You can't afford to spot a team like the Ducks any soft goals, and the one Denis allowed tonight cost the Lightning at least a point.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 25 shots and Chris Kunitz's shot from behind the net riccocheting off Denis' left skate and in as the netminder left his post to early on a rush in the third period proved to be the Lightning's death knell. Martin St. Louis had 2 assists while goals were scored by Eric Perrin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brad Richards. Vincent Lecavalier and Paul Ranger added individual assists, but it was a sputtering power play that went 0-for-5 including a squandered long 5-on-3 power play in the third period with the Lightning chasing the tying goal that was the real story offensively. Atlanta picks up a point in the standings and now has an 11 point lead on the Lightning in the division.
Anaheim 3:07, Dustin Penner 11 (Todd Marchant, Shawn Thornton)
Tampa Bay 10:20, Eric Perrin 8 (Paul Ranger, Martin St. Louis)
Anaheim 10:58, Dustin Penner 12 (power play) (Shawn Thornton, Francois Beauchemin)
Anaheim 12:48, Teemu Selanne 17 (Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz)
Tampa Bay 17:25, Ruslan Fedotenko 8 (Vincent Lecavalier)
Anaheim 2:26, Chris Kunitz 16 (Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer)
Tampa Bay 10:10, Brad Richards 11 (Martin St. Louis)
The moral victory is the Lightning proved they can go toe to toe with the second best team in the NHL and certainly hold their own. But moral victories don't count in the standings and the brutal December schedule rolls on as this Lightning team is still trying to hit its stride.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
First, a stat correction last night. The AHL website originally had both Karri Ramo and Jonathan Boutin allowing 2 goals last night against Albany. The corrected sheet has Ramo allowing 3 goals on 14 shots while Boutin allowed 1 goal on 16 shots faced, which is relevant because of what Boutin did tonight.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 32 of 32 shots faced tonight and was the proverbial stopper getting the win to break the team's 2 game losing streak and the shutout which was his first of the season and second of his AHL career. Boutin's night included a crucial third period where the Falcons were outshot 12-4 but Boutin stood up to the test. Justin Keller scored Springfield's first goal on a 5-on-3 power play and Norm Milley added an insurance marker on a 5-on-4 power play before Marek Kvapil sealed the win with an empty net goal. Eric Healey had 2 assists while individual assists went to Daniel Corso and Eric Healey.
SPR Keller, (8) (Corso, Healey), 11:56 (PP)
SPR Milley, (11) (Delmore), 0:30 (PP)
SPR Kvapil, (4) (Healey), 19:45 (EN)
Don't look now, but Jonathan Boutin is 3-0-0 in December with 1 shutout, a 1.30 GAA and a .958 save percentage in 5 games this month. Coach Stirling has become confident in Boutin's ability and now has two talented, athletic young goaltenders in his arsenal, and until Springfield learns to put in a full 60 minute effort, they'll rely heavily on their goaltenders to weather surges and get wins. The Falcons are now 14-12-0 with 28 points, just 3 points behind division leading Portland with the Pirates holding a game in hand.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Johnstown gets a point at least.
Morgan Cey allowed 3 goals on 25 shots faced in the game for the OT loss. Randy Rowe led the way for the Chiefs with an assist on the opening goal and the key tying goal to send the contest to overtime with 59 seconds left in the third period. Adam Henrich had the other Johnstown goal with assists going to Doug Andress, Maxime Boisclair and Andrew Martens. Rowe and Henrich were named second and third stars of the game. The Chiefs outshot Reading 29-28.
REA Zappala, (4) (Becker), 6:09
JHN Henrich, (5) (Andress, Rowe), 11:55 (PP)
REA Hogeboom, (12) (Hiebert, Germain), 13:31
JHN Rowe, (10) (Boisclair, Martens), 19:09
REA Hiebert, (8) (Christie), 2:13 (PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Marek Bartanus was -1 in Owen Sound's 4-2 loss to Guelph.
Kevin Beech allowed 4 goals on 37 shots for the loss as Sudbury fell 5-3 to Plymouth.
Chris Lawrence assisted on the game winning goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes as Mississauga knocked off London 5-4.
Dane Crowley was -1 with 4 penalty minutes in Swift Current's 5-2 loss to Moose Jaw.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in Prince George's 3-2 shootout win against Red Deer.