In case you needed a reminder of what a special talent #4 is...
Antero Niittymaki stopped all 33 shots he faced tonight for the shutout. It's been a heck of a bounce back these past couple of games from Niitty after being somewhat terrible in 2 of the 3 games prior to that.
TB 9:50, St. Louis 14 (Downie)
TB 2:23, Lecavalier 14 (Tanguay, Downie)
TB 5:54, Stamkos 28 (Foster, Lecavalier)(PP)
Vincent Lecavalier, between the legs, 2-0 Lightning. Eat your heart out, Montreal. Have I professed my continuing admiration for Steve Downie and Matt Smaby lately? Downie had a pair of assists tonight and was second star of the game while Matt Smaby continues to single-handedly force opposing teams to respect the Lightning at Tampa Bay's blueline and in the neutral zone. Don't get me wrong, Mattias Ohlund will hit you. But, #32 will harm you. He only got credit for 1 hit tonight. As Bobby Taylor has said on the television broadcasts before, though, the scorekeepers seem to routinely short change Smaby on his hit totals at the Forum. Downie and Smaby: they're both gentlemen and scholars, I tell you.
Paul Szczechura had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and he was 67% on draws in 10:54. Szczechura is now 5 games away from graduation from prospect status here on Bolt Prospects.
Jim Johnson is 4-0-0 as Head Coach.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win.
NOR Lashoff, (4) (Simek, Hale), 2:51 (PP)
HFD Byers, (12) (Locke, Roche), 10:05 (PP)
NOR Parrish, (11) (Fadden, Wishart), 14:12
HFD Crowder, (10) (Ambuhl, Owens), 2:42
HFD Roche, (1) (Locke), 6:49
NOR Tyrell, (2) (Cruthers), 10:10
NOR Hale, (1) (Smolenak, Lashoff), 19:09 (PP)
HFD Locke, (19) (Williams, Heikkinen), 15:08 (PP)
NOR Fadden, (2) (Fornataro, Jackson), 17:14
Mark Parrish was named the game's first star. It's absolutely amazing. After being nowhere statistically for the first half of the season, Mitch Fadden and Dana Tyrell have stepped up and found the scoresheet regularly on this road trip. After going 38 games without a goal, Tyrell now has a goal in each of the past couple of games. And, after going scoreless for the first 15 games of his pro career, Fadden now has 1 goal and 5 points in the past 4 games.
After a scoring change on the game winning goal, Ty Wishart now has 4 multi-point games in his last 6 contests. He's got 20 points now. Why not 30? You can also file Matt Lashoff having his first multi-point night of the season tonight in the category of good news. Much like Radek Smolenak, who started to get on track in the last game and had an assist tonight, the Admirals need Lashoff to start playing to his potential if they're going to push their way into the playoffs.
All in all, despite allowing 4 goals, the Admirals can feel very good about tonight's win considering their captain, Ryan Craig, is away from the team temporarily while he and his wife are having a baby. With the win, Norfolk now creeps to just 2 games under .500. More to the point, the Admirals have jumped to with 1 point of Adirondack for the final playoff spot in the East Division, with Adirondack holding 2 games in hand. They're tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 44 points with the Penguins also having 2 games in hand. They've also moved 2 points ahead of Binghamton, but the Senators hold 4 games in hand.
Norfolk gets a day off before heading back to Springfield, which is in last place in the Atlantic Division, on Friday night. Here's the big one, though: circle it on your calendars. Norfolk has a colossal 4 point divisional tilt in Adirondack on Saturday night. Looking at the schedule, the formula for the Admirals to make the playoffs is pretty simple: they have 14 road games left and 20 at home. They're playing 2 games over .500 on the road by and games under .500 at home. If they can start protecting home ice better and win the lion's share of the 4 point divisional tilts left on their schedule, they will get in. Norfolk has 4 games left against Adirondack (2 home/ 2 away), 6 games left against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (4 home/ 2 away), and 3 games left against Binghamton (0 home/ 3 away).
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Togliatti 0 @ Kazan 4
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 49 GP, 18-7-25, +8, 16 PIM
Kazionov played 13:57 in the match. Kazan got 2 goals from former Rangers farmhand Jarkko Immonen in the victory.
Omsk 1 @ Spartak Moscow 2
Karri Ramo, Omsk, No Decision, 4/4, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 37 GP, 20-15, 3 SO, 2.06 GAA, .913 sv%
Ramo left today's game after playing 19:26 in the first period and stopping all 4 shots he faced. Former Lightning center Martin Cibak scored his 16th goal of the season for Spartak in the match.
Ekaterinurg 0 @ Novokuznetsk 4
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 4-3-7, -18, 16 PIM
Kazionov played 12:38 in the match. Former Lightning draft pick Albert Vishnyakov had his 11th goal of the season in the match for Novokuznetsk.
Magnitogorsk 4 @ Khabarovsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Win, 21/22, 1.00 GAA, .955 sv%
Season totals: 43 GP, 22-18, 6 SO, 2.00 GAA, .926 sv%
Magnitogorsk sits in second place in the KHL's Eastern Conference, just 2 points behind first place Yulaev.
St. Petersburg 1 @ Dynamo Moscow 0
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 49 GP, 3-11-14, -7, 32 PIM
Harju played 16:11 in the match and was 44% on draws. Former Lightning forward Nils Ekman scored the only goal of the game for St. Petersburg.
Cherepovets 3 @ Dynamo Riga 4 (SO)
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, -1, 12 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 5 GP, 1-0-1, -1, 14 PIM
Karsums played 14:55 in the match and was charged with a minor for cross checking and a misconduct in the game. Cherepovets was led by a pair of goals from former NHLer Marcel Hossa, who now leads the league with 29.
D Kirill Gotovets, Shattuck-St. Maryâ€™s
Season Totals: 30 GP, 5-10-15, 65 PIM
Shattuck (31-8-3) has won six of their last eight games. They beat Breck High School (Blake Wheeler's HS) 4-1 in their last game on January 21. Gotovets, a Cornell commit, had five points after 14 games, but has 10 points in his last 16. He is third among Shattuck defensemen in scoring. 5'11" Nick Bruneteau, a Nebraska native, leads all Shattuck defensemen with 32 points in 38 games. He was not on Central Scouting's mid-term rankings. His brother, Brett, was a fourth round pick of Washington in 2007 who's currently playing for the University of North Dakota.