Light at the end of the tunnel?
Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals in 26 shots for the win.
STL 10:04, Winchester 1 (Backes, Kariya)(PP)
TB 10:37, St. Louis 7 (Tanguay, Lecavalier)
TB 0:36, Stamkos 19 (Foster, St. Louis)
TB 6:24, Foster 5 (Hedman, Malone)
STL 3:58, Oshie 7 (Kariya, Sydor)
TB 4:12, Halpern 6 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)
STL 9:03, Tkachuk 7 (Boyes, McDonald)(PP)
TB 11:15, Halpern 7 (Malone)
TB 19:02, Stamkos 20 (St. Louis)(EN)
I thought in the second period, in particular, the Lightning played with a determination and urgency that is very, very welcome to see. The team's puck movement was also particularly quick and crisp in that period. If they skate and pass the puck like that for 60 minutes a game here on out, they'll win a boat load of hockey games. In particular, Vincent Lecavalier was flying, and the team in general played with a chip on its shoulder. That's the kind of hockey I expected to see this season.
It's a week to Christmas and Steven Stamkos has 20 goals. He's 19 years old. He won't be 20 until February. Think about that.
Zenon Konopka was -1 in 6:45.
Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 44% on draws in 13:48.
James Wright played 9:57.
Blair Jones was +1 with a fight, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 10:27. He struggled a bit in his own end of the rink, but if you watched that second period you saw why we've been saying all along he could flourish under Rick Tocchet. He obliterated David Backes on a clean neutral zone hit and, when challenged, answered the bell pretty well again Carlo Colaiacavo. More importantly, there were times he showed hustle and strength on the puck in the forecheck, too, and his big screen on Kurtis Foster's goal helped give the Lightning a key goal that really put St. Louis behind the eight-ball the rest of the way.
Victor Hedman had an assist and was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 24:17.
Norfolk is combining good defense, good goaltending, and home ice advantage to win some key divisional games.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 26 shots for the win.
NOR Simek, (5) (Bochenski, Parrish), 10:14
NOR Hall, (5) (Karsums, Lundin), 7:31
BNG Bannister, (2) (Smith, Kudelka), 14:56 (PP)
NOR Hall, (6) (Karsums, Craig), 19:12 (EN)
I still can't believe Drew Bannister is still playing hockey.
In another example of Norfolk's exciting forward depth, Martins Karsums stepped up with a multi-point night tonight after only having 6 points through 27 games entering the night. You just knew a veteran with his speed and his track record of scoring at the AHL level was going to eventually start finding the scoresheet.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
In yesterday's opener of the Channel One Cup, Russia got a third period power play marker from Sergey Vinoviev to defeat Sweden 4-3. Lightning prospect Johan Harju played on the second line for Team Sweden. Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin did not dress for the Russians.
London Knights 2 @ Windsor Spitfires 4
C Richard Panik, WSR: Did not play (WJC camp - Slovakia)
Season Totals: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
Sudbury Wolves 3 @ Niagara IceDogs 1
LW Matais Sointu, SBY: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 29 GP, 5-8-13, +4, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 8 GP, 2-1-3, -1, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM
Sointu (pictured) scored the game winning goal with just under eight minutes left in the third period to give the Wolves their fifth win in a row. Sointu is expected to join Team Finland for the World Junior Championships shortly. He has points in consecutive games and three of his past five.
We're on the road to nowhere.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the loss.
DET 8:24, Miller 4 (Rafalski)
DET 6:48, Bertuzzi 9 (Holmstrom, Datsyuk)
DET 10:10, Eaves 4 (Lidstrom, Rafalski)
What I want for Christmas from the Lightning? Something to actually cheer for. It's been weeks since we've had that.
Zenon Konopka had a fight and was 63% on draws.
Paul Szczechura was -1 with 1 shot in 13:18.
James Wright was -1 in 7:25.
Blair Jones was -2 with 2 shots and 5 hits in 11:04.