Harju, Johan

AHL Game Night: 11/22/10 Admirals at Checkers

Norfolk takes Charlotte to the woodshed.

NOR-7
CHA-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the win. It was another sub-.900 performance, but he did shut the door in the final two periods, so there's still positives to take away.

First Period
NOR Durno, (6) (Quick, Milam), 1:05
CHA Dalpe, (7) (Bowman, Rodney), 3:30 (PP)
CHA Micflikier, (9) (Boychuk, Carson), 4:37 (PP)
NOR Durno, (7) (Giliati), 8:31
CHA Samson, (12) (Nash, Boychuk), 14:07
NOR Harju, (8) (Berry, Fritz), 16:48

Second Period
NOR Vernace, (3) (Durno), 11:09
NOR Harju, (9) (Angelidis), 16:40

Third Period
NOR Wright, (5) , 1:00 (SH)
NOR Giliati, (2) (Vernace), 5:16

Chris Durno, Johan Harju, and Michael Vernace were the game's three stars. It's great to see a pair of goals by Harju. You always wonder how a player is going to respond the first time they get sent back down to the minors, especially a European player. Harju appears to have responded well. Same thing with James Wright, who had a shorty tonight in garbage time.

Stefano Giliati had 1 goal and 1 assist tonight. That's my guy. Don't look now, but the Montreal native has 5 points in 11 games this season.

As of this posting, Chris Durno and Radko Gudas are tied for second in the AHL with a +12 rating, one back of Portland's Drew Schiestel.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/18/10 Lightning at Flyers

Maybe the craziest game I've ever seen.

TB-8
PHI-7

Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 10 shots before giving way to Mike Smith, who allowed 3 goals on 22 shots to get the win in relief.

First Period
04:21 PHI Nodl (4), Zherdev (1), Richards (12)
05:03 PHI Zherdev (6), Carle (5), Richards (13)
08:20 TB Stamkos (17), St Louis (15), Ellis (1)(PP)
08:36 TB Hall (3), Hedman (7), Bergenheim (5)
09:51 PHI Carter (9), O'Donnell (2), Giroux (12)
13:59 TB Malone (3), St Louis (16), Stamkos (15)(PP)
15:34 PHI Hartnell (7), Coburn (5), Carle (6)
18:04 PHI Briere (10), Hartnell (7), O'Donnell (3)
18:18 TB Clark (4), Moore (3), Hedman (8)

Second Period
04:11 TB Stamkos (18), St Louis (17), Lundin (5)
04:59 PHI Zherdev (7), Powe (4), Pronger (7)
09:27 PHI Meszaros (1), van Riemsdyk (5), Betts (4)
09:41 TB Downie (3), St Louis (18), Stamkos (16)
18:59 TB Stamkos (19), Purcell (8), St Louis (19)(PP)

Third Period
05:19 TB Thompson (3), Tyrell (2), Bergenheim (6)

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were the game's first and second stars.

What'd we see tonight? 1.) 15 goals? Check. 2.) A hat trick for #91 on just three amazing shots? Three shots. Three kills. Check. 3.) Brett Clark scoring a goal by shooting it THROUGH the net? Check. 4.) Matt Roy darned near putting a guy in the hospital? Check. 5.)And the biggest shocker of all: in a game with 15 goals your winner is scored by... Nate Thompson? Nate bleeping Thompson!?

Mind you, there were a few things this game could have used to spice it up a little more: 1.) Mike Smith scoring an empty net goal and then doing snow angels in his crease to celebrate. 2.) Creating a timewarp where ex-Lightning player Kurtis Foster breaks a pane of glass and/or Evgeny Artyukhin puts a player through the glass. 3.) Steve Downie inciting a riot/bench clearer that ends with the stands being set on fire. 4.) For no good reason, Rudy Poeschek and Paul Laus happening to be in attendance and getting in a Pier 6 brawl at the nacho stand. 5.) A live penguin sliding out onto the ice and halting play. Baseball has squirrels and birds. I feel hockey should have the occassional stray penguin halting play. 6.) I like this one the best. Coach Fleming hitting Hulk Hogan with a steel chair while the ref isn't looking so Guy Boucher can get the 1-2-3 at center ice and win the championship belt. Just some suggestions to Gary Bettman and Lightning management on how to improve on the already unbelievable product we saw tonight.

Johan Harju was -2 in 4:45. You couldn't swing a cat without hitting a minus in this game tonight.

Mathieu Roy was -1 with a hit that almost put Darroll Powe in traction in 4:39.

Dana Tyrell had a helper on the game winner and 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in 11:39. Andrej Meszaros is a dead man the next time the Lightning play the Flyers for trying to take out Tyrell's knees in the third period, especially considering Tyrell had major knee surgery less than 2 years ago.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/17/10 Lightning at Islanders

Must win game gets won.

TB-4
NYI-2

Dan Ellis allowed 2 goals on 36 shots in the win.

First Period
19:59 Stamkos (16), St Louis (13), Malone (8)(PP)

Second Period
12:49 TB Clark (3), St Louis (14), Stamkos (14)(PP)
17:26 NYI Moulson (7), Konopka (1)

Third Period
18:31 TB St Louis (8), Downie (7), Lundin (4)
18:52 NYI Tavares (7), Moulson (5), Wisniewski (12)
19:44 TB Thompson (2), unassisted(EN)

Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars. I don't know what the Isles ever did to Marty, but he seems to relish ripping their hearts out and stomping on them. He's filthy in the third period of close games against the Isles.

This was a crucial win for the Lightning to arrest any potential feefall while trying to get healthy. They've got Downie back, Gagne's back in practice, and Lecavalier's about 4.5 weeks out. So they can't lose to the handful of teams they should pound in the meantime, like the Islanders, and they didn't tonight.

Mattias Ritola had 7 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 2 hits, and was 75% on draws in 5:09. His major penalty was for charging.

Johan Harju had 1 shot and 1 hit in 6:41. I thought Johan showed a little more of his defensive game tonight, helping his line clog up the neutral zone.

Dana Tyrell was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 9:28.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/14/10 Wild at Lightning

If it weren't for bad luck, the Lightning would have no luck, right now.

MIN-4
TB-1

Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 17 shots for the loss.

First Period
07:16 MIN Clutterbuck (6), Cullen (11), Havlat (10)(PP)
11:31 TB St Louis (7), Clark (4), Stamkos (13)(PP)
12:55 MIN Madden (3), Havlat (11), Zidlicky (5)
19:30 MIN Miettinen (4), Brunette (6), Koivu (12)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
19:11 MIN Nystrom (1), unassisted(EN)

Martin St. Louis was the game's third star.

Despite outshooting Minnesota 38-18, the Lightning didn't generate as many chances as the lopsided shot totals might suggest. People thinking it's easy to absorb losing a player like Vincent Lecavalier out of your lineup, and especially off your power play, should take notice.

Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 10:57 and was 43% on draws.

Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 9:10. He was soft a couple of times along the wall, weakly moving a puck blindly to a Minny point man on one play and meekly moving a puck along in the neutral zone on another. Other than blind passes to the middle of the ice, that's the quickest way I know of to get an NHL coach to send you back down.

Dana Tyrell played a very quiet 8:56.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/12/10 Lightning at Penguins

The Lightning's MASH unit finally collapsed in the final eight minutes of the game.

TB-1
PIT-5

Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 20 shots for the loss. One softie.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
08:01 PIT Dupuis (5), Letang (13), Talbot (2)
08:28 PIT Goligoski (4), Rupp (3), Letestu (5)

Third Period
05:30 TB Stamkos (15), St Louis (12), Purcell (7)(PP)
12:12 PIT Talbot (3), unassisted
16:44 PIT Crosby (11), Dupuis (3)
18:50 PIT Engelland (1), Crosby (13), Kunitz (5)

It's tough to go into a game without three of your best forwards (Gagne, Lecavalier, and Downie) battle to within an eyelash of tying the game at 2-2, and see it disintegrate in the final eight minutes. There's been no shame in the way the Lightning have played the past couple of nights, but psychologically Guy Boucher has his work cut out for him to reinstill their confidence.

Mattias Ritola was -1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:51.

Johan Harju was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:54. He got stronger as the game progressed after looking lost in the first period. He'll be fine with a little more experience under his belt.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Recall Pouliot, Harju from Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forwards Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Johan Harju from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Pouliot, 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, has played in 12 games with the Admirals this season, recording four goals and 18 points with a plus-4 rating. He leads Norfolk in points, assists and is tied for second on the team in power play goals with two. Pouliot has registered three goals and 11 points in Norfolk’s previous eight games. He ranks fourth in the AHL in points.

A native of Quebec City, Quebec, Pouliot appeared in 35 games with the Edmonton Oilers last season, scoring seven goals and 14 points. Pouliot also skated in four games with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, scoring one goal and six points. A veteran of five professional seasons, Pouliot has appeared in 176 career NHL games, all with the Oilers, notching 21 goals and 53 points.

Pouliot was drafted by the Oilers in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He was signed by the Lightning as a free agent on July 23, 2010.

Harju, 6-3, 210 pounds, has appeared in 12 games with the Admirals in his North American debut, recording seven goals and 16 points with a plus-2 rating. He leads Norfolk in goals, is second in points and assists, and tied for second in power play goals with two. Harju has scored a goal in three of the Admirals’ previous four games. He ranks eighth in the AHL in points and tied for ninth in goals.

A native of Overtornea, Sweden, Harju played in 55 regular season games with the Moscow Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League last season, recording four goals and 18 points. He played two playoff games with Moscow, recording a goal and eight penalty minutes.

Harju has represented Sweden at the previous two IIHF World Championships, held in Switzerland and Germany respectively. In 2009 he recorded two goals and four points. This past summer he notched four goals and five points.

He was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 167th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
--Tampa Bay Lightning press release (Norfolk Admirals photo)

AHL Game Night: 11/10/10 Admirals at Devils

The machine keeps rolling.

NOR-6
ALB-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the win. Gotta love six goals of support.

First Period
NOR Jones, (5) (Pouliot, Harju), 6:23
NOR Szczechura, (6) (Wishart, Roy), 16:45 (PP)
NOR Giliati, (1) (Angelidis, Gudas), 17:25
NOR Wright, (4) (Szczechura, Fornataro), 18:20
ALB Anderson, (4) (Urbom, Zharkov), 19:10

Second Period
ALB Palmieri, (3) (Urbom, Sestito), 3:13
ALB Anderson, (5) (Fayne, Zharkov), 15:42
NOR Harju, (7) (Roy, Wishart), 18:14 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Fornataro, (4) (Wright, Barberio), 9:41

James Wright and Matt Fornataro were the game's first and third stars. Norfolk's 51 goals scored so far this season is currently tied for third behind Portland and Oklahoma City. Marc-Antoine Pouliot is tied for fourth in the league with 18 points with, among others, Oklahoma City's Linus Omark. He's also third in the league in helpers. Johan Harju is tied for eighth in the league in scoring with 16 points. Harju's 7 goals also ties him for ninth in the league in that category. Ty Wishart and Mathieu Roy are tied for seventh in the league in points among defensemen with 10 a piece.

Bottom line, they're good.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/29/10 Pirates at Admirals

Wishart gave me free chicken wings.

POR-6
NOR-5 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 5 goals on 29 shots in regulation and overtime before allowing two of five shooters to convert for the shootout loss. He was not good tonight. Lightning fans looking to Cedrick the Entertainer as the answer to the Lightning's goaltending problems probably shouldn't be getting their hopes up. He's very athletic but he also strays off his angle too much. What saved him tonight was the fact Portland's netminder, Leggio, was worse than he was. Norfolk's fifth, free chicken wing awarding, goal was horrificly soft.

First Period
POR Mancari, (6) (Adam, Ellis), 1:40
POR Gragnani, (1) (Stuart, Parrish), 8:49
NOR Wright, (2) (Fornataro), 11:15
NOR Simek, (1) (Pouliot, Milam), 14:22

Second Period
POR Gragnani, (2) (Byron, Adam), 1:30 (PP)
NOR Simek, (2) (Pouliot, Harju), 2:02
NOR Pouliot, (3) (Harju, Fornataro), 4:07 (PP)
POR Schiestel, (1) (Persson, Lagace), 10:27

Third Period
NOR Wishart, (4), (unassisted) 11:12
POR Adam, (6) (Mancari, Ellis), 14:43

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
POR- Parrish, Whitmore
NOR- Simek

Juraj Simek and Marc-Antoine Pouliot were the game's second and third stars. Best player on the ice, in my opinion, was Portland's Marc-Andre Gragnani. He was fantastic in the offensive third and would be damned good in Guy Boucher's system, hint-hint, Steve Yzerman.

I knew we'd score some goal's when Portland's starting goaltender swallowed down the wrong pipe while taking a swig from his water bottle during pre-game warm ups and almost puked right in front of their bench.

Juraj Simek is so money in shootouts everyone in the building knew he was going to score. Loudest ovation of the night was when he was announced to shoot. He's got a Euro-twins power thing working with Harju, too. Paul Szczechura was probably the best Admiral tonight, although it didn't end up in the scoresheet. One word to describe Johan Harju: smooth. Everything about his game is smooth. The puck does not stay on his stick long, whether he's passing it or shooting it, and his decisions are usually pretty good, and he moves with a very effortless stride. He looks like he could stand to gain ten pounds of muscle, but he drips hockey sense.

Overall, the biggest thing the Admirals need to clean up tomorrow night in the rematch against Portland is their play within five feet of their own blueline. Both teams struggled in that department, but Norfolk was particularly poor at getting pucks out and routinely were turning it over right at their own blueline, which is what teams with a deathwish do. They need to clean that up, and they'll get used to switching Jackson out for Vernace as time goes by.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 10/24/10 Admirals at Sharks

Tommy Wingels spoils Norfolk's comeback.

NOR-3
WOR-4

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
NOR Harju, (3) (Pouliot, Barberio), 17:41
WOR Ferriero, (5) (Cheechoo, Irwin), 19:47

Second Period
WOR Desjardins, (1) (Ferriero), 0:50 (SH)
WOR Marcou, (3) (Braun, Ferriero), 12:10 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Harju, (4) (Jones, Wright), 3:54
NOR Fornataro, (2) (Szczechura, Wright), 4:30
WOR Wingels, (1) , 14:24

Johan Harju was named the game's third star. They outshot the Sharks 33-30, but were 0-for-7 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded and power play goal to the Sharks, so special teams were the difference.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/16/10 Sharks at Admirals

Enjoy the free wings, Admirals fans.

WOR-2
NOR-7

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the victory. He's gotten seven goals of support in each of his two starts this season. It's damned hard to lose when your team is lighting the lamp for you like that.

First Period
NOR Szczechura, (2) (Fornataro), 0:27
NOR Harju, (1) (Jones, Wishart), 3:47
NOR Durno, (1) (Wishart), 4:11
WOR Ferriero, (3) (Marcou), 10:58
WOR Marcou, (2) (Irwin, Hutton), 13:59 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Szczechura, (3) (Wright, Roy), 2:39
NOR Pouliot, (1) (Jones, Harju), 3:46 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Harju, (2) (Roy, Pouliot), 7:11 (PP)
NOR Durno, (2) (Simek, Barberio), 12:44

Norfolk came out and threw a haymaker in the form of three quick early goals, but the Sharks came back with a couple of goals of their own to make it look like this was going to be a contest. However, credit to the Admirals, they outshot Worcester 23-8 in the second period, and the rout was on. They finished the game with a 56-36 edge in shots and another seven goals on the scoreboard.

Congratulations to Johan Harju on his first two AHL goals, and he added an assist, as well. Congratulations also go to Mark Barberio on his first professional point, an assist on Chris Durno's second goal.

There's a really long list of Admirals players who are putting up at least a point a game through the first three games of the season: Pouliot, Wright, Szczechura, Harju, Jones, Wishart, Fornataro, Roy, and Quick. And, there's not a single minus player on the team so far. Just a friendly suggestion to the bubble players in Tampa: don't have a bad game or a bad practice. Heck, don't even have a bad meal. There's a lot of players in Norfolk looking to take your jobs.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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