Niskala, Janne

NHL Game Night 10/16: Islanders at Lightning

Still searching.

NYI-4
TB-3 (OT)

Kind of a rough night for Olaf Kolzig, allowing two goals on bad rebounds kicked up the slot and then giving the Islanders the winner on a puck handling mistake. He stopped 32 of 36 for the overtime loss.

First Period
02:47 NYI Mike Comrie, (Kyle Okposo, Bruno Gervais)

Second Period
13:54 NYI Doug Weight, (Bill Guerin, Frans Nielsen) (PP)

Third Period
03:43 TBL Vincent Lecavalier, (Vaclav Prospal, Andrej Meszaros)
12:02 TBL Vaclav Prospal, (Andrej Meszaros, Lukas Krajicek) (PP)
13:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Jeff Tambellini, Mike Comrie)
14:57 TBL Ryan Malone, (Jussi Jokinen, Janne Niskala)

Overtime
00:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Frans Nielsen)

There are hopeful signs. For the first time this season, the Lightning allowed less than 40 shots and the team finished square in shots on goal at 36.

Janne Niskala had 1 assists, 1 shot on goal, and 4 penalty minutes in 12:00 of ice time.

Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, and was 50% on draws in 9:22. Seem Stamkos? Still, not so much.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 10/11: Hurricanes at Lightning

Outshot 25-4 in the third period and overtime.

CAR-4
TB-3 (OT)

Mike Smith stopped 42 of 46 faced in the overtime loss.

First Period
08:20 TBL Mark Recchi, (Matthew Carle, Jussi Jokinen)
10:27 TBL Janne Niskala, (Vaclav Prospal, Jamie Heward)(PP)

Second Period
09:01 TBL Vincent Lecavalier, (Martin St. Louis, Jamie Heward)(PP)
19:51 CAR Rod Brind'Amour, (Joni Pitkanen, Ray Whitney)(PP)

Third Period
01:56 CAR Matt Cullen, (Rod Brind'Amour, Joni Pitkanen)
09:56 CAR Eric Staal, (Dennis Seidenberg, Tuomo Ruutu)

Overtime
4:36 CAR Eric Staal, (Ray Whitney)

Bolt Prospects rules force me to show balance by making the glass half full statement: the power play showed signs of life going 2-for-7 and the team actually played pretty well for about the first 35 minutes of the game. However, you continue to see two problems with this club. They get hemmed in and they don't have the experience and poise to release the pressure, and they're not disciplined enough to stay out of the box.

Janne Niskala scored his first NHL goal and was -1 with 3 shots in 15:17.

Steven Stamkos had 1 hit in 6:05. Seen Stamkos? The faithful at the Forum didn't much tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day 10/5: Lightning at Rangers

Pathetic.

TB-1
NYR-2

Olaf Kolzig played well stopping 37 of 39 shots in the loss. He also deserved better.

First Period
18:17 TBL Adam Hall, (Andrej Meszaros, Chris Gratton)

Second Period
03:47 NYR Wade Redden, (Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez)(PP)
12:12 NYR Scott Gomez, (Aaron Voros, Wade Redden)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Don't be fooled by the score. The Lightning were never really in this game until a late surge when they tried to get the equalizer to steal at least a point. The Lightning were outshot 39-19 in the game and, generally, outplayed in every facet. For all the weapons that the club has, they showed absolutely no structure this weekend. The team may be very fortunate that they play so few games in the opening month of the season, because right now they look light years away from being able to be a competitive team, let alone a winning team.

Janne Niskala had 4 hits in 14:14.

Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:15 with 2 hits. He was caught on Gomez's goal standing around and not tying up the man in front.

Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:53 and he was 75% on draws. On the good side, he rang a post that almost tied the game up in the second period. On the bad side, he took a lazy hooking penalty late that killed the Lightning's rally. All that said, he got nearly 15 minutes tonight, and that's the kind of ice time he needs from Coach Melrose.

Roster moves will no doubt be coming tomorrow. At a minimum, the club will have to send Karri Ramo down to Norfolk now that the roster limit reduces to 23. There will also probably be at least one move made on defense when Paul Ranger returns to the lineup. The obvious move would be to send Mihalik down to Norfolk. However, I could imagine Jamie Heward being the odd man out as well. Also, expect some pressure to bring Matt Smaby back up sooner or later. Initial reports out of Norfolk camp are good for Smaby, and you can make a strong argument he never should have been sent down in the first place. Adding spice to the situation are rumors that the club may move Shane O'Brien, who was a healthy scratch in this afternoon's game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day 10/4: Rangers at Lightning

Sloppy.

NYR-2
TB-1

Mike Smith played pretty well stopping 39 of 41 shots faced in the game. He deserved better.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
18:08 NYR Markus Naslund, (Scott Gomez)

Third Period
03:57 TBL Martin St. Louis, (Vincent Lecavalier)
14:16 NYR Brandon Dubinsky, (Daniel Girardi, Paul Mara)(PP)

The Lightning appear to me to be a team that is still looking for its new identity. Whether you loved or hated John Tortorella and his system, you knew the Lightning were going to have structure moving out of their zone and you knew that they were going to be disciplined. Tonight the team had no structure moving out of their zone, and because they spent so much time in their own end they took a ton of penalties. The young Lightning defense clutched to chipping the puck up off the boards rather than looking for an outlet pass and getting some speed moving through the neutral zone. That's a problem. They need to show more poise and confidence quickly if the Lightning are going to be successful.

Janne Niskala had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 16:13. I'd rate his performance as fair.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 shot and 3 hits in 11:54 in his NHL debut. He beat my expectations. Good job Vladdy.

Steven Stamkos was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 8:25. He was also 50% on draws. He was stopped on a key breakaway in the Third Period that would've given the Lightning the lead. In my opinion, he needs to be up around at least 15 minutes a night and soon for the Lightning's offense to be as potent as it needs to be.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night 9/23: Rangers at Lightning

Good start to the season for Mike Smith.

NYR-2
TB-3

Mike Smith stopped 38 of 40 shots faced for the win.

First Period
Tampa Bay 11:44, Ryan Craig 1 (Evgeny Artyukhin)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 7:01, Steven Stamkos 1 (power play) (Radim Vrbata, Ryan Malone)
Tampa Bay 10:00, Martin St. Louis 1 (power play) (Matt Carle, Jussi Jokinen)
NY Rangers 19:36, Daniel Girardi 1 (power play) (Scott Gomez, Wade Redden)

Third Period
NY Rangers 17:07, Fredrik Sjostrom 1 (power play) (Pierre Parenteau, Lauri Korpikoski)

This was much closer to the opening night lineup, so there were fewer prospects in uniform:

Janne Niskala was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 19:23.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 blocked shot in 16:04.

Steven Stamkos had 1 goal, 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 67% on draws to go with a +1 rating in 14:46.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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