When a player gets injured or called up, you hope someone takes advantage of the opportunity and steps up in their absence. That's how you build experience, depth and flexibility in your organization, and that someone the last two nights has been Jonathan Boutin.
Boutin stopped 29 of 31 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping 6 og 8 shooters in the shootout for the win. The victory moves Boutin's record to .500 at 2-2-0 this year and he now has a 2.69 GAA and .910 save percentage on the season. Veteran Eric Healey had 2 assists while the Falcons goals came from Andy Delmore and Norm Milley. Individual helpers went to Daniel Corso and Matt Smaby as Corso's acquistion seems to have stabilized the top lines somewhat and drawn many of the Falcons' veteran scorers out of their November funks. Corso, David Spina and Zdenek Blatny scored goals for the birds in the shootout. Healey and Smaby were named the first and third stars of the game, respectively.
One of the pitfalls of Sean Burke's reassignment to Springfield has been that it limits the amount of playing time that can be given to Boutin who, although somewhat enigmatic, has as much pure natural athleticism and potential as just about anyone in this organization. Marc Denis' work visa fiasco has opened up a brief window of opportunity and Boutin has leapt through it with all the enthusiam and gusto of the Kool Aid man breaking through a kitchen wall. Oh yeah.
PRO Versteeg, (10) (Pelletier, Krejci), 1:11
PRO Trevelyan, (1) (Hoggan), 6:46
SPR Delmore, (6) (Corso, Healey), 7:17
SPR Milley, (9) (Smaby, Healey), 7:33
SPR-Corso, Spina, Blatny
Center Blair Jones did dress for the Falcons and had two shots but Nick Tarnasky, who was sent down today in a paper transaction to make room for the acquisition of Andre Roy, did not. The Falcons are now 12-10-0 on the season and have moved into a three way tie for 8th in the Eastern Conference at 24 points.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.