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NHL Game Night: 12-22-15 Canucks at Lightning

Lightning waste an opportunity to climb in the standings.

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Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 19 shots for the loss. I can't be mad at him. He gave them a chance with 2-3 really important saves in the Second Period.

First Period
15:57 VAN Baertschi (5), (Vrbata, Biega)

Second Period
19:38 TB Marchessault (5), (Kucherov, Stralman)(PP)

Third Period
11:09 VAN D. Sedin (16), (H. Sedin)

Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and second stars.

First, the Lightning came out with a flat as a pancake First Period that they simply cannot have in the standings situation they're in. They only played energetic hockey for 40 minutes tonight and that just isn't good enough. Second, and most obviously, the power play went 1-for-10. There's the game right there. The first 6 chances on the PP were pretty putrid by the Lightning. They got the goal from Marchessault on the 7th and the 8th and 9th really fed on that and created the chances that the Lightning just couldn't bury, punctuated by one Stamkos crossbar. There's some good tape to study there, though. Marchessault, as a sniper in the slot/RW circle, helps the team develop a pressure point on the strong side of the ice and allows Stamkos to drift to the open area away from the play. That's how the Lightning power play needs to start to work. They can do that with Marchessault in that spot and they can do it with Tyler Johnson in that spot when he returns from injury. So, even though it's small solace right now, there's something to build off of despite how statistically ugly that performance was.

The kick in the pants is this game was a nice opportunity for the Lightning to close out this half of Segment Four of the season in great shape. They already had 6 points through the first 4 games and even 1 point would've put them in good shape to start to cut into their season deficit and get them back into playoff position. It's been a recurring pattern over the last 15 games: they've had their chances to do more than just tread water in the standings, and they just haven't been able to pull that one more win out to start to get their heads up above water. At some point, those chances will run out, though.

The Lightning, at least, will now take the holiday break to hopefully get a handful of their forwards out of the tub and back with the club with a must-win against Columbus coming up on Saturday.

Mike Angelidis had a 5 minute fighting major and 1 hit in 5:56. He was also 50% on 6 draws.

Marchessault had a goal and was -1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 19:03. He was also 67% on 6 draws. He played really well and displayed his best quality again: he's a pure sniper.

Nikita Nesterov had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 12-22-15

Magnitogorsk 4 vs. Podolsk 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 22/24, 2.00 GAA, .917 sv%
Season totals: 34 GP, 14-12-7, 0 SO, 2.30 GAA, .918 sv%

Ex-Blue Jackets pick Sergei Mozyakin had a pair of assists as Magnitka doubled up Podolsk 4-2. Magnitogorsk sits in 2nd place on the Eastern Conference table by virtue of their division lead in the KHL Kharlamov Division.

Novgorod 6 vs. St. Petersburg 5 (OT)
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 9-7-16, +2, 49 PIM

Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 16 GP, 6-11-17, +5, 0 PIM
Season totals: (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 39 GP, 13-18-31, +11, 4 PIM

Carter Ashton had a power play goal in 16:25 of ice time as Novgorod defeated SKA St. Petersburg in a wild 6-5 OT contest. Nikita Gusev had a helper in 16:52 of ice time in defeat. Novgorod also got a pair of helpers from ex-NHLer Nikolai Zherdev in the win. Novgorod is in 4th in the Western Conference with SKA St. Petersburg currently sitting in 6th.

Juniors Game Night: 12-20-15

Ontario Hockey League

Sudbury Wolves 0 @ Oshawa Generals 7

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 10/27 FO
Season totals: 30 GP, 10-16-26, -9, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Cirelli scored on a slapshot from the high slot to give Oshawa a 4-0 lead Sunday. The Gens went on to shut out the Wolves, 7-0. Jeremy Brodeur (undrafted) stopped 17 shots for the shutout.

NOTES: Congratulations to Brayden Point and Mitchell Stephens for making Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships in Finland. They join fellow Lightning prospects Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The CHL is now off until December 28.

NHL Game Night: 12-20-15 Senators at Lightning

Lightning show no signs of a Washington hangover.

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Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory. It wasn't one of Bishop's more dominant performances, because it didn't have to be. That said, he made 1-2 key situational saves in the Third Period that allowed his club to eventually pull away at the end.

First Period
4:20 OTT Smith (8), (Lazar)(SH)
5:23 TB Nesterov (1), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)
7:16 TB Stamkos (13), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)(PP)

Second Period
2:45 TB Angelidis (1), (Blunden, Marchessault)
14:28 OTT Karlsson (9), (Hoffman, Pageau)

Third Period
18:27 TB Killorn (6), (unassisted)(EN)
18:40 TB Stamkos (14), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)(EN)

Nikita Nesterov and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and third stars.

Tonight was a battle of a couple of injury depleted teams. With Brian Boyle leaving the game with an apparent concussion, the Lightning were depleted to 10 forwards, seemingly half of which were fresh up from Syracuse. Meanwhile, injuries and a match penalty shortened Ottawa's bench to about 11 forwards and 4 defensemen. The ensuing test of team depth was one the Lightning appeared to pass with flying colors. The Lightning power play continued to show the same signs of improvement it's teased over the past week and the Lightning had the lion's share of possession throughout the contest. More importantly, they cleared some psychological hurdles by getting through the Third Period protecting a 1 goal lead after melting down against the Capitals last time out. I thought they may have been a little guilty of playing not to lose in the first half of the final frame, but they got on their forecheck in the back half of the Third and eventually pulled away for the big victory.

With Brian Boyle, I imagine, out for the Canucks game to rest his head until after the Christmas break, I'd expect Tanner Richard to make his NHL debut on Tuesday.

With two more goals tonight, Steven Stamkos seems to be awakening from his slumber. A lot of the credit, in my opinion, goes to the less publicized play of Vladislav Namestnikov, whose heroics tonight included springing Val Filppula for a penalty shot-enducing breakaway and a clever backhand up-pass that eventually led to a Kucherov breakaway and a Stamkos chance dead in the mid slot after Kucherov missed. Even with those two near-misses, he had a couple of helpers tonight as he is starting to look like a real nice NHL scoring liner. He's been as important to the success of that line with Stamkos and Kucherov as Kucherov, in my opinion, and that's no small statement when you think about it.

The win was huge as far as the playoff pursuit goes. On a macro-level, which I caution you not to get too caught up in during the month of December, the Lightning moved to within 2 points of 3rd in the Atlantic Division and 1 point of the second Wild Card spot. On the micro-level, which the Lightning need to be more concerned with, they got to 6 points for this 10-game segment through 4 games. A win against Vancouver next time out would set them up nicely to get more than the minimum 12 points in 10 games you try to get and start to cut into the 5 point deficit they have for the season because of that terrible Segment Two of the season. You'd love to see them get 14-15 points out of this segment somehow and cut that deficit down to 2-3 points by the mid-season mark.

Angelidis had his second NHL goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 14:10. He was also 31% on 13 draws. Strong night for the Crunch line of Blunden, Angelidis, and Marchessault with Angelidis getting the payoff on the greasy goal on a play Blunden brought to the high traffic area. Blunden's been a pleasant surprise with how he's played over the past 3 games and Angelidis' game tonight was just par for the course for anyone who has seen him play for Syracuse. Just an honest, grinding forward.

Jonathan Marchessault had a helper, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 10:13.

Nesterov had a PP goal, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 13:10. His goal was extremely important after the deflating shorthanded goal against.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-20-15 Crunch at Bears

Crunch fritter away a 3 goal lead to fall in OT.

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Adam Wilcox allowed 5 goals on 44 shots for the OT loss. Hard to be mad at the goaltender when the team gets outshot 44-16.

First Period
SYR McGinn, (7) (Erne, Tambellini), 8:06 (PP)
SYR Erne, (2) (Paradis, Taormina), 10:45 (PP)
SYR McGinn, (8) (DeAngelo, Peca), 13:21 (PP)

Second Period
HER Stanton, (2) (Camper, Walker), 13:39
HER Stephenson, (3) (Barber, Bowey), 14:42

Third Period
SYR Tambellini, (11) (Paradis), 2:25 (SH)
HER Collins, (4) (Moore, Walker), 9:00
HER Djoos, (2) (Stephenson, Gazley), 11:22

Overtime
HER Collins, (5) (Stephenson), 0:25

Tye McGinn was the game's third star.

For much of the night, it looked like the Crunch were going to cap a pretty successful weekend with a win. Considering the team was having to play two defensemen at forward because of the injuries up top in Tampa Bay, maybe getting 3 of the possible 6 points out of the set is as successful as can be expected.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-19-15 Penguins at Crunch

Blanked.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Kostopoulos, (7) (Sundqvist, Andersen), 6:20

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
WBS O'Neill, (4) (Mouillierat, Rust), 3:33
WBS Kuhnhackl, (6) (Simon), 5:19

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Syracuse actually outshot Wilke-Barre/Scranton 30-23 in the contest, but couldn't find the scoresheet.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 12-19-15

Ontario Hockey League

Windsor Spitfires 6 @ Saginaw Spirit 3

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 13-16-29, +18, 48 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

Windsor’s Brendan Lemieux (Sabres), son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, had a hat trick and DiGiacinto scored his 13th goal of the season as Windsor won in Saginaw, 6-3.

Western Hockey League

Vancouver Giants 2 @ Everett Silvertips 3 (OT)

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 3-12-15, -16, 21 PIM
With Vancouver: 24 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 11 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Vancouver responded to an overtime loss to Everett on Friday with a close win in their barn on Saturday.

NOTES: Brayden Point had a goal and an assist before leaving Canada’s pre-WJC game with an injury. Point was playing for the first time since hurting his shoulder over a month ago. He was kept out of the third period for precautionary reasons. Mitchell Stephens was scoreless in Canada’s 6-1 win over Belarus. Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) are also in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The QMJHL is now off until December 28.

United States Hockey League

While both Sioux City (Ryan Zuhlsdorf) and Omaha (Kris Oldham) were in action Saturday, neither Lightning prospect dressed as they are returning from the World Junior A Challenge in Ontario. Both won a Bronze medal with Team USA.

Crunch Blanked By Penguins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite significantly outshooting the Penguins in the first period, the Crunch entered the first intermission trailing by a goal.

Syracuse struggled to solve Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Brian Foster, who finished with 30 saves in the Penguins’ 3-0 win over the Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I thought we had some great opportunities in the first,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We had (Jeff) Tambellini all alone in front in the second. I thought their goalie played extroidinarily well … He kept them in the game in the first period, and then we made some mistakes in the third that cost us.”

Juniors Game Night: 12-18-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 1 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 3

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: Did not play
Season totals: 28 GP, 4-9-13, -1, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 31 GP, 16-17-33, +12, 35 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

Former Lightning camper Eric Brassard made 44 saves for Halifax, but Saint John beat him three times to take a 3-1 win. Brassard was named first star. Joseph’s assist was shorthanded. Boko Imama is currently serving a 15-game suspension stemming from an incident in the last game between the Mooseheads and Sea Dogs.

Shawinigan Cataractes 4 @ Gatineau Olympiques 5

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: Did not play
Season totals: 28 GP, 22-22-44, +1, 33 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Dennis Yan was not in the lineup Friday. He is riding a 3-game scoreless streak.

Ontario Hockey League

Flint Firebirds 4 @ Oshawa Generals 1

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 17/23 FO
Season totals: 29 GP, 9-16-25, -11, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Nicholas Caamano (2016) had two goals for Flint Friday.

Peterborough Petes 4 @ Ottawa 67’s 5

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 3-13-16, E, 29 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

Peterborough took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, then allowed four goals before the next intermission. They scored two quick goals in the third but couldn’t complete the comeback.

Western Hockey League

Everett Silvertips 3 @ Vancouver Giants 2 (OT)

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 37 GP, 3-12-15, -16, 21 PIM
With Vancouver: 23 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 11 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Radko Gudas’ former team outshot Vancouver, 37-20, on their way to a 3-2 overtime win. Undrafted overager Carson Stadnyk had the overtime winner for the Tips.

World Junior A Challenge

Team USA won the bronze medal Friday, defeating Canada East, 7-1. Kris Oldham (pictured) got the start for USA after finishing the semifinals vs Russia. He made 17 saves against Canada East. Ryan Zuhlsdorf was scoreless. Oldham finished the tournament 1-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .895 save percentage. Zuhlsdorf had two assists in five games.

NOTES: Brayden Point is practicing at first line center and Mitchell Stephens is on the fourth line as Canada prepares for this month’s World Junior Championship in Finland. Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) are also in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The QMJHL is now off until December 28. The Lightning's NCAA prospects are on Christmas break.

Vasilevskiy, Power Play Lead Crunch Over Senators


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With many of Syracuse’s leading scorers called up, the power play still found ways to convert.

The Crunch scored twice with the man-advantage and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for the shutout, as Syracuse blanked the Binghamton Senators, 4-0, to snap a five-game losing skid at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“They kept it simple. I know that’s cliche but it’s true,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “They get it to the point and they shoot the thing. The way we’re setting up is good and we’re helping each other on the power play. It’s not necessarily about making the plays, but it’s about getting the recoveries, getting the puck back, and getting the puck in. It seems to be working for us right now.”

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