Two good teams squared off in a familiar place. Syracuse won this round.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed just 1 goal on 24 shots for the win. He's unbeaten. He has a sub-2 GAA, and a save percentage of .924. I wouldn't be in a rush to return him to the Coast once Helenius is back up to speed, which begs the question of what the Lightning will choose to do with either Riku or Cedrick, if anything.
SYR Brown, (4) (Cote, Sergeev), 1:53
NOR Whitney, (4) (Steckel), 14:29
SYR Kucherov, (12) (Namestnikov), 17:58
Nikita Kucherov and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. In my mind, the Lightning have an obvious dilemma coming up next season. By the time we roll into training camp next year, it's going to be fairly obvious that Jonathan Drouin, Kucherov, and Vladislav Namestnikov will be ready for Tampa Bay. Opening up 3 spots in Tampa Bay will be very challenging.
Norfolk's had a strong start to the season, so this was a high-quality win for Syracuse. The two teams are now tied with 17 points heading into the rematch at Scope tomorrow. Syracuse is now 1 point back of the top spot in the East Division and 2 points back for the Eastern Conference lead after a slow start to their campaign. That's not bad considering the lack of a consistent second line and the lack of consistent play on the backline. Wait 'til Zettler gets those pieces in shape.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Moncton Wildcats 0 @ Halifax Mooseheads 4
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-1-2, +2, 4 PIM, 5 SOG, 0 Hits, 10/18 FO, *Third Star*
Season totals: 13 GP, 8-17-25, +9, 16 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
Ontario Hockey League
Barrie Colts 5 @ London Knights 4 (SO)
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 1-0-1, -1, 4 PIM
Season totals: 16 GP, 4-5-9, +8, 35 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
Kitchener Rangers 5 @ Kingston Frontenacs 6 (SO)
W Henri Ikonen, KGN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0/1 in SO
Season totals: 16 GP, 8-16-24, +11, 14 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM
Florida Everblades 5 vs Elmira Jackals 6
FW Danick Gauthier, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 6 GP, 3-3-6, +3, 15 SOG, 17 PIM
G Kristers Gudlevskis, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 2 GP, 2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, 32 S / 35 SA (.914 SV%)
D Charles Landry, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 6 GP, 0-1-1, +8, 5 SOG, 9 PIM
FW Maxime Langelier-Parent, FLA (AHL Contract): Did not play
Season totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 5 SOG, 2 PIM
D Dan Milan, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 4 SOG, 6 PIM
FW Carl Nielsen, FLA (AHL Contract): 1-0-1, -2, 2 SOG, 0 PIM
Season totals: 8 GP, 1-2-2, E, 8 SOG, 24 PIM
Florida suffered its first regulation loss of the season, falling to Elmira in nearly hard-to-fathom fashion after finishing the match with a 41-18 shot advantage, done in by a stretch lasting from the late-first through late-second periods that saw Elmira take a 6-3 lead. The Everblades clawed back to make a game of it in the final frame but ultimately squandered an impressive special teams performance in which the team capitalized on one of its three power play opportunities while also registering three shorthanded tallies. Carl Nielsen, who was the only member of the Lightning or Crunch organizations to appear in the contest with Danick Gauthier, Kristers Gudlevskis and Charles Landry on recall to Syracuse and both Dan Milan and Maxime Langelier-Parent scratched, scored his first goal of the season. After splitting against Elmira, Florida (8-0-1, 17 PTS) closes out its weekend Saturday night against Toledo (3-3-1, 7 PTS).
Ontario Hockey League
Sudbury Wolves 4 @ North Bay Battalion 3
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 8 GP, 1-3-4, -5, 10 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
Mississauga Steelheads 2 @ Barrie Colts 5
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 15 GP, 3-5-8, +9, 31 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
Plymouth Whalers 5 @ Windsor Spitfires 6
D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 1-1-2, +3, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Season totals: 15 GP, 4-9-13, +14, 10 PIM
2012-13 totals: 40 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM
Bishop is the truth.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 38 points for the win. He absolutely stole the game for the Lightning, stopping multiple breakaways and robbing Boyd Gordon going post to post to stop a 2-on-1 chance late in the Third Period. As lousy as I thought the Lightning were in front of him, Bishop was that much more excellent.
7:37 TB Stamkos (12), (unassisted)
10:11 EDM Fedun (2), (Eberle, Hemsky)
19:07 TB Stamkos (13), (unassisted)
18:33 TB Johnson (4), (Panik, Gudas)
10:22 EDM Hall (4), (Eberle)(PP)
Bishop and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars. It's a short list of Lightning players you could say had a good game after those two.
Maybe it's a function of the long layoff, but I'm disappointed by the effort from the team tonight coming off their best all-around game of the season against St. Louis. I get that you're going to have clunkers over the course of the year and good teams find ways to win games like these. But, to go from their best game of the year to one of their worst shows a level of inconsistency that is very worrying. That's not a recipe for sustainable success, and you worry about a hangover from this game. When you make that many mistakes and exhibit that many bad habits and get away with them, without the negative consequences, they have a way of lingering for a game or two afterwards. It happened after the game in Sunrise and I worry about it happening here.
On the bright side, the Lightning check into the midpoint of this second 10-game segment of the season at 8 points. That's a good spot to be, 4 points back of the minimum 12 you want them to get out of every segment. So, 5 games to get at least 4 points is good position, but I'll tell you: they'd be hard pressed to win a dog show most nights playing as poorly as they did against the Oilers.
Radko Gudas had a helper and was +4 with 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 22:42 to go with 2 PIMs. That's a hefty stat line, no doubt about it.
Mark Barberio had 1 blocked shot in 15:33. Probably his second best game of the season. He was very active offensively in the first and had some nice breakout passes throughout the game. The flip side is that he still is terrifyingly soft along the wall in 1-on-1 battles.
Tyler Johnson had the GWG, 2 shots, 1 hit, and was 45% on draws in 17:43. He's on pace for about 22 goals now, which is pretty darned good. That said, I'd like to see him shoot more.
Alex Killorn was +2 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 19:10. He hit the post trying to score on a gaping cage on a First Period PP.
Ondrej Palat had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 13:32. And, he had at least 2 really good defensive plays that I noted that cancelled out Edmonton scoring chances. He's on that short list of guys I'd say had a good game.
Richard Panik had a helper and was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:43. Skill. He's got it. He had a very quiet night and then all of a sudden he breaks an Edmonton defender down scientifically 1-on-1 and dishes to TJ for the game winning goal. Was it a good game for Panik? Maybe not, but they don't win tonight without that single individual effort.