Anders Lindback allowed 3 goals on 21 shots for the loss. I didn't consider any of the 3 goals weak ones, but again, you want your goaltender to help you keep contact in a close game like that and Lindback doesn't.
15:56 BUF Myers (9), (unassisted)
9:25 BUF Foligno (7), (Hodgson, Myers)
13:44 BUF Hodgson (16), (Foligno)
17:31 TB Johnson (19), (Hedman)
Tonight's result was not for a lack of effort, shots, or chances. They outshot Buffalo 44-21, which is amazing considering how low the Lightning's shot totals were on the last roadtrip. They came out with a lot of adrenaline flowing and put a ton of pressure on the Sabres. It led to them getting a little loose defensively and some stupid turnovers like the thing Mark Barberio did on Buffalo's first goal, but for the most part I can't be mad at what I saw. They dominated the faceoff circles. They dominated possession. In his return and wearing the "C" for the first time, Steven Stamkos had at least 3 chances he'd probably have potted were it not for needing to shake off a little rust. In the end, though, Jhonas Enroth stood on his head at a very inopportune time with the Lightning's playoff chances starting to head south.
Mike Kostka had 7 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:57. Yes, it's the Sabres, but you have to be encouraged at how well he filled in with Gudas out of the lineup and how active he was offensively.
Richard Panik had 1 hit in 13:12. The stats don't tell the tale. He was a lot stronger and more confident on the puck than he was before his demotion to Syracuse. He's now 1 game away from graduation from prospect status on the website.
Nikita Kucherov was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 13:52. He failed to convert 2 breakaways and you can see how distraught he was at the bench. He's probably never faced a scoring slump like this in his life. He also is 1 game away from graduation from prospect status on the site.
Ontario Hockey League
Barrie Colts 2 @ Sudbury Wolves 4
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 58 GP, 10-22-32, +18, 115 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
Barrie sits in fifth in the Eastern Conference, currently matched up with No. 4 North Bay.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Halifax Mooseheads 10 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 1
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-5-6, +7, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits, 10/14 FO, *First Star*
Season totals: 42 GP, 25-70-95, +47, 41 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
Wow. Less than a week after fellow Lightning prospect Matt Peca had a six-point game for Quinnipiac University, Drouin set a new regular season career high with a six pointer in Sydney. Drouin scored the game’s opening goal, then added five assists before the end of the second period. His five assists in a game were also a regular season career high. He had six assists in a playoff game last season. He didn’t play much in the third period tonight with Halifax holding a 10-0 lead entering the final frame. Drouin’s teammate, Nikolaj Ehlers, had a hat trick for the third straight game. Drouin, who was named the NHL's top prospect in The Hockey News' Future Watch issue, currently has a 9-game point streak in which he has 24 points.
Tomorrow's a big day.
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss. Hard to be upset with Ben when the team in front of him allows the Blues to stickhandle at will through the slot.
7:08 TB Killorn (15), (Purcell)
14:49 TB Johnson (18), (St Louis, Hedman)(PP)
3:32 STL Berglund (11), (Schwartz, Tarasenko)
17:04 STL Oshie (15), (Steen, Pietrangelo)(SH)
3:47 STL Steen (29), (Backes, Oshie)
19:21 STL Tarasenko (19), (Backes, Schwartz)(EN)
I'm not even going to look at the standings right now, because it's irrelevant if the Lightning don't fix what they're doing right now. On the one hand, they had 2-0 leads in 3 of the 4 games of this road trip and had a 1 goal lead going into the Third Period of the other. So, they manufactured situations on the road where they should have been able to get a fair number of points. That said, the defensive zone coverage looks like a dumpster fire and that contributes to the Lightning's pretty poor possession performance on this road trip. That manifested itself in the form of just 17 shots tonight. You can't win that way.
Tomorrow's a huge day. It's trade deadline day, obviously, and the gigantic hole in the Lightning's defense has never been more obvious. Radko Gudas' play has tailed off the past couple of months and with Gudas hurt tonight, the situation got even worse. I'm of the opinion it's management malpractice if Steve Yzerman doesn't at least get an established bottom pair NHL defenseman tomorrow who can fill in on the second pair on nights like tonight when one of the top-4 are out hurt. Ideally, he'd get a legit top-4 who can also give the Lightning's shaky PK a backbone.
Also, Steve Yzerman has another doctor's visit with a view toward being cleared for Thursday night. The PP tonight actually looked decent until they absolutely wet the bed on Oshie's SH goal. But, in general it's been poor, and Stamkos should go a long way to fix that. As he settles back in, hopefully he'll also give the Lightning the not-so-secret weapon of being able to get a great individual effort goal at opportune times. They could've used that tonight after falling behind 3-2.
Nikita Kucherov had 1 shot in 10:45. Honestly, that might've been the least noticeable he's been in a game all season. He is now just 2 games from graduation from prospect status on the site.
Last day of the KHL regular season!
Magnitogorsk 4 vs. Novgorod 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
And on the final day, Vasily rested. Koshechkin sat backup in Magnitogorsk's 4-2 win over Novgorod. Ex-Columbus pick Sergei Mozyakin led the way with 2 goals and 3 points.
Ufa 3 vs. Chekhov 2
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, Win, 23/25, 2.00 GAA, .920 sv%
Season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%
Andrey Vasilevskiy finished up his rookie season of KHL hockey right turning aside 23 shots in Ufa's 3-2 win over Chekhov. Ex-NHLer Ivan Vishnevsky had the eventual game winner for Ufa.
St. Petersburg 1 vs. Khanty-Mansiysk 2
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 8-6-14, -6, 10 PIM
Nikita Gusev capped his first full season at the KHL level with a game winning, power play goal to lift Yugra to a 2-1 upset win over SKA St. Petersburg. Gusev played 11:24 in the match. He finishes the regular season with 8 goals after averaging just 9:58 of ice time in 44 games.
Bratislava 2 vs. Zagreb 3
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, 29/32, 3.01 GAA, .906 sv%
Season totals: 41 GP, 15-18-8, 2 SO, 2.86 GAA, .898 sv%
Jaroslav Janus' season ended with a whimper as Slovan fell 3-2 to Zagreb. Ex-NHLer Jonathan Cheechoo assisted on the game-winning goal just 13 seconds into the final period of the match. It was Cheechoo's second helper of the game. Ex-Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster also scored for Zagreb.
Here's how the KHL playoffs shape up for the Lightning's prospects:
In the Western Conference, Slovan Bratislava (Jaroslav Janus) finished 11th, 17 points out of the money and will not season the postseason.
In the Eastern Conference, the late season heroics of Vasily Koshechkin allowed Metallurg Magnitogorsk to clinch the 1st seed in the conference by 8 points over divisional rival Ak Bars Kazan. Theyll face 8th seed Vladivostok, which made the playoffs in their expansion season.
Ufa (Andrey Vasilevskiy) will get the test of being the 4th seed and will square off against 5th seed Novgorod. Both teams finished with 94 points, but Ufa got the tiebreak.
Like Bratislava, Khanty-Mansisysk (Nikita Gusev) finished 11th in their conference and will not make the KHL's postseason tournament. They finished 14 points behind Vladivostok for the final playoff spot in the East.