, EVT: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Portland Winter Hawks 3 @ Prince George Cougars 2 (SO)
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Tyrell was the Cougarsâ€™ fifth and final shooter, but failed to convert his attempt.
Johan Harju had 2 goals and was ejected for a fight with Johan Erkgards late in Lulea's 7-2 trouncing of Frarjestads. The goals were Harju's 14th and 15th of the season in 33 games played and moved him back into the top 10 in the Elitserien in goals.