Harju, Johan

NHL Game Night: 2/12/11 Hurricanes at Lightning

9 straight overtime victories!

TB-4 (OT)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the overtime victory.

First Period

Second Period
04:26 TB Downie (7), St Louis (46), Stamkos (34)
07:41 TB Lecavalier (12), Purcell (24), Gagne (9)(PP)
09:08 CAR Staal (27), Pitkanen (22), Cole (18)(PP)

Third Period
12:48 TB Bergenheim (11), Tyrell (7)
19:08 CAR Skinner (21), Staal (29), Ruutu (30)
19:27 CAR Cole (15), Pitkanen (23), Corvo (21)

01:32 TB Moore (10), Bergeron (3)

Marc-Andre Bergeron and Vincent Lecavalier were the game's first and second stars. The Lecavalier line is starting to look like the Lightning's best line over the past week or two, and Lecavalier is starting to look like the Lightning's best player. And with that news, the rest of the NHL should collectively tremble in fear.

9 straight overtime victories is just remarkable. Ordinarilly, a team might've collapsed after blowing a 2 goal lead in the final minute of a game. But, this Lightning team just knows how to win in overtime. I don't know if it'll translate perfectly to the playoffs, given that regular season overtime is 4-on-4, but it has to be a little bit of an advantage to the Lightning to have that confidence in deadlocked, sudden death games.

The state of play in the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference has the Lightning opening up a 5 point advantage on the Caps for 1st place in the division and pulling to within 4 points of the Flyers for 1st in the conference with Philly holding 2 games in hand. The Lightning also hold a 13 point lead on 9th place Atlanta, so it would take a colossal collapse with 26 regular season games to go for the Lightning to miss the postseason.

Johan Harju had 2 shots and 1 hit in 7:51. He got a fair amount of ice time in the opening period, but when games are tight rookie callups tend to sit, and that's what happened in the last 2 periods.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Harju Downplays Swedish Newspaper Reports

Damian Crisdotero is reporting that forward Johan Harju is downplaying remarks that were reported in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet recently quoting Harju as being unhappy with his current situation in the Lightning organization. The article claimed Harju was contemplating returning to Europe next season with his path to the NHL seemingly blocked by the strong performance of the club's forwards in Tampa Bay.

Per Crisdotero:

“It wasn’t really true,” Harju said. “A couple of guys from my hometown in Sweden (were) working for a newspaper and I talked to them and they understood me wrong, so that was the big thing and it was in the newspaper. I have a fun time here and love to play here.”

Harju has a 1 goal and 2 points in 7 NHL games this season and 18 goals and 25 points in 40 games for Norfolk of the AHL. The 24 year old recently represented the Admirals in the AHL All-Star Game, posting an assist in that game. He was recalled recently with the injuries to Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson and will likely be in the lineup tonight against Carolina.

AHL Game Night: 2/5/11 Senators at Admirals

More late third period horrors in Norfolk.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Smith, (6) (Benoit, Locke), 18:53 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (15) (Harju), 12:35

Third Period
BNG Smith, (7) (Greening, Locke), 1:01
NOR Labrie, (5) (Angelidis, Berry), 1:55
BNG Wick, (9) (O'Brien, Schira), 19:47

Pierre-Cedric Labrie was the game's third star.

For the second game in a row, Norfolk gives up a late third period goal to the Senators. Last night it allowed Binghamton to steal a point before falling in overtime. Tonight, it took at least a point away from the Admirals in the form of a regulation loss. Norfolk's a rather pitiful 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 games and are fading in the chase for second place in the division. That's bad news, because they now look destined to have to face either Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or Hershey with the Pens and Bears holding home ice, which looks to be a recipe for a quick playoff exit. With 29 games left to go in the regular season, it's time for the Admirals to start to get serious.

For his part, Blair Jones extended his scoring streak to 5 games, while Johan Harju extended his to 4.

Marc-Andre Bergeron did not play tonight as he has been recalled by the Lightning with ex-Admiral Mike Lundin ailing from a groin injury. In his place, the Lightning have gone ahead and completed the assignment of netminder Mike Smith to the Admirals.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/4/11 Senators at Admirals

Norfolk escapes after blowing another lead late.

NOR-4 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period

Second Period
NOR Bergeron, (1) (Vernace, Jones), 7:22 (PP)
BNG Butler, (22) (Greening, Locke), 10:13
NOR Harju, (18) (Giliati, Pouliot), 16:56
NOR Giliati, (6) (Pouliot, Bergeron), 19:11

Third Period
BNG Wiercioch, (3) (O'Brien, Smith), 7:59 (PP)
BNG Daugavins, (11) (Condra, Locke), 18:55

NOR Bergeron, (2) (Pouliot, Quick), 3:03 (PP)

Marc-Andre Bergeron and Stefano Giliati were the game's first and second stars.

Norfolk got the two points, which is the big thing, but it continues to be a recurring problem for the Admirals when it comes to protecting leads late. They were outshot 14-3 in the third period and allowed 2 goals to the Senators in the frame. They capped a bad period by allowing the equalizer with 1:05 left to go in the period, and thereby surrendered a point to the division rival they currently have in their rear view mirror. Not good. The Admirals still look in line to be a playoff club, but they may be an early out if they can't get better defensively. Getting Mathieu Roy back yesterday was probably an excellent start to solving that puzzle.

With 2 goals and 1 assist tonight, Marc-Andre Bergeron is signaling that he's starting to round into form. After posting just 1 point in his first 6 games as an Admiral, Bergeron has 7 points in his last 7.

Johan Harju's goal tonight marked the first time he's scored goals in back-to-back games since late November. One wonders if Harju is enjoying an All-Star bounce or if possibly a certain GM or Assistant GM had a heart-to-heart with Big Joe after reports surfaced in the Swedish papers he was unhappy.

Norfolk holds a 2 point lead over Charlotte for 3rd in the East Division and a 7 point lead over 5th place Binghamton. A win tomorrow night (in regulation) could really put Bingo in a bad way, and can help Norfolk try to close the gap on surging second place Hershey.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/3/11 Admirals at Checkers

Admirals come back to steal a point in a wild goal-fest.

CHA-7 (OT)

Jaroslav Janus allowed 7 goals on 29 shots for the loss in his first AHL start of the season. I miss the pre-knee injury Janus from last season.

First Period
CHA Micflikier, (20) , 3:50
CHA Terry, (19) (Matsumoto), 4:05
NOR Jones, (14) (Wright, Bergeron), 8:01 (PP)
NOR Fornataro, (15) (Barberio, Giliati), 13:18
CHA Nash, (11) (Rodney, Samson), 18:18 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Harju, (17) (Roy, Wright), 4:51
CHA Dalpe, (15) (Terry), 8:08
NOR Gudas, (4) (Berry, Barberio), 14:00
CHA Matsumoto, (13) , 17:14 (SH)

Third Period
CHA Matsumoto, (14) (Jordan), 8:59
NOR Berry, (12) (Pouliot), 11:53 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (13) (Fornataro, Harju), 17:27

CHA Samson, (24) , 1:11

Alex Berry was the game's third star.

Norfolk had to work in Janus somewhere over this back-to-back-to-back games set, and the results were going to be unpredictable. Unfortunately, giving up 7 goals, the worst case scenario occured. I suspect Tic will be back in against Binghamton tomorrow and on Saturday.

I am heartened to see Johan Harju follow up his assist in the East's 11-8 All-Star victory on Monday night with a multi-point night in Charlotte. Big Joe hadn't had a multi-point game since November, although in fairness some of that time he was up with Tampa. I, personally, feel that it's important for Tampa Bay to keep Harju and other guys like Blair Jones rolling in Norfolk, because they'll provide depth in the case of injuries come playoff time.

Norfolk desperately needs to take these upcoming games against fifth place Binghamton, or they could really play themselves into some trouble. Right now Norfolk is in third place in the East, tied at 59 points with Charlotte with a game in hand. But, Bingo lurks 6 points back. If they were to sweep, Norfolk would find it in some deep trouble. A Norfolk sweep this weekend could really help put the Sens away. It's a crossroads of the season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1/25/11 Admirals at Pirates



Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for the loss.

First Period
POR Whitmore, (18) (Brennan, Gragnani), 16:28

Second Period
POR Mancari, (27) , 12:53

Third Period
NOR Harju, (16) (Pouliot, Vernace), 12:24

Norfolk outshot Portland 28-21, but Norfolk could not solve Jonas Enroth to get the equalizing goal. On the good side, sniper Johan Harju scored his 16th of the season after going 8 prior games without lighting the lamp. Harju's longest goalless streak prior to that was 4 games.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1/15/11 Sound Tigers at Admirals

The Admirals finally cracked the Joel Martin code.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 19 shots for the win.

First Period
BRI Figren, (11) (Katic, Wishart), 6:32 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Angelidis, (14) (Pouliot, Vernace), 1:21
BRI Motherwell, (3) (Katic, Figren), 12:53 (PP)
NOR Durno, (12) (Gudas, Fornataro), 15:20

Third Period
NOR Durno, (13) (Harju), 18:51

Chris Durno and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and second stars.

Norfolk outshot Bridgeport a stunning 51-19 in the contest, but it wasn't until Johan Harju set up Durno for the game winning goal with 1:09 left that the Admirals finally claimed their first lead of the night.

Radko Gudas was a team high +3 to go along with an assist on Durno's first goal. Gudas, Durno, and Angelidis are all now +17 for the season, one plus behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Robert Bortuzzo for the league lead.

Credit to General Manager Julien BriseBois for signing Angelidis. Through 40 games this season, Angelidis' 24 points already match his season total in 67 games last year.

Norfolk's victory moves them back into a tie with idle Charlotte for second place in the East Division. At the season's halfway mark, Norfolk is on a pace for 42 wins and 102 points, and they're also on a pace to score 292 goals, as well. Norfolk's AHL record season, while an affiliate of the Blackhawks, saw them score 301 goals in 2006-2007 en route to earning 108 points. So, this version of the Norfolk Admirals has a chance to be one of the best, if not the best, in team history.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1/11/11 Checkers at Admirals

Is it time for the Admirals to start bailing water out of the ship?


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 39 shots in the loss. He has to be wondering why all that goal support he was getting the first couple of months of the season has evaporated.

First Period
CHA Osala, (9) (Sutter, Terry), 11:16

Second Period

Third Period
CHA Blanchard, (3) (Samson, McNicoll), 10:49
NOR Pouliot, (10) , 14:52

Desjardins was named the second star of the game.

Norfolk is now 2-4-3-1 in their last 10 games. 2 regulation wins in 10 tries is pretty poor, no matter how you slice it. Their 138 goals are still the most in the league, but they've been held to 2 or fewer goals in 5 of their last 8 games. Unsurprisingly, they're 0-3-1-1 in those games. There's your losing streak, and it's also no coincidence that All-Star selection Johan Harju has just 1 goal in his last 9 games. Not to put it all on one guy, but he was one of the players acting as the straw that stirred the drink earlier in the season. He needs to round back into form. Pure speculation, but I wonder if he may be down seeing his buddy Linus Omark get more opportunities with Edmonton. He shouldn't feel that way if he does, though. Edmonton's getting their brains beat in on a nightly basis while, if Harju picks his production back up, there's certainly a good shot he could be up in Tampa when the rosters expand as the Lightning push toward the playoffs. That's somewhere Omark and the Oilers aren't going without buying tickets, I assure you.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Norfolk's Harju Named AHL All-Star

Norfolk Admirals forward and Lightning prospect Johan Harju has been named to the AHL Eastern Conference All-Star Star Team for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic Presented by Capital BlueCross.

Harju, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, has appeared in 26 games with the Admirals this season in his North American debut, recording 15 goals and 26 points with a plus-8 rating. He leads Norfolk in goals and is fifth in points.

A native of Overtornea, Sweden, Harju made his NHL debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 12 at Pittsburgh. He has played in seven NHL games with the Lightning this season, recording a goal and two points. He notched his first NHL point on December 4 against Colorado with an assist and followed that up with his first goal December 7 at Calgary. Harju was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 167th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
--Norfolk Admirals

AHL Game Night: 1/7/11 Whale at Admirals

Resisting the cheap "Admirals Harpoon Whale" opening...


Cedrick Desjardins stopped 24 of 26 shots to improve to 13-5-1 this season.

First Period
NOR Harju, (15) (Pouliot, Durno), 0:17
CT Dupont, (6) (Tessier), 8:45

Second Period
NOR Wright, (11) (Fornataro, Szczechura), 10:06
CT Williams, (2) (White, Nightingale), 15:00

Third Period
NOR Vernace, (6) (Jones), 11:22
NOR Angelidis, (12) (Jones, Berry), 11:45
NOR Durno, (11) (Pouliot, Quick), 12:30

Blair Jones, Chris Durno, and Michael Vernace were the game's three stars.

Johan Harju broke a 4 game pointless skid and a 6 game goalless skid. Radko Gudas improved to +16 for the season with a +3 effort. He's tied with Chris Durno and now one plus behind AHL leader Mike Angelidis of the Ads. That's right, three of the four league leaders in plus-minus are Norfolk Admirals.

Incidentally, rebranding your team in the middle of the season is odd. The Whale was the Hartford Wolf Pack a few months ago, if you were wondering.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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