Mihalik, Vladimir

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.

Mihalik Earns Starting Role in Opener

Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times reports that behemoth Bolts prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik has not only earned a roster with the Tampa Bay Lightning but is assured of playing in the team's 2008-09 season opener against the New York Rangers on October 4th in Prague. At 6.08 and 241 lbs, the young Slovakian blueliner has drawn comparisons to Boston's Zdeno Chara.

Coming into training camp, BoltProspects had tagged Mihalik as a darkhorse candidate to win a roster spot, but with Matt Smaby and newcomers like Janne Niskala, Andrew Hutchinson, and Ty Wishart slotted ahead of him in the depth chart, chances were slim that he would be starting the season in Bolts sweater.

Lightning Make Six More Cuts

Erik Erlendsson is reporting the Lightning have made six more cuts: Ty Wishart, Riku Helenius, Paul Szczechura, Wyatt Smith, and Radek Smolenak.

Dana Tyrell was also returned to Prince George of the WHL.

That leaves Matt Smaby, Vladimir Mihalik, and Andrew Hutchinson battling for the seventh job on the blueline, presuming that Janne Niskala has already wrapped up the sixth spot, as it appears.

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.

NHL Preseason Game Night 9/20: Lightning at Penguins

Norfolk defeats Pittsburgh.

TB-5
PIT-4 (SO)

First Period
Pittsburgh 0:51, Jordan Staal 1 (Evgeni Malkin, Ben Lovejoy)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 3:50, Janne Niskala 1 (Brandon Bochenski, Jussi Jokinen)
Tampa Bay 7:06, Wyatt Smith 1 (Matt Smaby)
Tampa Bay 8:40, Brandon Bochenski 1 (Radek Smolenak, Jussi Jokinen)
Pittsburgh 15:18, Petr Sykora 1 (power play) (Miroslav Satan, Jordan Staal)

Third Period
Pittsburgh 10:11, Petr Sykora 2 (power play) (Janne Pesonen, Alex Goligoski)
Pittsburgh 17:06, Sidney Crosby 1 (shorthanded) (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 18:41, Brandon Bochenski 2 (Janne Niskala)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
Tampa Bay- Jokinen, Stamkos
Pittsburgh- NONE

Karri Ramo stopped 26 of 30 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session.

This is as significant a win as you can get in the first matchup of preseason in September. The Lightning iced a team that basically represented the bulk of their players ticketed for Norfolk of the AHL while the Pens essentially iced their NHL regulars. This is a Pens team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and the Lightning prospects and AHL pros gave them all they could handle and more en route to victory. It speaks volumes for the future of this franchise.

Lots of prospects in this game:

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