Now THAT is some exciting NHL action.
The Lightning reacted to falling behind 3-0 in a very positive way and charged back to tie the game 3-3 partly on the strength of two Dan Boyle goals and had numerous opportunities to win it in regulation and overtime. But, perhaps, this way is better as the Lightning finally got the shootout monkey off their backs thanks to John Grahame and shootout markers by Brad Richards and Vaclav Prospal.
Amongst the rookies, I thought Paul Ranger quietly had an outstanding game at his end of the rink. He continues to surprise me with how poised he is defensively. The young man is very active with the stick and is very cool, calm and adept at spinning away from forecheckers and making the smart play to move the puck out of danger. 19:20 of even ice time tonight. Evgeny Artyukhin with 11:07 of ice time, 3 hits and 2 minor penalties.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Whew. Sometimes it feels like the Falcons are as inept at protecting leads as Ranger Smith was at protecting picnic baskets.
The good news is that the Falcons charged out to a 4-0 lead in this game. The bad news is they almost coughed it up. Gerald Coleman made 34 saves on 37 shots to hold onto the win by a fingernail. Young Dave Spina got the game's first star with his first AHL goal and assist in this contest. O'Brien, Packard and Kvapil added goals as well and veteran Anders Eriksson had an assist on the power play in his first game for the Falcons.
I can't believe Colin Forbes (Lowell) is still playing hockey. Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Nikita Alexeev scored the game winning goal today in Avangard Omsk's 2-1 triumph over SKA St. Petersburg. Alexeev now has 5 goals and 8 points in 22 games this season.
The Lightning haven't lost a regular season game to the Philadelphia Flyers since the 2002-2003 season.
He wore the goat horns in the game against Washington, so I'll give Burke some love for the performance he turned in tonight stopping 30 of 32 shots for the victory. Also, the checking line came up big tonight accounting for three of the four goals scored. Big game by former Springfield Falcon Martin Cibak with a goal and an assist. Robbie DiMaio with two assists. Old man Taylor with 1G 1A. Outstanding work by a group of checkers that is just now finally starting to find its stride.
Amongst the rookies, Artyukhin had an assist and a +1 rating in 13:35 of ice time. I thought he was very strong on the forecheck tonight and helped create a lot of space for his linemates. Paul Ranger logged perhaps the most ice time he has all season with 21:22 of even rating playing time. Only his pairing partner Dan Boyle logged more ice time tonight. Very impressive.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
After receiving a one game suspension for his involvement in a brawl against HV-71, Fredrik Norrena returned today helping Linkopings defeat Sodertalje 4-1. Norrena stopped 24 of 25 shots faced to improve his record to 12-3-2 this season. Defenseman Andreas Holmqvist chipped in a power play assist in the win.