Jones, Blair

NHL Game Night: 3/14/11 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Ahhhh, Toronto: the Lightning's cure-all.

TB-6
TOR-2

Dwayne Roloson allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the win.

First Period
09:53 TB Thompson (8), Purcell (29), Clark (17)

Second Period
05:12 TOR Phaneuf (5), Brent (10), Lupul (13)
09:25 TB Ritola (3), Hall (9), Thompson (12)
12:34 TB Ritola (4), Purcell (30), Clark (18)
14:37 TOR Kulemin (26), unassisted
18:53 TB Lecavalier (18), Gagne (15), Purcell (31)

Third Period
08:47 TB Moore (13), St Louis (56), Stamkos (42)
14:32 TB Lundin (1), Stamkos (43), St Louis (57)

Mattias Ritola, Teddy Purcell, and Nate Thompson were the game's three stars. Tampa Bay climbs back to within 3 points of streaking Washington in the division.

Ritola had 2 goals and was +2 with 6 shots and 2 hits in 10:22. He's elevated his physical play since coming up from Norfolk considerably, and it's upped his overall play.

Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:41. He was also 7/13 on faceoffs.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3/12/11 Lightning at Panthers

What a failure of a weekend.

TB-3
FLA-4 (OT)

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss. One really bad softie and his effort on the overtime winner probably bears some scrutiny too. I'm looking forward to next season when Cedrick Desjardins will probably be the backup.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
04:33 FLA Booth (21), Weaver (10), Ellerby (9)
14:10 TB Stamkos (43), St Louis (54), Gagne (13)(PP)

Third Period
02:22 FLA Carter (2), Kulikov (17)
05:18 FLA Bergfors (12), Garrison (11), Weiss (27)
12:35 TB Lecavalier (17), St Louis (55), Gagne (14)(PP)
17:55 TB Gagne (11), Lecavalier (22), Stamkos (41)(PP)

Overtime
04:44 FLA Garrison (4), Santorelli (18)

Simon Gagne and Steven Stamkos were the game's second and third stars. Vincent Lecavalier moved to within 3 goals of the 20 goal mark. The good news is that all of the Lightning's top forwards found the sheet tonight. The bad news is the team still looked terrible and lost to an inferior opponent. The division is slipping away, which would mean a tough matchup with the likes of Washington, Boston, or Pittsburgh in the first round. That's not a recipe for a deep run for this team.

Mattias Ritola was -1 with 2 hits in 7:01.

Blair Jones had 1 hit in 7:46. Of note, he was also 7/8 on faceoffs.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3/11/11 Senators at Lightning

Everything but the kitchen sink just wasn't enough.

OTT-2
TB-1

Dwayne Roloson allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the loss.

First Period
10:35 OTT Spezza (13), Shannon (13), Karlsson (27)(PP)

Second Period
00:53 OTT Butler (7), Gonchar (19), Greening (4)

Third Period
02:56 TB St Louis (26), Purcell (28), Stamkos (40)(PP)

Dominic Moore was the game's third star.

Curtis McElhinney is the luckiest son of a bitch in the City of Tampa tonight. Can't control your rebounds? Can't follow the puck? Look shakier than a crack fiend Jonesing for a fix? No worries! The hockey gods will throw you a bone! The Lightning did just about everything you can do to a goaltender in that third period, short of committing a crime, and somehow the puck would not go in for the tying marker. Blind luck: it favors young children, old fools, and goaltenders named McElhinney.

Blair Jones had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 4:32 of ice time.

Box score

and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3/9/11 Senators at Admirals

Mission statement.

BNG-1
NOR-5

Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 22 shots for the victory. Tokarski is 7-2-2 since the start of February.

First Period
NOR Angelidis, (17) (Vernace, Berry), 11:51
NOR Nelson, (7) (Angelidis, Roy), 19:59

Second Period
NOR Harju, (20) (Szczechura, Mihalik), 15:39
NOR Barberio, (8) (Labrie), 17:59

Third Period
BNG Wick, (14) (Hoffman, Lehner), 2:12
NOR Pouliot, (19) (Fornataro, Harju), 13:10 (PP)

Mike Angelidis, Johan Harju, and Levi Nelson were the game's three stars. Harju became the second Admiral to hit the 20 goal mark this season. Blair Jones was the first, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot may be the next after scoring his 19th tonight.

It's hard to under-emphasize the importance of tonight's win for the Admirals. The club regained its 4 point gap on Binghamton for 4th place in the East Division and cashed in a game in hand to move within 3 points of Charlotte for 3rd with 2 games in hand still remaining. Just as well, Hershey lost 3-2 to Worcester tonight, so Norfolk moved within 6 points of 2nd place with 3 games in hand on the Bears and they maintained a 5 point gap on the Sharks and Connecticut Whale in the worst-case scenario where a crossover into the Atlantic Division bracket becomes necessary. A loss tonight would have been a disaster for the Admirals, but now Binghamton is the club sweating as they hold a playoff spot by a slim, single point.

There are 16 games remaining in the regular season. Norfolk faces these same Senators on Friday at Scope.

Box score and extended statistics from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3/7/11 Capitals at Lightning

It hurts on so many levels.

WSH-2
TB-1 (SO)

Dwayne Roloson stopped 29 of 30 shots before allowing 1 of 2 shooters to convert for the shootout loss.

First Period
12:30 TB Bergenheim (13), St Louis (52), Stamkos (38)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
14:28 WSH Semin (24), Wideman (25), Ovechkin (44)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WSH- Ovechkin
TB- NONE

Roloson was the game's third star.

The Lightning had this game won twice, only to have it snatched away from them. The first was on what was really a lucky stick save by Brayden Holtby reaching back on a Simon Gagne bid at an open net. The second was a disallowed goal by Vincent Lecavalier that was absolute baloney. I've seen teams get away with a lot worse than the contact Martin St. Louis made with his skate after being tripped through the crease. So, it would be easy to feel like the Lightning were robbed, but the refs didn't make the Lightning go out with a whimper in overtime and the shootout. It was a weak effort to close a game where the team, in general, really rose to the occasion. The Devils, Bruins, and this game were really unfortunate. This team could very easily have taken all 6 possible points in those games, rather than just 1.

The Lightning are 2 points back of Washington in the division now with 1 game in hand. This tough bit of schedule ends with the Blackhawks, who are white hot, before the opposition gets a little easier (on paper).

Mattias Ritola played 4:58.

Blair Jones played 6:20 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot.

The young guys simply weren't going to play much in a game of this magnitude.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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