The season slipping away.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss. He'll probably beat himself up a little over the first and third goals, but on Skinner's goals, his defense did him no favors. I can deal with Hedman's mistakes at this stage. He's still a puppy. I've grown to deeply resent Eric Brewer, though.
TB Malone (13), (Pyatt, Connolly), 1:20
CAR Spacek (5), (McBain, Jokinen)(PP), 3:46
CAR Skinner (18), (Jokinen, Larose), 12:29
TB Thompson (8), (Wyman, Hall), 17:14
CAR Skinner (19), (Allen), 6:36
CAR Larose (14), (Harrison, Faulk)(EN), 19:38
Ryan Malone was the game's third star.
Keith Aulie was -1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 11:52.
Tim Wallace had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 7:21.
J.T. Wyman had an assist and was +1 with 1 hit in 9:25.
Norfolk harpoons its 14th win in a row.
Jaroslav Janus stopped 26 of 27 shots for the win. Janus has now reeled off 6 straight wins and moved his save percentage to .905, just 1 point back of Dustin Tokarski's .906 save percentage before he Oberg'ed off to join the Lightning.
CT Grant, (8) (Tanski), 8:11
NOR Angelidis, (14) (Hutchings, Devos), 12:17
NOR Kostka, (9) (Johnson), 1:56
NOR Johnson, (23) (Conacher), 19:18
Janus and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars, as TJ continues to progress toward becoming an AHL superstar.
Now, as the Admirals attempt to chase down history, they have a big challenge tomorrow afternoon in Bridgeport. We may well see the season debut of Pat Nagle with a shot at a page in the record books on the line. Bridgeport currently leads the Northeast Division, so they're no pushovers and the Admirals may well see them in the playoffs. Now it gets even more interesting.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Lightning skaters hang rookie out to dry.
WSH 3 (OT)
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the overtime loss. The final 2 goals were a complete abdication of defensive responsibility by the players in front of Tokarski. You have to do better in front of a rookie making his first start. Overall, I thought Tic moved well and didn't look out of place. He deserved better than to have the team in front of him get outshot 16-3 in the final period and overtime. I suspect Garon would've gotten about the same result had he been healthy and between the pipes.
WSH Aucoin (2), (Alzner, Halpern), 17:08
TB Malone (12), (Stamkos, Purcell)(PP), 7:25
TB Purcell (20), (St. Louis, Clark)(PP), 18:42
WSH Johansson (13), (Wideman), 16:02
WSH Ovechkin (27), (Orlov, Chimera), 4:09
Teddy Purcell was the game's second star.
Way too many unforced errors by the Lightning defense in the final frame. The Lightning move to 3 points out of the 8th playoff spot behind Washington and Winnipeg, for the moment, with the Jets and Canucks playing later tonight. They also linger 5 points back of the Panthers in the division. They'll be kicking themselves for how much they let themselves down in the third period of this game.
Keith Aulie was -1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 11:18.
Tim Wallace had 4 hits in 7:12.
J.T. Wyman had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:53.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled goaltender Dustin Tokarski from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Tokarski, 6-foot, 197 pounds, has played in 40 games with the Admirals this season, posting a 27-11-0 record with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He also has four shutouts. Tokarski has won eight consecutive games for the Admirals (a franchise AHL record) with two shutouts in that time and has gone 13-2-0 in his previous 15 decisions. Tokarski also leads the AHL in wins.
A native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Tokarski has played in two NHL games with Tampa Bay, both in relief during the 2009-10 season. He made his NHL debut on January 16, 2010 at the Florida Panthers.
Tokarski helped Canada to the Gold Medal at the 2009 World Junior Championships, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.65 GAA and a .906 save percentage. He turned aside 39 of 40 shots in the Gold Medal Game against Sweden as Canada won, 5-1. Tokarski also backstopped the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL to the Memorial Cup in 2008.
The 22-year-old was selected by the Lightning in the fifth round, 122nd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
It's a dozen, now.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 18 shots for his 27th win of the season. That ties his career high for wins set in his rookie season 2 years ago. He is also up to 8 victories in his last 8 starts.
NOR Conacher, (31) (Gudas, Devos), 7:04
NOR Ouellet, (14) (Angelidis, Picard), 8:28
NOR Johnson, (19) (Jackson, Angelidis), 14:32 (SH)
SPR Regner, (2) (Savard, MacLeod), 8:15
NOR Panik, (13) (Conacher, Barberio), 10:19 (PP)
NOR Johnson, (20) (Palat, Panik), 11:00
Tyler Johnson (pictured), Mike Angelidis, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars. Johnson's now tied for 4th in the league in rookie scoring. He's got no shot of catching Conacher, but there's no denying how impressive of a debut campaign he's had. With 20 goals now, he's threatening to break into the top-20 in the AHL in that category, as well.
Just to reiterate my previous point about Jon Cooper deserving coach of the year, the Admirals rookies tonight had 4 goals and 8 points tonight, combined, between Conacher, Devos, Johnson, Panik, and Palat. That's a 12 game winning streak where your sled dogs are just puppies, which in my mind is indicative of excellent coaching.
Fortunately for the Admirals, there was no let down thanks to a little pre-game altercation that got their juices going and probably helped propel them out to the 3-0 first period lead. Springfield's got muscle in the physical department, but they probably are regretting getting the Admirals, who have much more muscle in the offensive department, ready to go right out of the gate tonight.
Panik attack, y'all!
The Admirals expanded their division lead to 10 points over the idle Pens and they maintained a 12 point buffer on Hershey, with the Bears winning tonight. Hershey has 2 games in hand on the Admirals and the Pens have 3, but things look very good right now in the division.
In the conference, Syracuse screamed past St. John's with 4 goals in the final frame to steal a 6-4 win. So, the Admirals now hold an 8 point lead in the conference with St. John's still holding 5 games in hand.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for his 26th victory of the season. He's now 1 back of his career high of 27 wins. He remains locked in mortal combat with Ben Bishop of Binghamton, who also has 26 wins.
NOR Ouellet, (12) (Kostka, Devos), 12:13 (PP)
NOR Angelidis, (13) (Picard, Ouellet), 4:15
NOR Ouellet, (13) (Panik, Johnson), 12:48 (PP)
NOR Picard, (4) (Gudas, Jackson), 18:33
SPR Calvert, (12) (Joudrey), 12:26
SPR MacLeod, (6) (St. Pierre, Regner), 17:14 (PP)
NOR Devos, (5) (Neilson, Barberio), 18:52 (PP)
Mark Barberio hit 50 points for the season with a late power play assist. He holds a 9 point edge on Brian Connolly of Abbotsford for the league lead amongst blueliners. With 33 points, Mike Kostka lurks in a tie for 5th in points in that category.
Jon Cooper just broke TheAHL.com. Evidently, they only show 10 game winning streaks on the website, as the standings are currently not properly registering the Admirals unbelievable 11 game streak. They've opened up an 8 point lead in the division on the idle Penguins and a 12 point lead on the idle Bears. Resetting their sights higher, they've also opened up a 6 point lead on St. John's for the conference's top spot, although St. John's has 5 games in hand. Nonetheless, they need to give Cooper the hardware.
P.S. Panik attack, y'all!
Norfolk finishes their week against Springfield tomorrow night. The normal warning about beating the same team on back-to-back nights when you paste them pretty good on the first night applies.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Coach Cooper sets the Admirals record with the team's 9th straight win.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 28 of 30 for his 25th win of the season. He moves one ahead of Ben Bishop, who was traded to the Senators organization today, into the top spot in the AHL in wins, and he has to be the odds on favorite to lead the AHL at season's end after the trade. Even if the Sens leave Bishop in Bingo, Binghamton is dead last in the East Division, so he won't have a very good team in front of him. Tokarski has a 4 win advantage on the next closest goaltenders beyond Bishop. So, it's really his to lose. He's now 7-1-0 in February with 2 shutouts, a 2.00 GAA, and a .926 save percentage, so he certainly should be in line for some award consideration come March 1st, too.
WBS Street, (18) (Grant, Mormina), 12:27 (PP)
NOR Barberio, (9) (Johnson, Segal), 17:02 (PP)
NOR Cote, (1) (Johnson), 4:44
WBS Picard, (4) (Craig, Gibbons), 9:50
NOR Ashton, (19) (Dimmen, Conacher), 17:56 (PP)
Carter Ashton and Jean-Philippe Cote were the game's first and third stars. Alexandre Picard was the game's second star, but it was their Alexandre Picard, the former Lightning defenseman, and not the current Lightning farmhand. Ashton snapped a 9-game goalless streak with the tally, and he's now 1 shy of the 20-goal plateau in his rookie campaign.
With 2 assists today, Tyler Johnson continued his hot February. He's got 3 goals and 11 points in his last 8 games, and he's actually 3 points ahead of Ashton for second among Norfolk rookies behind the uncatchable Cory Conacher.
Glad to see Richard Panik not miss any time after the dirtiness in Hershey yesterday. As I said, that will get cleaned up on Wednesday, I'm sure.
Let me be the first to pronounce Bolt Prospects as the official campaign headquarters for Jon Cooper's (pictured with the Godfather of Lightning hockey) bid for AHL Coach of the Year. 9 straight wins snaps the previous franchise record for the Admirals, and when you consider there's 4 Admirals regulars with Tampa Bay right now due to injuries and trades, you realize how amazing a coaching job he's been doing. The other thing you really have to commend is how he's blended so many rookies into the winning formula. Jeff Dimmen, Ondrej Palat, Panik, Ashton, Johnson, and Conacher: that's 6 rookies he's coached up and worked into the rotation of a team that now is tied for tops in the entire AHL in points. And they're not the only rookies who have contributed. Philip-Michael Devos has also been a regular in this lineup, as well. It's been a remarkable job so far, and Julien BriseBois and Steve Yzerman have every right to break their arms slapping each other on the back for that hire. He's been damned good.
Norfolk now holds a 4 point lead on the Penguins for 1st place in the East Division and an 8 point lead on 3rd place Hershey, with the Bears holding a game in hand. They've also moved into 1st in the Eastern Conference by 2 points over St. John's, although the Ice Caps have a formidable 4 games in hand. For the moment, though, the Admirals are tied for tops in the AHL in points, and are tops in wins, goals, and goal differential (+47!).
Wednesday, they'll have the opportunity to put Hershey firmly behind the 8-ball with a 4-point game at Scope that could allow the Admirals to bury their arch-rivals in a 10-point hole that will be very difficult for Hershey to climb out of. The rest of the week holds a 2-game set on Friday and Saturday against a very mediocre Springfield Falcons team. So, Norfolk's got a big-time opportunity to keep the momentum rolling and really extend their lead in the East Division and start to set their sites higher on being the best team in the Eastern Conference and even the entire AHL. It's really, really exciting times.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk gels quickly after a slow start in come-from-behind victory.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the win, including a penalty shot top on Andre Petterson. He didn't get a star for his efforts, but he absolutely gave his team a chance to win tonight. Tic moves to 24-11-0 on the season, tying Ben Bishop of Peoria for the league lead in wins with Bishop still in action tonight.
BNG Hoffman, (13) (Locke), 1:34
BNG Klinkhammer, (14) (Petersson, Gryba), 6:42 (PP)
NOR Segal, (14) (Picard, Oberg), 0:15
NOR Oberg, (5) , 6:27 (PP)
NOR Labrie, (13) (Johnson, Conacher), 19:30
Evan Oberg and Pierre-Cedric Labrie were the game's first and second stars. Oberg has 4 goals and 13 points in his last dozen games, and one can only speculate where he'd be in points had he not spent the better part of two months on a plane, waiting for a plane, or getting on and off a plane.
Veteran Brandon Segal (pictured) scored a goal in his first game back with the Admirals since his acquisition from the Blackhawks organization, once again reaffirming that Brandon Segal is Hard to Kill.
10 shots on goal tonight for Tyler Johnson. He didn't find the back of the net, but it darned sure wasn't for the lack of trying. He did get the primary assist on the game winner, though.
With the win, Norfolk moves back into a tie for the East Division lead at 71 points with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They also hold a 4 point lead now on the third place Hershey Bears with the Pens and Bears having burned all their games in hand, at the moment.
It gets REALLY interesting now. Norfolk goes into Hershey tomorrow night with the opportunity to put the Bears 6 points back, and on Sunday night they'll have a pivotal matchup with the Penguins. Remember, Norfolk would very much prefer to win their division than face the possibility of a 4/5 matchup against the Pens or Bears in the first round. The road to the Calder Cup would be significantly easier for the Ads if they secure the first or second seed in the East.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
And, Nacho kicks the extra point!
Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the victory. Much like Dwayne Roloson against the Sharks last night, here's a young man who loves his goal support. Despite his ugly save percentage on the night, by collecting his 23rd win of the year, Tic moved back into a tie with Peoria's Ben Bishop for the league lead in wins.
NOR Kostka, (8) (Johnson, Smith), 2:43 (SH)
SYR Holzapfel, (9) (Jacques, Caputi), 5:07 (PP)
SYR McMillan, (8) (Sexton, Carle), 9:37
NOR Johnson, (18) (Conacher, Fornataro), 16:11 (PP)
NOR Picard, (3) (Smith, Palat), 19:16 (PP)
NOR Conacher, (29) (Oberg, Barberio), 5:45
SYR Holzapfel, (10) (Gordon), 5:58
NOR Angelidis, (12) (Kostka), 9:57 (SH)
NOR Smith, (21) (Kostka, Oberg), 12:00 (PP)
NOR Labrie, (12) (Dimmen, Conacher), 13:00
SYR Schofield, (7) (Palmieri), 14:40
Mike Kostka and Trevor Smith were the game's first and second stars. Kostka, for the moment, sits in a tie for 5th amongst all defensemen at 31 points in 48 games. Mark Barberio still paces the field at 43 points in 51 games, and he's opened up a 4 point gap on second place.
Lost in the sizable shadow of Kostka and Barberio, though, has been the play of suitcase virtuoso Evan Oberg (pictured). He now has 16 points in 33 games this season, but the bulk of those points have come recently. He has 10 points in his last 10 contests, which is impressive while pulling dual duty in between his role as the Mayor of Concourse B at Norfolk International Airport.
Ondrej Palat has 5 points in his last 4 games. Impressive, but Tyler Johnson raised Palat with 7 points over the same span. It took nearly 5 months, but Johnson has run down fellow rookie Carter Ashton in both points and goals. The two are now knotted up at 18 goals a piece and TJ's now moved 1 point ahead of Ashton at 35 for the season.
Lapping the entire field of rookies, league-wide, is phenom Cory Conacher. His 29 goals and 60 points are 4th amongst all scorers, and his tally tonight moved him out of a 3-way tie for the top spot in goals. Consider the possibilities, Lightning fans. The organization could have the goal scoring champions at both the NHL and AHL levels in the same season. That's quite the feather in the Lightning's cap.
Norfolk's victory allows them to keep pace with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the top spot in the East Division, and by virtue of Hershey losing a 6-0 decision to Providence, they've opened up a 3 point lead on the third place Bears. Winning the East Division looks like it may be CRITICAL to the Admirals' chances come the playoffs. They want to avoid a possible 4/5 matchup against the Bears or Penguins in the first round and get a less experienced club from the Atlantic or Northeast in the first round, instead.
The Admirals rematch Syracuse tomorrow. As always, we stress how difficult it is to beat the same team on back-to-back nights, especially when you thump them the first night. Let's see if Norfolk has learned that lesson yet.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Dustin Tokarski stopped all 24 shots he faced for the shutout win. He also stopped a Robert Bortuzzo penalty shot in the third period to keep the bagel on his plate.
Tokarski tied his professional high of 4 shutouts and raised his season save percentage to .906 with the effort. He's 4-1-0 so far this month with 2 shutouts, a 1.60 GAA, and a .938 save percentage. The young man's known for being clutch, and now that the stretch run is starting, it appears Tic Time is, too.
NOR Smith, (20) (Gudas), 0:59 (SH)
NOR Palat, (4) (Cote, Johnson), 17:51
NOR Labrie, (11) (Panik, Palat), 12:57
NOR Johnson, (17) (Barberio, Kostka), 14:38 (PP)
Carter Ashton was stopped by Scott Munroe on a penalty shot of his own in the second period.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie extended his point streak to 6 games, with 4 goals and 7 points over that span. "Nacho" bested his pro career high of 26 points, set last season, with his 27th point on the goal.
With his 1 goal and 1 assist night, Tyler Johnson very quietly moved within 1 goal and 1 point of catching fellow rookie Ashton in those statistical categories. Perhaps Bolt Prospects co-founder Tim Bennett is right that TJ's being unfairly lost in the shuffle this season.
Panik attack, y'all.
Norfolk outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 33-24 in the contest.
I want you all to take in the full scope of what the Admirals accomplished tonight. With a tie for first in the East Division on the line, they went into the Penguins' barn and didn't just beat them. No, they humiliated them. They beat them up (35 minutes in penalties for the Ads including 3 fighting majors and 6 roughing minors). They shut them down. They lit them up. There's no silver linings for the Penguins in this game, other than the fact that their 1 game in hand on Norfolk still allows them to be listed as the division leader in the standings.
Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are tied at 65 points atop the East Division, each 5 points back of conference leading St. John's. Hershey lurks just 1 point back of the Ads and Pens. Norfolk's 31 wins are third in the AHL behind only Oklahoma City and St. John's, which both have 32. Norfolk returns home on Friday to face Syracuse for a 2 game set. The Crunch are 2 games under .500 and a very distant 4th in the East Division standings.
Box score from TheAHL.com.