It would be extremely sad if Brad Richards or Dan Boyle's Lightning careers ended like this.
Boston 5:08, Mark Stuart 3 (Marco Sturm)
Tampa Bay 11:12, Michel Ouellet 8 (Brad Richards, Jan Hlavac)
Boston 18:25, Glen Murray 13 (power play) (Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard)
Boston 0:17, Glen Murray 14 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 17:43, Vaclav Prospal 29 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Johan Holmqvist)
Boston 18:56, P.J. Axelsson 11 (shorthanded) (Glen Metropolit)
Tonight was probably Vaclav Prospal and (mercifully) Chris Gratton's last games in a Lightning uniform. It might've been the last go round for several other players as well. The irony of the last goal of tonight being scored by Vaclav Prospal, from Dan Boyle and Holmqvist was not lost on me. All three could conceivably be gone when the Lightning take to the ice Wednesday against the Wild.
The Lightning only dressed 5 defensemen tonight (as if only playing Janik 2-4 minutes a night wasn't enough of a clue the coaches have no faith in him) with Dan Boyle playing a ridiculous 37 minutes. The situation was exacerbated by Shane O'Brien only getting 14 minutes of ice time. What a mess. Recall Matt Smaby.
Just a sad, sad night, and this organization probably is going to have to wait until June at the draft before they have anything to really feel good about.
Wild and wooly.
Marc Denis allowed 6 goals on 37 shots before allowing 3 of 5 shooters to score for the shootout loss. Remember how I said about a week ago that maybe Denis' play was turning up just enough to get him back to the NHL on re-entry waivers? Um, yeah, scratch that. We're stuck with him.
NOR Lessard, (15) (Keller, Mihalik), 2:36
MCH Boyle, (22) (Moulson, Gauthier), 6:44 (PP)
MCH Zeiler, (3) (Murray, Klemm), 7:39
MCH Moulson, (19) (Tukonen, Milam), 13:42 (PP)
MCH Meckler, (16) (Boyle), 19:56 (SH)
NOR Milley, (16) (Scalzo, Smaby), 0:14
NOR Milley, (17) (Keller, Jones), 14:38
NOR Wanvig, (19) (Stewart, Fletcher), 16:03
NOR Jones, (9) (Keller, Milley), 2:52
MCH Moulson, (20) (Lewis), 5:45
NOR Szczechura, (13) (Smolenak), 15:52
MCH Gauthier, (20) (Meckler, Hersley), 19:52 (PP)
MAN- Boyle, Meckler, Moulson
Yes, you read right, the Ads came within 8 seconds of winning the game in regulation before allowing Gauthier's tying power play goal. Stat of the game: Manchester 3-for-4 on the power play, Norfolk 0-for-5. The Ads also allowed a shorthanded marker on the night. Special teams were not so special tonight and that made all the difference on the scoreboard.
That said, kudos to the Admrials for battling back from a 4-1 first period hole to get a point. The "battle level", as Claude Loiselle likes to say, has gone through the roof on this team in the last month. That was job one for the Ads this season: create that never-say-die work ethic. Once that foundation gets laid, everything else gets a lot easier.
Blair Jones was named second star of the game for Norfolk. Jones had 1 goal, 1 assist, and was +2.
Justin Keller had 3 helpers and was +4 and has been busily doing everything it takes to get his card punched for Tampa in the coming weeks.
Vladimir Mihalik had an assist and was +3 on the night. For all the Norfolk fans who want to tar and feather the Vladasaurus, that put the big Slovak at +3 for the season.
Radek Smolenak's assist on what almost was the game winner continued a solid last month and a half for the big Czech winger. Smolenak has 5 goals and 11 points in his last 16 games. Cup of coffee. Give him one.
After a wickedly bad start to his Admirals career which saw him a tragic -15 with Norfolk at the end of December (yuck), Mario Scalzo is a much more respectable -2 in the last two months and has 3 goals and 10 points in 21 games over that time period.
The improvement is pretty much across the board amongst the prospects on the team in the last couple of months. It's very exciting.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Victoria Grizzlies 3 @ Surrey Eagles 2 (OT)
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-2-2, 2 PIM (unsportsmanlike conduct), *First Star*
Tri-City Storm 3 @ Chicago Steel 2
W/C Luca Cunti, CHI: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 shot on goal
Lewiston MAINEiacs 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 2 (SO)
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 shots on goal
More scores on the flip.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jonathan Boutin.
Boutin stopped 41 of 43 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping 6 of 7 shooters for the shootout win. Boutin evened his season record at 11-11-3 with the win and he is now 5-0-1 in his last 6 starts. He also has a .951 save percentage in his four starts this month. We don't do the Bolt Prospects Prospect of the Month anymore, but if we did, he's be getting his name engraved on it for February.
MCH Petiot, (2) (Cliche, Murray), 4:15
NOR Wanvig, (18) (Leach, Schneider), 10:04 (PP)
NOR Stewart, (13) (Henrich, Leach), 7:08 (PP)
MCH Cliche, (4) (Tukonen, Murray), 5:09
NOR- Szczechura, Lessard
Jay Leach and Boutin were named the first and third stars of the game, respectively.
The Admirals took the two points despite being outshot 43-29 in the contest.
Box score from TheAHL.com.