TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Brendan Mikkelson from the Calgary Flames today in exchange for forward Blair Jones, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Mikkelson will join the Lightning.
Mikkelson, 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, has played in 86 career NHL games with the Flames and the Anaheim Ducks, recording six assists and 40 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut during the 2008-09 season and played in a career-high 34 games with Anaheim. Mikkelson played in his first NHL game on January 2, 2009 against Philadelphia.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Mikkelson has appeared in 33 games for the Abbotsford Heat this season, notching three goals and 15 points. He is one of three Heat players to skate in all 33 games in 2011-12 and ranks second among all team defensemen in goals, assists and points.
Mikkelson has played in 183 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Iowa Chops, Toronto Marlies and Abbotsford. He has amassed 18 career AHL goals and 64 points. Mikkelson helped Portland to the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, recording two goals and eight points.
The 24-year-old was claimed off waivers by Calgary from Anaheim on October 19, 2010. He was drafted by the Ducks in the second round, 31st overall, of the 2005 NHL Draft.
And just like that, all the gains of the homestand slid away.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. It's a horrible feeling for a team to know they have to work like crazy to score goals and then the other team can come down and have a much easier time to get on the board because of the goaltending. It's morale-destroying, and Ottawa's third goal was awful. Unscreened long shot in a game where you're pressing for the tying goal down 1? Unacceptable.
OTT Spezza (15), (Greening, Gonchar), 10:36
OTT Turris (1), (Alfredsson, Condra), 17:07
TB Stamkos (28), (Lecavalier, Gilroy), 8:48
OTT Smith (12), (Alfredsson, Foligno), 16:34
OTT Alfredsson (13), (Turris)(EN), 19:07
7 points out of 8th place and 2 games under .500, and the past half month has been a net zero. Treading water.
J.T. Wyman had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 5:32, but left the game with an upper body injury.
Blair Jones had 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:02. 4 games until his 82nd NHL game, and graduation from prospect status at long last.
TB Lecavalier (14), (Wyman, Moore), 0:58
TOR Lupul (18), (Connolly, Gardiner), 3:25
TOR Gunnarson (2), (Connolly, Lupul), 8:46
TB Stamkos (27), (St. Louis), 11:55
TOR Grabovski (11), (Lupul, Schenn), 12:28
TB Kubina (3), (Brewer), 13:26
TOR Boyce (1), (Frattin, Aulie), 13:43
TOR Frattin (5), (Kadri, Lombardi), 19:22
TOR Phaneuf (6), (Grabovski, Macarthur)(PP), 1:23
TOR Kessel (22), (Lupul, Phaneuf)(PP), 12:28
The really, really tough part is that just about every other team in the conference won tonight, so the loss hurts really badly in the standings.
J.T. Wyman had an assist and was +1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:25.
Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:17. Both of the younger guys benefited a bit from some garbage time ice time. Tonight was Blair Jones' 77th NHL game, so he now is just 5 more games from graduating here on Bolt Prospects.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.
.500 to end 2011. Now the real climb begins.
Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the win. I can't emphasize enough how impressed I am with the way he shrugged off the soft goal in Colorado. I hate to keep bringing that up, but it speaks to the fact Garon is a veteran and knows how to handle adversity, and that's critical for a team in the situation the Lightning is in.
TB Stamkos (24), (St. Louis, Downie), 3:22
CAR Faulk (2), (Bowman, Staal)(PP), 16:12
CAR Harrison (3), (Staal, McBain)(PP), 4:29
TB Stamkos (25), (St. Louis, Downie), 8:17
TB Stamkos (26), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 0:43
TB Purcell (7), (Malone, Clark), 1:05
TB Downie (6), (Malone, Pyatt), 6:51
Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Steve Downie were the game's three stars. Not much of a surprise to see two great players like St. Louis and Downie step up and do what they do best. Congrats to St. Louis on his 500th assist, too. But, the straw that has stirred the drink these past two games has been Downie. I speculated most of the first half of the season whether he was hurt because he's looked a bit stiff and a step slow, but he's been my #1 star of the past two nights. Yeah, he looks like Charlie Manson, but he has an amazing skill set as a playmaker and as a finisher, too. He and Purcell coming to life in the second half are prerequisites for making the playoffs.
Dominic Moore was robbed of a goal that would've made it 6-2. He so clearly did not interfere with Cam Ward and then Ward proceeded to mount him like a rodeo bull? I sat there in amazement at how Moore and Lecavalier possibly could get calls on that play because they did NOTHING illegal. It looked like a case of the refs taking pity on Carolina, I think. Kudos to Bobby Taylor for correctly pointing out those calls threw into question whether that referee crew has the intelligence to organize a one car parade. After tonight, I would cast my vote with the nays.
What the Lightning need to understand is that tonight's win was just the prelims. This road trip through Canada is the real challenge for this team, and they cannot afford to fall flat on the road. So they need to have swagger and confidence, but recognize they need to work hard to back it up, or this home stand was for naught.
J.T. Wyman had 2 hits in 10:31. Solid game.
Blair Jones Had 1 hit in 10:04, but was slightly more effective in some shifts with Tyrell and Pyatt where he got some puck retrieval help.
Box score from NHL.com.
Staying alive by the skin of their collective teeth.
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the win. He made some key saves that his counterpart at the other end simply did not.
TB Stamkos (23), (Kubina, Downie), 3:43
MTL Cammalleri (8), (Desharnais, Diaz)(PP), 8:42
MTL Desharnais (6), (Kostitsyn, Diaz), 5:01
MTL Cole (15), (Pacioretty, Kaberle), 12:46
TB Wyman (1), (Purcell, Gilroy), 17:38
TB Bergeron (4), (Downie, St. Louis), 2:32
TB Lecavaler (13), (Wyman, Moore), 8:37
Steven Stamkos and JT Wyman were the game's first and second stars.
On balance, this was another subpar effort, but the Lightning, with help from Price, found a way to manufacture another result that they desperately needed. They can't live on a diet of being outshot and outchanced, though. The overall product still needs to improve as the team tries to reach .500 against Carolina.
Wyman had his first NHL goal and an assist and was +2 With 1 shot and 1 hit in 7:01. His goal was horrifically soft by Carey Price, and as often is the case with soft goals it was the difference in the game. His hard work has been infectious, though.
Blair Jones had 1 hit in 6:56. He's gone back to being a bit of a non-factor, seeing as his best hit of the night was to careen into the Canadiens goal with no one within a country mile of him in the first period. If he isn't careful, Wyman is going to take his roster spot.
Box score from NHL.com.
Lightning steal the points, and the Flyers' dignity.
Mathieu Garon allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the win. He shook off the overtime softie from Colorado and turned in his best game of the season tonight. His rebound control was so much better than usual and he ate up a lot of pucks and got the Lightning some key stoppages when they needed them. He was outstanding.
TB Gervais (3), (Hall), 9:34
PHI Hartnell (17), (Giroux, Jagr), 18:14
TB Stamkos (21), (Clark, Malone), 7:25
TB Downie (5), (Purcell, Kubina), 11:41
TB Stamkos (22), (Downie, St. Louis)(PP), 18:45
TB Lecavalier (12), (St. Louis), 19:00
I don't know what it has been about these last 2 games against Philadelphia, but the Lightning have done exactly what they needed to do to win the games. Tonight, it took Garon standing on his head for the first period, making Philly essentially punch themselves out, and then being very opportunistic with the spare amount of scoring chances they got.
They're deep in Philly's head, too, as evidenced by the low life brand of hockey Philly resorted to in the second period. Scott Hartnell should be suspended for his stick waving incident at the Lightning bench, and Wayne Simmonds' instigation of a fight with Eric Brewer while Victor Hedman was already out injured sure did look like a coach ordered hit. Call me crazy, but they played dirt bag hockey, and the Lightning made them pay with Steven Stamkos' goal to push the margin to the all important 3 goals heading into the third. As readers of this blog should well know, a 3 goal lead heading into the third period in pro hockey is as close to a death sentence as a team can receive. The fact it allowed the Lightning to back off into the 1-3-1 a bit to kill off the remaining 20 minutes was all the sweeter, although I did feel like the Lightning needed to send a message after all the Flyer thuggery. I would've liked to have seen a player like Malone go out there and drop the gloves late in the game and make a point. It would've been nice to show the league, through the HBO cameras, that you don't take liberties with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So, the Lightning close the gap on 8th place to 6 points, and move back to 2 games under .500. The game against Montreal on Thursday is huge. Games don't get bigger in December. The Lightning have to win that game to really give themselves a shot to climb back into the playoff hunt. Got to.
J.T. Wyman had 1 hit in 5:59 and almost had to play some defenseman in this game after Brewer left the Simmonds fight bloody. Scary stuff. Also, I would be remiss to not mention how weird it is to see someone other than Mikael Andersson in #34. It doesn't seem right.
Blair Jones had 1 hit in 10:20. With Malone out with a 10 minute misconduct for hopping off the bench after Hartnell's stick waving incident, he even got a rare PP shift.
I wouldn't call that a microcosm of the season, but it does seem a fitting way to pull into the holiday break.
Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. He made some very strong saves over the course of this game to keep his team alive, and got some help from the 4 x 6, too. But, without a doubt, that short side softie cannot happen. Very disappointing.
TB Kubina (2), (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 18:09
COL O'Reilly (8), (O'Brien, Hedjuk), 10:03
COL Duchene (12), (Elliot, Landeskog), 3:38
Pavel Kubina was the game's third star.
The effort level was a zillion times better in this game than against San Jose. The team played with the urgency of a team that is running short on time to turn their season around, because that's exactly what they are. Still, some of the fundamental problems the team has had cropped up in this game. Foremost, it was hard for me to muster too much outrage over poor officiating (like a missed call on a reverse DDT on Blair Jones and a missed 4 minute high sticking minor on Kubina) knowing full well the Lightning's power play has next to no chance of doing anything with the man advantage right now. It's so bad, a successful power play for the Lightning seems to be the shallow moral victory of not allowing a good shorthanded scoring chance over the course of the 2 minutes.
J.T. Wyman had 2 shots and 1 hit in 6:01. He had good energy in a spare number of shifts.
Blair Jones had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 10:13, and he kicked out before the 3 count was administered after taking the best finishing move the Avs defense could muster. He would like to challenge them to a steel cage match at the next pay per view, but wants a special referee named, because the ones tonight were terrible.
Almost a must-win.
Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the win. He made it harder on himself than it needed to be. Columbus' two goals came on wrap-arounds that should not have been an issue for Garon or the Lightning defense.
TB Jones (2), (Purcell), 7:27
TB Brewer (1), (Stamkos, Malone), 18:12
CBJ Umberger (6), (Prospal, Tyutin)(PP), 5:43
TB Stamkos (20), (Lecavalier, Tyrell), 10:05
CBJ Nash (10), (Carter, Prospal), 12:14
Mathieu Garon and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and third stars.
They had to win this game. To get back in the race, they have to win against the handful teams below them in the standings when the opportunity arises and they have to get positive momentum going over the next week or two. They've set themselves up now with the opportunity to have that positive momentum going into the holiday break if they can split their last 2 road games in San Jose and Colorado. Then, presumably, they can get Martin St. Louis back in practice and back into the games by the end of December, and then really start to put together some bigger winning streaks.
I like Dana Tyrell on a scoring line with Stamkos, a lot. I think it creates matchup problems for the opposition to have two burners like that out at once, and Tyrell can be first man in on the puck, letting Stammer come later and be the finisher he is. It's a good combo. I'd even be interested to see Marty added as the third on that line just to see how that much speed could work together.
The Lightning's power play is dreadful. It's somebody-needs-to-be-fired-if-it-doesn't-improve-soon dreadful. Some of Columbus' most dangerous opportunities of the night came shorthanded and the Lightning could not even get into the Blue Jackets' zone, let alone get scoring chances. That's bad, because Columbus is statistically near the bottom of the league in PK. It just feels like the Lightning don't have any identity on the PP right now. They don't know how to gain entry into the zone (it used to be with Stammer or St. Louis carrying it) and they don't really know what they want to do when they get there (other than feed overly telegraphed one-timers to Vinny). There's too many weapons on this roster to be this bad and to be zero-dimensional on the power play. It's unacceptable.
Blair Jones and Lightning fans; reunited and it feels so good. He got his second goal of the season and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 gigantic hit in 10:13. He got more ice time with Nate Thompson going out hurt early, and he did something with it. So, I guess we're back in love with Blair Jones.
More shots, please.
Mathieu Garon allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the loss, but it could've been a lot worse without him.
TB Shannon (2), (Moore, Hedman), 11:52
PHI Briere (9), (Simmonds), 2:38
PHI Jagr (10), (Giroux, Hartnell), 3:12
PHI Simmonds (7), (Giroux, Timonen)(PP), 14:49
TB Lecavalier (11), (Bergeron, Malone)(PP), 0:55
PHI Carle (4), (Briere, Van Riemsdyk)(PP), 4:55
PHI Hartnell (14), (Jagr)(EN), 19:32
This was a closer game than it appeared on the scoreboard, as Simmonds' power play goal was really a bit of poor luck. That said, the Lightning routinely have been held to extremely poor shot totals this year. You can't win a lot of games getting held to around 20 shots (19 tonight) no matter how skilled you are. At this time last season, the Lightning coaching staff preached a style that had them pressing for 35-40 shots a game as a goal. It's a bizarre thing that a team that was coached to that philosophy struggles so much to get shots on goal now. The Lightning need to recognize that their skill level is even lower with Martin St. Louis out and they must get shots on goal and get some meat and potatoes goals if they're going to get back to winning games without him.
Blair Jones had 3 hits in 5:52.
The best #19 on the ice tonight wore white.
Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 30 shots before turning away all 3 shooters he faced for the shootout win. Credit Garon with the second point tonight for standing on his head in overtime.
NYR Callahan (11), (Richards, Stepan)(PP), 7:49
TB Malone (6), (unassisted), 11:23
NYR Anisimov (5), (Del Zotto, Dubinsky)(SH), 13:23
TB Moore (2), (Hedman, Brewer)(SH), 18:03
3:50 left in the game. Lightning down 1. Ryan Malone going off for boarding. Martin St. Louis laid up in the hospital with fractures from a puck to the face. Looking a 6 game losing streak square in the face.
And then Dominic Moore, who was the guy who broke St. Louis' face in practice earlier in the day, decided to put on a cape. The "S" on it stood for "shorthanded goal." Then it stood for "shootout winner." Then is stood for "streak is over."
Is the team fixed? No. But there's a little life in it, after looking dead as a doornail with 4 minutes left in regulation.
Oh, and a guy on a pace for 16 goals pretending like he's a longrifle wielding sniper is comical. If "Ovechkin" was Russian for "punk," then "Anisimov" must be Russian for "dummy." Wish I could've heard Tortorella's inner monologue when his player decided to act the fool like that.
Brett Connolly was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:55.
Blair Jones had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 4:24.