Crunch clip their rivals.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 34 shots before stopping 2 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win.
7:45 UTI Pelletier (1), (Kunyk, Subban)(PP)
13:20 SYR Ikonen (1), (Bournival, Gourde)
5:03 UTI Virtanen (4), (Billins, Robak)(PP)
7:01 SYR Thomas (1), (Richard, Hart)
0:12 SYR Taormina (8), (Dotchin, Peca)(SH)
15:21 UTI Cassels (3), (Kunyk, Grenier)
SYR- Conacher, Richard
Syracuse, for the moment, moves 6 points clear of second place atop the North Division. They're starting to make up some ground on Lehigh Valley for tops in the conference if they can stay on track.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Despite valiant effort, the hole gets deeper for Tampa Bay.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 37 shots for the loss. A lot of bang-bang plays from prime scoring areas a big gunners. Can't blame Vasilevskiy for those.
12:03 PIT Crosby (19), (Dumoulin, Letang)
17:57 TB Drouin (5), (Stralman, Kucherov)(PP)
3:38 TB Filppula (6), (Nesterov)
10:19 TB Drouin (6), (Garrison, Namestnikov)
17:25 PIT Malkin (11), (Kessel, Letang)(PP)
5:08 PIT Crosby (20), (Kessel, Letang)(PP)
8:36 PIT Malkin (12), (Daley, Kessel)(PP)
Jonathan Drouin as the game's second star after leaving the game for stitches with a cut on his cheek in the First Period and coming back to score two goals. His performance is something to build on moving forward.
Tampa Bay got outshot 37-23, so I cannot sit here with a straight face and tell you the Lightning were the better team in the run of play tonight. But, 5 on 5, I do think they competed hard and defended fairly well, and it hurts that this is the result they got. Pittsburgh got the benefit of their usual officiating advantage and they rode it to the win on the power play, and even still Val Filppula had a wide open cage on a chance he shot back into Murray that should've allowed Tampa Bay to get at least a point out of the night. The problem is there are no moral victories at this point, and after the Lightning close out this 10-game segment of the season they will be at least 4 points behind a comfortable playoff pace. Those are hard points to be chasing down the rest of the season.
Brayden Point was 64% on draws in 15:33. Impressive work.
Luke Witkowski was +1 with 3 hits in 7:46.
Joel Vermin was +1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 13:57.
Sport 2 vs. SaiPa 3 (SO)
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 2-3-5, -5, 39 PIM
Saku Salminen assisted on a Second Period goal in SaiPa's 3-2 SO win over Sport. He played 10:37 in the victory.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Shawinigan Cataractes 5 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 1
W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 2-0-2, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 26 GP, 18-10-28, +1, 30 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM
Yan scored twice to break a five-game goalless streak.
Ontario Hockey League
North Bay Battalion 2 @ Oshawa Generals 5
C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 11/22 FO
Season Totals: 25 GP, 13-20-33, +17, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM
Cirelli had just his third minus game of the season (25 games).
Western Hockey League
Moose Jaw Warriors 7 @ Prince Albert Raiders 3
C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-1-2, +2, 5 PIM
Season Totals: 17 GP, 14-12-26, +4, 13 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM
Howden had a Gordie How hat trick, scoring, notching an assist, and fighting Carson Miller in Moose Jaw’s 7-3 win over the Raiders Friday.
No. 5 Boston University Terriers 2 @ No. 12 Vermont Catamounts 4
D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 13 GP, 0-4-4, +4, 16 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 26 GP, 1-1-2, -4, 26 PIM
C Ross Colton, UVM: 1-0-1, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 15 GP, 7-6-13, +4, 14 PIM
Vermont got a big home win against the visiting Terriers, who seemed to put half their team on the Team USA World Junior camp roster earlier this week. Colton scored the seventh goal of his freshman season – an empty-netter to seal the game.
No. 20 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 3 @ No. 17 St. Cloud State Huskies 1
D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not play
Season Totals: 6 GP, 3-2-1, 2.97 GAA, .901 sv%, 0 SO
Oldham sat as Even Weninger stopped 40 shots in the win. Oldham had 40 saves in a win his last game.
No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 @ Michigan State Spartans 2
D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 14 GP, 2-2-4, +5, 12 PIM
An assist machine in the USHL with Sioux City last year before moving to Dubuque, Zuhlsdorf notched the second assist of his freshman season with Minnesota Friday in East Lansing. The Gophers outshot Sparty, 44-14.
*USCHO poll used for rankings
The Syracuse Crunch found a way to rally late.
After erasing a pair of one-goal deficits, the Crunch pulled ahead late in the third period on a goal by Yanni Gourde, as Syracuse topped the Albany Devils, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
“It shows we’ve got some confidence and we’ve got some confidence in this room,” Crunch assistant captain Erik Condra said. “No matter if we’re up a couple or down a couple, we’re going to work the same way. The puck was bouncing a lot out there, especially in the second … in the third we settled it down and played a more simple game. We know what we’ve got in the room. We’ve been rolling a little bit, and when you’re rolling like that you don’t want it to stop.”
Crunch top Devils in key 4 point game atop the division standings.
Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the victory.
8:08 ALB Quenneville (8), (Mandat)
14:07 SYR Richard (7), (Condra, Dotchin)
11:04 ALB Coleman (6), (Pietila)
5:42 SYR Erne (6), (Peca, Thomas)(PP)
14:36 SYR Gourde (7), (Dotchin, Condra)
18:42 SYR Condra (5), (Gourde, Dotchin)(EN)
Yanni Gourde, Adam Erne, and Jake Dotchin were the game's three stars. Dotchin with assists in triplicate is making waves at right side defense with Witkowski shuttling back and forth to the big club and Blujus out injured.
Syracuse pulls 3 points clear atop the North Division.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Karpat 3 vs. SaiPa 1
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 21 GP, 2-2-4, -6, 39 PIM
Saku Salminen was -1 in 11:44 of ice time in SaiPa's 3-1 loss to Karpat. Ex-NHL'er Jiri Tlusty had a goal in the win for Karpat.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Victoriaville Tigres 4 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 3 (OT)
W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 2 Hits
Season Totals: 28 GP, 16-6-22, +3, 27 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM
W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 28 GP, 25-20-45, +23, 29 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM
Saint John had a 3-1 lead before the Tigres rebounded, tying the game in the final minute of regulation and winning in overtime. Joseph scored his 25th goal of the season, which is two more than anyone else in the league.
Ontario Hockey League
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7 @ Niagara IceDogs 4
W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, -1, 7 PIM, 4 SOG
Season: 27 GP, 13-11-24, +5, 22 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM
W/C Christopher Paquette, NIA: 1-2-3, +2, 2 PIM, 6 SOG
Season Totals: 27 GP, 11-10-21, -3, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM
Paquette had a 3-point night as the IceDogs beat Katchouk and the Soo, 7-4. Katchouk fought Kyle Langdon. Zach Senyshyn had a hat trick for the Greyhounds.
Ottawa 67’s 3 @ Peterborough Petes 5
D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-2-2, +2, 4 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 21 GP, 3-9-12, +6, 25 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM
W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM
Spencer has three points in his last two games.
Sarnia Sting 0 @ Saginaw Spirit 3
W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: Did not play
Season Totals: 22 GP, 11-15-26, +13, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM
Stephens remains out of the Saginaw lineup with an undisclosed injury.
Shaky Lightning crumble under adversity.
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 20 shots for the loss before being lifted for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed 1 goal on 10 shots the rest of the way. Bishop had shown signs of returning to his Vezina candidate form last week, but tonight was a tragic disaster. He was nowhere near square to the puck on Vancouver's first goal and he scored an own goal pushing a puck he was attempting to cover into his own net on a shot off the end boards on Vancouver's second tally. Bishop, in previous years, has been rock solid in First Periods and generally reliable when it comes to making timely saves. Not at all the case this year. Nope. And, this team is simply too fragile to be getting poor goaltending right now.
3:50 VAN Skille (1), (Gudbranson)
9:03 VAN Gudbranson (1), (unassisted)
6:01 VAN Megna (2), (Biega, Tryamkin)
11:46 TB Drouin (4), (Filppula, Witkowski)
19:59 VAN Megna (3), (Sedin, Granlund)
13:58 VAN Skille (2), (Gaunce)
After a seemingly marathon stretch where the Lightning barely had more than a day off in between games the weary Lightning finally had 3 days off before this one against a Vancouver team that was not exactly feasting in the standings. The team came out the first handful of shifts in the game and were dominant and looked absolutely the better team, until Jack Skille got matched up 1-on-1 on Nikita Kucherov backing up for a pinching defenseman. Skille turns the corner with a power move and beats Bishop, who was not square to the puck on the shot, and the Lightning momentum was cooked. The ball of yarn starts to unravel. Minutes later Bishop pushes an innocuous shot off the end boards into his own cage to put the Lightning down 2-0, and here we go again. The Lightning are a difficult muddle of self-inflicted mistakes and awful bounces right now, wrapped in a flimsy tattered sheath of inconsistent goaltending. I wanted to say the Lightning had lost their process in this game once adversity hit, but that's not entirely the case. They had 41 shots on goal and outchanced Vancouver. But the mental mistakes that creeped in with turnovers around the opposing blueline and in the neutral zone leading to odd man rushes and the piss poor coverage by backchecking players against the rush revealed that the Lightning have not fully returned to the structure that helped make them an elite club over the last 2+ seasons. The kill shot in this game, which was an awful turnover in the neutral zone to allow a 2-on-1 goal with less than 2 seconds left in the Second Period to put the game out of reach, was the postcard example of a lot of what's wrong outside of the Lightning crease these days.
Where do we go from here? The Lightning will be in a hole at the end of this 10 game segment, when it comes to playoff pacing. Even if they win out over the last 2 games, they'll be at least 2 points in the hole, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions are coming to town. I don't relish seeing what the results of this measuring stick game will be, quite frankly. What needs to change? A goaltender needs to start making some timely saves and help this team find its backbone and its confidence and hope that helps the team play better structure in its own end and manage the puck better coming out of their own end.
Brayden Point was +1 with 5 shots in 15:32. Instincts are good. Skill level is good. Shot isn't NHL caliber yet. His release is plenty quick, but he doesn't have the steam to score on NHL goaltenders consistently. Give him a summer or two to work on it and he'll start putting away 20-30 a season easy, I think.
Luke Witkowski had a helper and 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 13:45. Congratulations to Witkowski on earning his first NHL point.
Joel Vermin had 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:49.