Norfolk makes a big time statement.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win.
WBS Wallace, (7) (Sterling, Hutchinson), 5:39 (PP)
NOR Durno, (5) (Fornataro), 11:43
NOR Jones, (6) (Vernace, Berry), 0:46
NOR Jones, (7) (Quick, Milam), 12:27
NOR Berry, (3) (Jones, Gudas), 19:19 (EN)
Blair Jones' stat line for the season is becoming borderline ridiculous. The fourth year pro now has 7-9-16 in 12 games with a +7 rating. It's been a very different Blair Jones this season. Last year, after being sent down, his production went in the toilet, just as it did in past seasons. But Jones seems to be working even harder after being sent down this time.
Kevin Quick now has 7 assists in his first 14 games this season and a +7 rating. His AHL career high in points was 9 points in 49 games in 2008-2009. I'm legitimately interested in seeing if Quick continues to improve and starts to knock on the door for an NHL cup of coffee in the second half of this season, because I really believe he's a perfect fit, stylistically, for what Guy Boucher is trying to do in Tampa Bay. Radko Gudas is another guy who, after my trip to Norfolk, I think could really fit what Boucher is doing a year or two down the road. He got his fourth assist tonight in this, his rookie campaign and he's a really nice +8. The guy was a big plus player in junior too, you'll recall, with a +45 in Everett last year.
There's just so many players down in Norfolk legitimately knocking on the door for the NHL, and another wave of guys like Quick and Gudas potentially coming in behind them. It's taken over four seasons, between that last year in Springfield when the 2005 draftees like Jones came in and the three subsequent years in Norfolk, to get to this point, but the future is finally here, and it's exciting times.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Bruised and out of gas.
12:16 SJ Marleau (5), (unassisted)(SH)
13:58 TB St Louis (6), Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (4)
15:26 SJ Marleau (6), Boyle (7), Demers (3)(PP)
11:27 SJ Heatley (6), Couture (1), Boyle (8)
17:27 SJ McCarthy (2), Mayers (2), Murray (3)
00:27 SJ Couture (5), Heatley (9)
18:13 TB Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (5), Clark (3)
With several players out hurt, and several others in the lineup dinged up, you could see the Lightning sag when it got to 3-1. It's been a tough roadtrip, with only three of a possible eight points gained. They'll have the opportunity now to get healthy and get back on schedule back home in Tampa Bay. It hurts a little bit, but this Lightning club hasn't been able to ice a regular lineup in a while, starting with Simon Gagne's injury. Once everyone returns the top two lines will settle in, the depth players will return to the bottom two lines, and everything will work itself out. The goaltending is still the only thing I'm truly concerned about.
Mattias Ritola was -1 with 1 shot in 9:09.
Dana Tyrell was scoreless in 11:49. The scorekeepers in San Jose must be blind, because I know I saw him throw at least one hit tonight.
Blair Jones was -1 in 7:41 and was 50% on 8 draws.
Couldn't get on the website last night.
Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 26 shots for the hard luck loss.
05:20 LA Williams (6), Smyth (5), Stoll (7)
Mattias Ritola had 1 hit in 10:53.
Mathieu Roy was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:22.
Dana Tyrell was -1 with 1 shot in 8:58.
Blair Jones had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:03. He was also 4/7 on draws.
Left a point on the ice.
Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the overtime loss.
12:22 ANH Selanne (6), Perry (8), Visnovsky (8)(PP)
02:38 TB Jones (1), Malone (6), Purcell (6)
00:21 TB Stamkos (10), St Louis (8), Lecavalier (3)(PP)
15:40 ANH Palmieri (1), Ryan (6), Visnovsky (9)
02:53 ANH Getzlaf (5), Selanne (8), Lydman (3)
Maybe the Lightning didn't deserve to win based on just forty minutes of solid effort. They came out flat as a pancake in the first period, getting outshot 9-2 in the opening frame before carrying the balance of play with a 32-21 advantage the rest of the way. Still, they were in control and almost potted the insurance goal to make it 3-1 just before things went awry.
Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:57.
Dana Tyrell played 11:11.
Blair Jones had a goal and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 8:56. He was also 63% on draws. I want to believe this time Blair will stick.
Exceeding expectations thus far.
Dan Ellis stopped 23 shots for the shutout victory.
15:59 TB Ritola (1), Jones (1), Malone (5)
04:26 TB Hall (2), Thompson (3), Bergenheim (3)
14:38 TB Stamkos (9), Downie (6), Jones (3)
Dan Ellis and Steve Downie were the game's first and second stars.
When the season started, I had the aggressive goal of 14 points for the first 10 games in my mind. The team finishes the first 10 game set ahead of schedule at 7-3-1 with 15 points. That's outstanding. The next 10 game set is fairly brutal, though, so I'll be happy with 10 points in the second 10 game set of the year. Let's see if the Lightning can beat expectations again.
Mattias Ritola had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 8:06.
Dana Tyrell played 13:38.
Blair Jones had a helper and was +1 in 8:02. He was also 50% on 6 draws.