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World Championships Day Twelve

Martin Cibak was scoreless with three shots on goal today as Slovakia ran Ukraine out of the rink 8-0. The victory moved Slovakia into 4th in Qualifying Pool F on the final day of the Qualifying Round, leapfrogging idle Switzerland for the last spot in the Quarterfinal Round. On Wednesday, Sweden will play USA in the Quarterfinals and Canada will square off with Slovakia. Finland draws Belarus on Thursday.

World Championships Day Ten

There were no Lightning properties in action yesterday at the World Championships. Today, Martin Cibak had his 2nd goal of the tournament as Slovakia knocked off Sweden 5-2. Cibak was -1 with 1 shot on goal and 2 penalty minutes in the game. Blueliner Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless with 2 shots on goal and a -1 rating for the Swedes. Fredrik Norrena improved to 2-0-0 on the tournament blanking Norway with an 18 save shutout. Also, defenseman Timo Helbling was a scratch in Switzerlands 6-3 loss at the hands of Russia. With two more days remaining in the Qualifying Round, Finland is atop Group E, 1 point ahead of Canada. In Group F, Sweden sits in 2nd place 3 points back of Russia, 1 point ahead of Switzerland and 2 points in front of Slovakia.

World Championships Day Eight

There were no Lightning properties in action yesterday. Today, Martin Cibak scored his first goal of the tournament for Slovakia, but the Swiss still managed to forge a 2-2 tie. Timo Helbling was -1 with 2 penalty minutes for Switzerland. Cibak was even with 4 penalty minutes and one shot on goal for the Slovaks. Fredrik Norrena again sat as Antero Nittymaki blanked Team USA 4-0. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even for Sweden as they defeated Belarus 4-1.

World Championships Day Six

Martin Cibak got his first point of the tournament today against Russia assisting on Tomas Surovy's first period goal. Despite the contribution, however, Slovakia fell 4-3. Slovakia finished a disappointing third in Group C but still advances to the Qualification Round. At the end of a wild third period that saw the Swiss and Swedes score 6 goals in total, both teams were forced to settle for a 4-4 tie. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even with 0 shots on goal for Sweden. Timo Helbling had the same box score line for the Swiss. Sweden wins Group B on goal differential. Switzerland, in second, advances to the Qualification Round as well. Fredrik Norrena's Finnish team clinched Group A yesterday. [b]Opening Round Statistics[/b] G Fredrik Norrena (FIN), 1-0-0, 3.00 GAA, .813 sv%, 0 SO D Andreas Holmqvist (SWE), 3 GP, 0-1-1, 0 PIM, +1, 5 SOG C Martin Cibak (SVK), 3 GP, 0-1-1, 2 PIM, +2, 3 SOG D Timo Helbling (SUI), 3 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM, E, 0 SOG LW Anton But was forced to withdraw his name from consideration for Team Russia prior to the tournament due to injury. But hurt his abductor injury during the Superleague season and was hobbled with the injury for much of the playoffs [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/tournament.php?tour_id=2006029&anchor=News]according to Russianprospects.com.[/url]

World Championships Day Four

Andreas Holmqvist got his first career World Championships point today, a helper, in Sweden's 4-0 shutout of Italy. The blueliner had 3 shots on goal and was +1 in the match. Elsewhere, Martin Cibak was scoreless and +1 with 2 shots on goal as Slovakia clubbed Kazakhstan 6-0. Sweden leads Group B via the goal differential tiebreaker over Switzerland. Both teams are 2-0-0. Slovakia sits at second in Group C behind Russia at 1-1-0.

World Championships Day Two

In a major upset today, Belarus knocked off Slovakia 2-1. Martin Cibak had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal for the Slovaks. Timo Helbling was scoreless in Switzerland's 3-1 victory over Italy. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless with 2 shots on goal in Sweden's 4-2 win over Ukraine.

World Championships Kick Off

The World Championships got underway today in Latvia with three Lightning properties thus far named to their nations' teams. Martin Cibak has been selected to Team Slovakia, Andreas Holmqvist to Team Sweden and Fredrik Norrena to Team Finland. The Finns got underway today as one of four opening matches knocking off Slovenia 5-3. Fredrik Norrena stopped 13 of 16 in the win. [b]Update:[/b] Defenseman Timo Helbling has also been named to the Swiss team's roster.

Evaluating Tampa

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The Tampa Bay Lightning finished 43-33-6 this season with 92 points, eighth in the Eastern Conference and second in the Southeast Division. In 2003-2004, prior to the lockout, the club finished with 3 more wins but 14 more points in the standings. The Lightning's goal production this year actually improved by 7 goals, but their defense declined by a shocking 68 goals (that is not a typo) and the team actually scored 8 less goals than it allowed this season. The most important number though is 15, as in the 15 less playoff games the team won this season after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs 4 games to 1 by the Ottawa Senators.

Playoff Game Night: 4/29

Ottawa eliminates the Lightning in 5 games. TB-2 OTT-3 I hope the Lightning remember the bad taste they have in their mouths tonight. And now the focus shifts off the ice to Jay Feaster in the aftermath of a season that failed to even remotely approach expectations. [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] scored his first official NHL playoff goal in the game after being robbed on one by the officials in game three. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS030115.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Playoff Game Night 4/27: Senators at Lightning

Senators lead the series 3-1. Give credit to Ottawa. They bury their chances and they've buried the Lightning. A lot of soul searching may be in the offing for the Lightning this summer. OTT-5 TB-2 [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url] had 2 assists. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS030114.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]
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