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NHL Game Night 4/3: Hurricanes at Lightning

Enjoy your tee times "champs".

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Johan Holmqvist (just win baby) stopped 22 of 24 shots faced for the win. The Lightning got goals from Eric Perrin, Vincent Lecavalier and the The Showman, Dan Boyle. With all due respect to Marty and Vinny, Dan Boyle is, was, and always will be the most entertaining player on this club to watch night in and night out. If you spliced the genes of Bobby Orr and PT Barnum, the end product would be Dan Boyle. He is the NHL's best kept secret. He is also one of only a dozen or so players in this league who are worth paying money to see just in of himself along with the Crosbys of the world. He's that good, and he's got 20 goals this season to prove it. It's a crying shame the NHL doesn't recognize just what sensational marquee caliber player he is. Jason Ward, Nolan Pratt and Vaclav Prospal added assists.

The Lightning pull within 1 point of Atlanta in the division with the Thrashers holding a game in hand. And, with the Smirkin' Chikins having a date with Washington coming up, you're about to witness one of the handful of awkward occassions in my life where I've had to utter the phrase "lets go Caps". The math is painfully simple from here on out. Atlanta has to leave at least a point on the ice against either Washington or Carolina before the Lightning and Thrashers meet up in "Blue Land" (and it's recently annexed protectorate "Mortgaged the Future of My Franchise to Try to Save My Job Land" where Don Waddell presides as Prime Minister). If they do, the division title will be in play when the Lightning take the ice in the season finale with the #3 seed, the home ice, the division title and a percentage of the proceeds from Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's last shady land deal all up for grabs. Don't choke Atlanta.

Game sheet from NHL.com.

Bolt Prospects Prospect of the Week: 3/26-4/1

One of the Lightning's youngest guns helps to bring Johnstown's playoff hopes back from the dead. And no, I don't mean Radek Smolenak (4GP, 1-6-7). And, of course, there was Ryan Munce and his 3-0-0 record with a 1.00 GAA, 1 shutout and a .960 save percentage. But, this week's winner set it all in motion on a Tuesday morning somewhere in Southern Ohio.

Munce Named Rbk Hockey ECHL Goalie of the Week

(ECHL.com release) Ryan Munce of the Johnstown Chiefs is the Rbk Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Mar. 26-Apr. 1, 2007.

The Mississauga, Ontario native was 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .960 to help the Chiefs go 4-0-0 to move into the fifth and final playoff spot in the North Division with 70 points (32-31-6).

After stopping 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati on Mar. 27, the 21-year-old made 24 saves in a 6-1 win against Toledo on Mar. 30 and closed out the week stopping 23 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against Cincinnati on Apr. 1.

Since being assigned to Johnstown after he was traded from the Los Angeles King to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 21, the 6-foot-2 and 185-pound Munce is 5-3-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average and a save percentage of .916 in 13 games. He began the season with Reading and was 5-6-4 with a goals-against average of 3.30 and a save percentage of .884 in 17 games for the Royals.

Selected in the third round (82nd overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract to Tampa Bay, Munce led the ECHL as a rookie in 2005-06 with 3,234 minutes, 1,705 saves and eight shootout wins and was 30-18-5 with a goals-against average of 2.78 and a save percentage of .919 in 55 games with Bakersfield. He was 5-5-0 with a goals-against average of 3.36 and a save percentage of .889 to help Bakersfield advance to the division finals in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Prior to turning professional, Munce played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League where he was 55-56-14 with five shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.98 and a save percentage of .912 in 136 regular season games for Sarnia.

Mihalik vs. Crowley in WHL Conference Semi-Finals

Western Hockey League -- Kal Tire Western Conference Semi-Finals
Prince George (31-30-3-5) vs. Everett (54-15-1-2)

Lightning prospects and defensemen Vladimir Mihalik (Prince George) and Dane Crowley (Everett) will meet in the Kal Tire Western Conference Semi-Finals starting this Friday. The two are the only Lightning CHL prospects remaining in the WHL or OHL playoffs (The Lightning does not have a prospect in the QMJHL).

Mihalik and Prince George swept Kamloops in the first round and haven't played since March 28. Crowley and Everett won their last two games against Spokane to take their opening round series 4-2. Prince George is the lowest seed of the remaining 4 teams in the Western Conference: Everett, Vancouver, Seattle, Prince George.

Everett won the season series against Prince George 3-2 with one win coming in overtime and another coming in a shootout. Mihalik had 2 assists, an even rating, and 14 PIM in 5 games against Everett. Crowley, with both Swift Current and Everett, had 4 assists, an even rating, and 2 PIM in 4 games vs. Prince George.

Series schedule (all times Pacific):

#1 - Prince George @ Everett; Friday, April 6 (7:35 p.m.)
#2 - Prince George @ Everett; Saturday, April 7 (7:05 p.m.)
#3 - Everett @ Prince George; Tuesday, April 10 (7:00 p.m.)
#4 - Everett @ Prince George; Wednesday, April 11 (7:00 p.m.)
#5 - Prince George @ Everett; Saturday, April 14 (7:05 p.m.) if necessary
#6 - Everett @ Prince George; Monday, April 16 (7:00 p.m.) if necessary
#7 - Prince George @ Everett; Wednesday, April 18 (7:05 p.m.) if necessary

Sunday and Monday's Superleague Playoff Scores

Sunday
In Game Three of their Superleague seminfinal playoff series, CSKA scored their first win of the series defeating Kazan 3-2. CSKA still trailed the series 2-1. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.

Monday
Kazan struck back to clinch a spot in the Superleague finals defeating CSKA 2-1 in Game Four. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the match.

Kazan advances to the Superleague finals to face Magnitogorsk which beat Omsk 3 games to 1. Game One of the Russian Superleague finals begins Saturday.

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