Thrashers lose 3-2 to the Caps at home in "Blue Land" (which also shares a border with "How Stupid Will You Feel If You Traded Three First Round Picks To Finish Second in the Division Land"). Atlanta wastes their game in hand and now, if the Lightning get just 1 point out of their next game against the Panthers it will set up an epic season finale with a championship banner on the line.
Enjoy your tee times "champs".
Johan Holmqvist (just win baby) stopped 22 of 24 shots faced for the win. The Lightning got goals from Eric Perrin, Vincent Lecavalier and the The Showman, Dan Boyle. With all due respect to Marty and Vinny, Dan Boyle is, was, and always will be the most entertaining player on this club to watch night in and night out. If you spliced the genes of Bobby Orr and PT Barnum, the end product would be Dan Boyle. He is the NHL's best kept secret. He is also one of only a dozen or so players in this league who are worth paying money to see just in of himself along with the Crosbys of the world. He's that good, and he's got 20 goals this season to prove it. It's a crying shame the NHL doesn't recognize just what sensational marquee caliber player he is. Jason Ward, Nolan Pratt and Vaclav Prospal added assists.
The Lightning pull within 1 point of Atlanta in the division with the Thrashers holding a game in hand. And, with the Smirkin' Chikins having a date with Washington coming up, you're about to witness one of the handful of awkward occassions in my life where I've had to utter the phrase "lets go Caps". The math is painfully simple from here on out. Atlanta has to leave at least a point on the ice against either Washington or Carolina before the Lightning and Thrashers meet up in "Blue Land" (and it's recently annexed protectorate "Mortgaged the Future of My Franchise to Try to Save My Job Land" where Don Waddell presides as Prime Minister). If they do, the division title will be in play when the Lightning take the ice in the season finale with the #3 seed, the home ice, the division title and a percentage of the proceeds from Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's last shady land deal all up for grabs. Don't choke Atlanta.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
In Game Three of their Superleague seminfinal playoff series, CSKA scored their first win of the series defeating Kazan 3-2. CSKA still trailed the series 2-1. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.
Kazan struck back to clinch a spot in the Superleague finals defeating CSKA 2-1 in Game Four. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.
Kazan advances to the Superleague finals to face Magnitogorsk which beat Omsk 3 games to 1. Game One of the Russian Superleague finals begins Saturday.
One Lightning prospect sees his season end while another moves on.
Sudbury 6 @ Mississauga 3
Sudbury wins best-of-7 series 4-1
The OHL Eastern Conference's No.3 seed Mississauga IceDogs - the team with the second most points in the conference - is going home after 5 games. The Sudbury Wolves came out flying in Game 5, outshooting the IceDogs 16-4 in the first period and taking a 3-0 lead. Mississauga responded, outshooting the Wolves 21-5 in the second and 16-8 in the third, but the team could not get an equalizer. The IceDogs scored in the first 6 minutes of the third period to cut Sudbury's lead to 4-3, but the Wolves scored within 10 seconds of that goal and added an empty netter for the final score. Lightning center/winger Chris Lawrence had an assist and 6 PIM in the loss and now will wait for a contract offer from Tampa Bay. Lightning prospect camp invitee Travis Fuller (47 points in 43 games) could attract some interest from one of Tampa's affiliates for a tryout contract.
Lawrence finished the series with three goals and an assist in the five games. He was also minus-6 and had 14 PIM.
Everett 4 @ Spokane 1
Everett wins best-of-7 series 4-2
Top-seeded Everett got a go-ahead power play goal with 4 seconds left in the first period and held on until adding a couple of empty-netters to defeat Spokane 4-1 and win the opening round series 4-2. Lightning prospect and defenseman Dane Crowley was scoreless and even for the Silvertips. He finished the series with two assists in the six games and a plus-2 rating.
Johnstown gains two more points on Reading and Wheeling. Playoffs look within their reach.
Ryan Munce stopped 23 of 24 shots faced for the win. Zbynek Hrdel and Gus Katsuras each had 1 goal and 1 assist with Katsuras potting the overtime game winner. Ian MacLean and Bryan Nathe added assists. Rookie star Maxime Boisclair was kicked out of the game midway through the first period with a slashing major. Katsuras, Munce and Hrdel were the game's three stars. Munce is 4-1-0 in his last 5 starts.
JHN Hrdel, (12) (MacLean, Katsuras), 8:33
CIN Daoust, (31) (Rawlyk, Stewart), 7:22
JHN Katsuras, (10) (Nathe, Hrdel), 0:06 (PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.