Even with Lundin, the Admirals defense remains a sieve.
Mike McKenna allowed 6 goals on 27 shots for the loss.
BRI Lee, (1) (Iggulden, Hillen), 0:30
BRI Hennigar, (3) (Hillen, Iggulden), 8:16
NOR Ward, (1) (Downie, Lundin), 10:31
BRI Tambellini, (1) (Walter), 14:21
NOR Lawrence, (1) (Downie, Rosehill), 18:30
BRI Smith, (12) (Colliton, Iggulden), 14:07
NOR Keller, (2) (Downie), 16:34
NOR Keller, (3) (Downie, Mihalik), 17:13
BRI Smith, (13) (Colliton, Skinner), 16:47
BRI Smith, (14) (Iggulden, Hillen), 19:59
Downie is reacting just like you would hope a guy who has just been sent down would: like a guy who has gotten a taste of the show and wants to get back. Mike Lundin had an assist in his Norfolk debut. Chris Gratton is in Norfolk, but did not suit up for the Ads.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that defenseman and BoltProspects alumni Mike Lundin has cleared waivers and has been assigned to Norfolk of the AHL.
Personally, so long as Mike doesn't pout in Norfolk, I think this could be a positive for his career, in the long term. When he was originally drafted Lundin was considered to be a young defenseman with some offensive upside. However, in the NHL, he's been asked to play a very simple game as a third pairing blueliner and simply not make mistakes. In Norfolk he should receive over 20 minutes a night including a healthy amount of power play time, which should help flesh out his game and could help him progress from being a #5/6 type defenseman in the NHL to a #3/4 type.
Word on the street is that Chris Gratton has reported to the Admirals and is likely to make his Norfolk debut tonight as well.
Atlanta dealt a blow in their own quest for Steve Stamkos.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 23 shots for the loss. Can I just say, "Case in point?" After seeing Karri Ramo go 2-0-1 including a sterling effort against the division leading Canes, Smith got well quickly to play the Thrashers tonight and with only a smidge of goal support he would've won. That's what having two young lions competing for the starting job will do for the Lightning. You won't get that if Smith isn't being pushed because he has a sad sack retread as a backup.
19:40 of even hockey for Matt Smaby with 1 shot on goal and 3 hits. The fact Matt has been even with over 18 minutes of IT in both of these one goal nailbiters only helps his resume going into next season in pursuit of an NHL job. And I'll pose the question again: if Smaby finishes out the year continuing to garner 5-6 minutes more IT than Mike Lundin, does that mean he's passed Lundin on the depth chart? When I heard Coach Tortorella's comments about Ramo and Lundin, I obviously was strongly against sending Ramo down to the minors next season. However, if Lundin doesn't hit the weight room hard this offseason and get the upper body strength he desperately needs, Coach might have a legitimate point about the young blueliner.
Lightning had all the hustle, but couldn't bury the Panthers.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss. His puckhandling gaffe early in the game turned out to be the margin of difference.
Congratulations to Junior Lessard on his first goal as a member of the Lightning, and to Mathieu Darche who had an outstanding game. Shame on the homers in Sunrise for denying Darche a star of the game.
Matt Smaby was even in 8:38 with 3 hits and 1 blocked shot. He made a good block in the first period but got caught out on a couple of 1 minute plus shifts which might be part of why he sat in the second period (although there were a lot of special teams in the middle frame). In the third period he was pretty solid and even did some business from the point on one shift helping to keep a couple of pucks in the zone. I really like the pairing of Smaby and Mike Lundin that has been put together by the coaching staff because I feel like each player's strength helps cover up the other's weakness. It would have been interesting if Boyle hadn't dropped the skate on his wrist this year to see these two Minnesota boys develop together as a unit in Norfolk. If they can stick together and learn to read off of each other, they could be a really good second or third pairing for the Lightning down the road. I'm already seeing flashes of Lundin reading what Smaby is doing and making the right adjustments to cover for what Matt is doing.
The Panthers were flat lucky to survive this game. The Lightning outworked and out played them for the final 55 minutes of the game and didn't let up even when they fell behind by two goals. This is a team filled with character guys playing their rear ends off for jobs next season. If the Lightning can throw in another skill player or two up front, this can get interesting. Also, if they can get a post and a chain to keep Smith and Ramo closer to their net, that might not be a bad investment either.
I didn't want this to be lost in amongst the eulogy for the season...
With his 41st NHL game played this season, Mike Lundin graduated from prospect status tonight according to Bolt Prospects' criteria. Lundin will be moved to the Bolt Prospects Alumni section of prospects page when we release our 2007-2008 Midterm Rankings some time within the next few months.
In the meantime, congratulations to Mike on his breakthrough year and best wishes on a long and productive career.