Congratulations to Jeff Halpern on hitting 20 goals. That's the silver lining in tonight's mess.
Mike Smith allowed 6 goals on 32 shots in the loss.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 22:09 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots. That's the first time in his NHL career he's broken the tape on 20 minutes of ice time, so it's a small milestone.
Marc Denis deserved better.
Denis stopped 38 of 39 shots for the loss and was named second star of the game.
PHI Zingoni, (20) (Ross), 4:56 (PP)
Box score from TheAHL.com.
QMJHL FIRST ROUND - EASTERN DIVISION
Game 6: (5) Lewiston MAINEiacs 1 @ (4) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2 (OT)
Cape Breton wins Best of 7 series 4-2
D Michael Ward, LEW:
Game: 0-1-1, +1, 5 min. major for charging + game misconduct
Series: 5 GP, 0-3-3, +3, 13 PIM (Plus a game misconduct. Was suspended for Game 1)
Lewiston will not repeat as QMJHL champions as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles overcame a 1-0 third period deficit to force overtime, then winger Murdock MacLellan scored just his fifth goal of the year at 9:46 of the extra session to clinch the series for CB. According to the Lewiston Sun-Journal, Ward stepped into a check at the right point with 2:15 to play in the second period and leveled CBâ€™s Chris Culligan. Ward was kicked out and Culligan received a minor for roughing after the fact.
Whatâ€™s Next for Ward: After a slow start to the season offensively, Ward came on over the second half and followed that up with 3 points in 5 playoff games. The 6-3, 200 pound defenseman also displayed more of a mean streak in the final month. Primarily a defensive-defenseman, Ward could break out statistically next season in the Q much the same way Paul Ranger did for Oshawa of the OHL a season after his draft year. Ward could be a two-way minute-eater for Lewiston next year and top 35 points and 100 PIM.
Atlanta dealt a blow in their own quest for Steve Stamkos.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 23 shots for the loss. Can I just say, "Case in point?" After seeing Karri Ramo go 2-0-1 including a sterling effort against the division leading Canes, Smith got well quickly to play the Thrashers tonight and with only a smidge of goal support he would've won. That's what having two young lions competing for the starting job will do for the Lightning. You won't get that if Smith isn't being pushed because he has a sad sack retread as a backup.
19:40 of even hockey for Matt Smaby with 1 shot on goal and 3 hits. The fact Matt has been even with over 18 minutes of IT in both of these one goal nailbiters only helps his resume going into next season in pursuit of an NHL job. And I'll pose the question again: if Smaby finishes out the year continuing to garner 5-6 minutes more IT than Mike Lundin, does that mean he's passed Lundin on the depth chart? When I heard Coach Tortorella's comments about Ramo and Lundin, I obviously was strongly against sending Ramo down to the minors next season. However, if Lundin doesn't hit the weight room hard this offseason and get the upper body strength he desperately needs, Coach might have a legitimate point about the young blueliner.
WHL FIRST ROUND - EASTERN CONFERENCE
Game 6: (6) Brandon Wheat Kings 0 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 4
Lethbridge wins Best of 7 series 4-2
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (hooking)
Series: 6 GP, 2-6-8, -2, 4 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Fadden and Lethbridge finally put Brandon away after letting the Wheaties back into the series 3-2. Lethbridge scored twice in the first period Sunday, then added two early third period goals to cement the series win and end their two-game losing streak. This is the first series win for Lethbridge since 1997. Theyâ€™ve been 0-6 in first round match-ups since that year.
Fadden finished the series with 8 points, which is one better than the 7 he posted last year (2-5-7) in one playoff round (6 games) for the â€˜Canes.
Because of No.2 Reginaâ€™s upset loss to Swift Current, Lethbridge is the second-highest seed remaining in the Eastern Conference. They will play Kootenay in the Conference Semi-Finals. Kootenay, the 5 seed, defeated Medicine Hat 4 games to 1. Lethbridge was 1-5 vs. Kootenay this year, with their one win being a 7-1 shellacking February 12. That series will open Friday. No.1 Calgary, who defeated Moose Jaw 4-2, will host Swift Current.
In the West, the top seeded Tri-City Americans will await the winner of Tuesdayâ€™s Game 7 between Seattle and Kelowna. Vancouver will play Spokane in the other series. All 3 top seeds in the Western Conference swept their first round series.