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NHL Game Night: 10-30-16 Lightning at Rangers

The bottom falls out at MSG.

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Ben Bishop allowed 6 goals on 37 shots for the loss. I legitimately feel angry for Ben. It's rare your see a goaltender give up 6 goals in a night where not one is a softie, but the Lightning were that bad defensively tonight. Nothing about the effort in front of Ben was acceptable, and I would've taken him out after 40 minutes just to spare him from having to endure that mess.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:45 NYR Nash (4), (Holden)
6:42 NYR Grabner (3), (Skej, Hayes)
7:04 NYR Vesey (5), (Nash)
18:10 NYR Miller (3), (Hayes, Girardi)

Third Period
9:02 NYR Grabner (4), (Miller, McDonagh)
14:47 NYR Grabner (5), (Hayes, Miller)
16:36 TB Stamkos (6), (Kucherov, Stralman)(PP)

With a loss like this, you have to take a critical look back at everything that has occurred to this point for things to get this bad. You had a disjointed/strange training camp because of the World Cup of Hockey which robbed the team's regulars of a lot of cohesion. But, you overlooked it because you knew they had the talent on paper. You had the team falling into big holes early in games at the start of the year, but you overlooked it because they leveraged that talent to pull out points. You had the team playing loose defensively and giving up too many shots, but you overlooked it because they were getting enough quick strike goals against bottomfeeders like Toronto for it not to matter. You had a team with turnover issues in its own end not going to the traffic areas against New Jersey to get greasy goals when it needed to, but you overlooked it because they had possession and it seemed like a small adjustment. Tonight, the structure completely collapsed underneath the weight of all the bad habits that the team has accumulated over these first nine games, and you can't overlook it anymore. The number of breakaways and odd man rushes surrendered tonight were unacceptable. The lack of compete level for 50/50 pucks or back checking pressure was unacceptable. Giving up a hat trick goal on an odd man rush surrendered by a clean breakout triggered on a clean OFFENSIVE zone faceoff loss was completely unacceptable. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. The Lightning's talent isn't working hard enough AND they're not playing with the necessary cohesiveness and structure. The team desperately looks, to me, like it needs practice time that the road schedule simply has not afforded them. But, they need to find that time because they need to get back to basics in a mini-training camp. Strip it back down to the foundations and start over.

The loss means the Lightning have to win at the Islanders to close this road trip to hit 12 points for the first 10-game segment of the season. If not, they start the year in a hole to try to make the postseason which is a tremendous let down after a hot start in the win column.

Brayden Point was -3 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:28. He's in Tampa for the time being, but with Callahan and Kucherov returning tonight, he might eventually be earmarked for Syracuse. Bottom line, I could make a really good argument it's best in the long run for Point to be down with the Crunch playing center 20 minutes a game and giving the Lightning an option at that position moving forward over the next few seasons. In case you've missed it, Tyler Johnson was a shadow of himself last season due to his lingering injury recovery and this season he's been as elusive to find as the Sasquatch and the Lock Ness Monster. Long term cap considerations being what they are, it's fairly obvious to me Point would be a nice option to eventually replace Johnson, and the best way to optimize that option would be to get him fully trained to play the center position as a pro. He's only playing wing in Tampa because the coaching staff doesn't trust him with the defensive or faceoff responsibilities of playing center in the NHL yet. He needs to get that seasoning down in the AHL first. That's not a shot at Point at all. He's played well... well enough I would have much bigger long-term plans for the young man than pigeon holing him on the wing.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 10-30-16 Crunch at Penguins

Struggling Gudlevskis roughed up in hard-scrabble Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

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Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss. That's not what you want to see from a guy who might be earmarked to move up and be the backup in Tampa Bay later this year.

First Period
3:52 WBS Rowney (2), (Oleksy, Goers)
14:51 WBS Porter (3), (Gaunce, Gardiner)
18:37 WBS Porter (4), (Wilson, Gill)(PP)

Second Period
13:54 WBS Kostopoulos (1), (Guentzel, Prow)

Third Period
4:56 SYR Halmo (2), (Darcy, Koekkoek)
13:50 WBS Dea (2), (McGrath)
16:18 WBS Sundqvist (2), (Dea, Prow)(PP)

Box score from TheAHL.com.

ECHL Game Night: 10-29-16

10/28/16: Wheeling Nailers 3 at Kalamazoo Wings 2 SO
10/29/16: Kalamazoo Wings 1 at Wheeling Nailers 8

W Brian Hart, KAL, 2gp, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIMs, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 4 GP, 0-0-0, -4, 0 PIMs, 1 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, L, 60:00 MIN, 26/34
Season Totals: 2 GP, 2-1-0-0, 3.00 GAA, 0.906 SV%, 1 SO

With Adam Comrie recalled to Syracuse, the K-Wings played a home-and-home with the Wheeling Nailers Friday and Saturday night. On Friday night at home in front 1200+ fans at the Wing Event Center, Kalamazoo battled to a 3-2 shootout loss behind two powerplay goals by Eric Kattelus.

On Saturday night, Nic Riopel was hammered as the Nailers put a snowman up on the board in front of 2100+ of their fans at the WesBanco Areana. If Lightning prospect Brian Hart is looking to get into the Syracuse lineup, he's going to have to do better than the 1 shot-on-goal in 4 games thus far. Kalamazoo plays at home against Allen Sunday night to complete the weekend 3-in-3.

CHL Game Night: 10-29-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 5 @ Halifax Mooseheads 1

W Otto Somppi, HAL: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 0 Hits, 9/14 FO, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 14 GP, 5-6-11, -5, 10 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

The Eagles countered Halifax’s road win over them Friday night with a road win themselves on Saturday night. Somppi’s fifth goal of the season tied the game 1-1 late in the first period, but Cape Breton scored 20 seconds later and never looked back.

Shawinigan Cataractes 1 @ Victoriaville Tigres 3

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 2 Hits
Season Totals: 10 GP, 10-5-15, +4, 20 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Yan had his 6-game goal streak snapped Saturday against the Tigres.

Ontario Hockey League

Niagara IceDogs 1 @ Owen Sound Attack 2

C/W Christopher Paquette, NIA: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 13 GP, 8-4-12, -6, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

Stephen Dhillon (undrafted) stopped 53 of 55 shots for Niagara, keeping the IceDogs in the game against Owen Sound, but eventually falling, 2-1.

Saginaw Spirit 0 @ Erie Otters 6

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, 8/18 FO
Season Totals: 9 GP, 3-5-8, E, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Totals: 39 GP, 20-18-38, -3, 14 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 12 GP, 11-17-28, +21, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 67 GP, 24-49-73, +19, 18 PIM

Raddysh had a goal Saturday against Stephens and Saginaw. Erie won easily, 6-0, despite Raddysh and DeBrincat combining for only one point.

Western Hockey League (late)

Kamloops Blazers 1 @ Vancouver Giants 4

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Did not play
Season Totals: 12 GP, 6-6-0-0, 2.10 GAA, .935 sv%, 1 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram shut out Vancouver Friday night, but sat backup Saturday in the home-and-home series.

Saskatoon Blades 1 @ Prince Albert Raiders 0

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 13 GP: 0-7-7, -1, 12 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

Saskatoon got a 23-save shutout performance from Logan Flodell (undrafted) to beat the Raiders in Prince Albert, 1-0.

NCAA Game Night: 10-29-16

No. 5 UMass-Lowell River Hawks 4 @ Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 2

C Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 8 GP, 0-3-3, +3, 0 PIM

D Kristian Oldham, UNO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-0, 2.42 GAA, .902 sv%, 0 SO

UML got a bit of revenge on UNO for the Mavs’ win Friday night with a 4-2 win Saturday night. Oldham served as backup both nights.

No. 12 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2 @ No. 18 St. Lawrence Saints 2 (OT)

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, UMN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 5 GP, 2-1-3, +3, 6 PIM

Minnesota outshot St. Lawrence 32-11 in the first two periods, yet were down 1-0 entering the final frame. They were down 2-0 at one point and needed a goal with less than 30 seconds remaining to force overtime.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

Crunch Surge Early, Hang On Against Bruins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch surged early and held on in the third period.

The Crunch scored twice in the opening 8:44, but the the Bruins took advantage of turnovers in the third period. Syracuse was able to hang on for a 3-2 win over Providence at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Tonight, that game was all about momentum swings,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we had momentum for 10 or 12 minutes, and then we would turn the puck over in our zone or at the blue line and they would get the momentum for five, six, seven minutes.”

NHL Game Night: 10-29-16 Lightning at Devils

Frustrating performance leaves first segment of the season in state of doubt.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. The goals he allowed were not necessarily soft goals, and he made one or two really dazzling ones late in the game, but it wasn't good enough to make the game competitive on a night where the offense was struggling.

First Period
3:57 NJ Henrique (2), (Severson, Cammalleri)
13:13 NJ Severson (1), (Henrique, Greene)

Second Period
5:22 NJ Smith-Pelly (1), (Lappin, Quincey)

Third Period
1:59 TB Johnson (2), (Point)

Just a frustrating night for the Lightning, which may have carried the balance of play throughout the game in outshooting New Jersey 33-23. But, New Jersey was opportunistic capitalizing on mistakes early to throw Tampa Bay into a hole, and without Kucherov in the lineup the Lightning didn't seem to have the offensive dynamism to crawl out. Also, if we're being honest, the Lightning played one of their all-too antiseptic games where they didn't create enough traffic and get in front of the goaltender's eyes enough to make it hard on a netminder as strong as Schneider. They were just a little too easy to play against tonight. Against a team like New Jersey, you do yourself a big disservice by not finding a greasy goal or two in those high traffic areas, and that building in particular is not one you want to fall in a hole in and then play a white gloves kind of style.

Heading into the final 2 games of this opening 10 game segment of the season, the Lightning need 2 more points, at least, to stay on playoff pace. That looked like a lock heading into the Montreal game, but it's looking a little dicey now. Hopefully Ben Bishop will have a performance tomorrow that will be the slump snapper. The Lightning need it.

Brayden Point had a beautiful helper and 3 shots in 16:50. His assist was so good he got Tyler Johnson off the side of the milk carton. I just hope he gets to collect the reward for finding a missing person like that.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-29-16 Bruins at Crunch

Crunch show they can win a non-track meet game.

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Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory. It's eyebrow raising Gudlevskis didn't get the call for a second straight night.

First Period
2:14 SYR Darcy (1), (Letourneau-Leblond, Blujus)
8:44 SYR Gourde (2), (Morin, Ikonen)
11:32 PRO Szwarz (2), (Rinaldo, Simpson)

Second Period
9:25 SYR Halmo (1), (Morin, Bournival)

Third Period
2:23 PRO Blidh (2), (unassisted)

Wilcox, Yanni Gourde, and Jeremy Morin were the game's three stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 10-29-16

TPS 2 vs. SaiPa 3 (SO)
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 14 GP, 1-1-2, -7, 27 PIM

Saku Salminen was scoreless in 7:13 of ice time in SaiPa's 3-2 Shootout win over TPS. Ex-Canadiens farmhand Brock Trotter had a goal in the win for SaiPa, which still sits in 13th in the 15 team league.

CHL Game Night: 10-28-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Moncton Wildcats 3 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 10

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 4 Hits
Season Totals: 13 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 10 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 13 GP, 12-7-19, +8, 11 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Saint John had a touchdown and field goal against rival Moncton, but none of the 10 were scored by Mathieu Joseph, surprisingly. Boko Imama potted a goal for the second straight game.

Halifax Mooseheads 3 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 1

W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 0 Hits, 8/20 FO
Season Totals: 13 GP, 4-6-10, -6, 8 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

2016 No. 3 overall pick Pierre-Luc Dubois (Blue Jackets) scored his first of the year for the Eagles, who lost 3-1 to Somppi and the Mooseheads. Dubois has a goal and two assists in six games. The game was 3-3 early in the second period before the Dogs ran away with the game.

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Sudbury Wolves 1

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 12/25 FO
Season Totals: 11 GP, 9-10-19, +12, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 21-38-59, -15 27 PIM

Cirelli failed to hit 50 percent in the faceoff dot for the first time in recent memory. He did manage an assist in another Gens victory. Oshawa leads the East Division with an 8-5-0-1 record.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ London Knights 3 (OT)

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 2-0-2, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *First Star*
Season: 13 GP, 5-6-11, +1, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 44 GP, 13-28-41, -10 19 PIM

Katchouk scored his second overtime-winner in a week, tipping in a shot on the power play and propelling the Soo to a 4-3 win in London. Katchouk, who also had a shorthanded goal Friday with a nasty wrist shot, beat Ottawa with an overtime-winner October 22.

Barrie Colts 5 @ Niagara IceDogs 4 (SO)

C/W Christopher Paquette, NIA: 1-1-2, -3, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 12 GP, 8-4-12, -5, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

Paquette scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough for the IceDogs to beat the visiting Colts. He did not convert his shootout opportunity.

Peterborough Petes 0 @ Kitchener Rangers 2

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 6 GP, 0-2-2, -4, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Chris McGonigle (undrafted) stopped 32 shots for the shutout.

Western Hockey League (late)

Vancouver Giants 0 @ Kamloops Blazers 3

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 30 saves on 30 shots, shutout, *First Star*

Season Totals: 12 GP, 6-6-0-0, 2.10 GAA, .935 sv%, 1 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram stopped 30 shots to give him his first shutout of the season. He had four last year.

Saskatoon Blades 2 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 4

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 12 GP: 0-7-7, -1, 12 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 69 GP, 3-23-26, -19, 76 PIM

C Brett Howden, MJ: Did not play
Season Totals: 11 GP, 9-5-14, -2, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Moose Jaw played without their captain, Howden, who is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Libor Hajek had an assist in the loss.

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