Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 4-7-12 Lightning at Jets

This season will be remembered 5 years from now as a minor speed bump on the ride of a lifetime.

TB-4
WPG-3 (OT)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the victory. If that was Roli's last NHL game, I'm glad the boys played him out with a win.

First Period
TB Purcell (22), (Lecavalier), 17:49

Second Period
TB Purcell (23), (Lecavalier, Brown), 1:12
WPG Antropov (15), (Miettinen, Kane), 8:53

Third Period
TB Stamkos (60), (St. Louis, Lee), 3:29
WPG Slater (12), (Clitsome, Enstrom), 4:59
WPG Slater (13), (Wheeler, Ladd), 19:07

Overtime
TB Purcell (24), (Hedman), 1:08

Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and third stars.

This game had just about all the elements you wanted to see to reaffirm that the Lightning, despite the struggles of this season, are on a path to longterm prosperity. Despite all their problems and despite unilaterally disarming at the trade deadline, the club finished 2 games over .500. Yes, there's several things to fix both between the pipes and defensively, as evidenced by the team finishing worst in goals against, but these guys aren't losers, even when the going gets tough. They have the character winning organizations are premised on.

Individually, the big story will obviously be Steven Stamkos' 60th goal and his second Richard Trophy. He's the best young player in the game, but we all knew that. I was far more intrigued by the B stories in this game.

Teddy Purcell's second half seems to me to be a clear sign he's ready to erupt into stardom next season, and the thing Lightning fans should be giddy about is that Teddy can produce on both Stamkos and Lecavalier's line. That gives the coaching staff a lot of flexibility.

Another B story is the young defensemen on this team. These are young guys who bring the kind of elite mobility that Guy Boucher's system really needs, and they started to produce down the stretch of the year. No offense to guys like Pavel Kubina, who did yoeman's work for the team, but the new blood has the pace to play this system the way it ought to be played. I'm looking at Victor Hedman ending the season with points in 7 of his last 9 games. I'm looking at Brian Lee with points in 4 of his last 5 games of the season, and 8 points in 20 games with the Lightning, which pro-rates to a 33 point season. Here are two guys I believe can and should be in the 30-40 point range next year, and, heck, even Eric Brewer was showing more toward the end of the season. You mix in what I believe Brendan Mikkelson has shown, and that's 4 guys to invest some hope in. You go out on the free agent market and add 1-2 more good defenseman and get a healthy Marc-Andre Bergeron into the mix, and you'll get a top-7 that can play Boucher's system well.

Beyond that, there's an obvious need in goal that Steve Yzerman has clearly stockpiled a ridiculous amount of draft picks to address. Between the draft picks and the amount of quality young forward prospects in this organization, I dare say Yzerman will not be outbid by anyone.

And then there's what we can expect to see added from Norfolk and their ongoing 25-game winning streak next year, and the youth in the system, as a whole.. More youth, more speed, and more confidence at the forward position. The likely AHL defenseman of the year in Mark Barberio. Two goaltenders playing out of their minds in Norfolk and another guy in Finland, Riku Helenius, who also just can't seem to lose. It's an embarassment of riches, and you will see a training camp next season where you may very well see darn near 30 NHL caliber players fighting tooth and nail for 23 spots. Good problems to have.

Keith Aulie had 3 hits in 11:48. He's on Norfolk's Clear Day roster, which means he should be sent down after Lightning exit interviews and begin what I feel will be a critical 20-30 games worth of development in his young career. The crucible of the AHL playoffs could make him into a player to be reckoned with.

J.T. Brown got his first NHL point, an assist, and was +2 with 2 shots in 13:52. J.T., my friend, before you leave Tampa, beg Steven Stamkos to let you go train with him with Gary Roberts. Promise him your first born. Do whatever it takes to go spend this offseason getting ready to take the pounding of an 82 game NHL season, because if you do, you might have the talent to be a Calder Trophy winner next season. But, for you, that award will be won in June, July and August, not October through April.

J.T. Wyman was -3 with 1 shot in 13:25. Wyman finishes the season with 40 NHL games, 1 shy of what he needs for graduation from prospect status on BoltProspects. Ain't that a shame? He'll start from scratch next year needing 39 games to graduate via the 82 game rule on the site.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-6-12 Senators at Lightning

The Admirals get to Jason Wiemer, and oddly their journey didn't take them to The Hideaway.

BNG-1
NOR-3

Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. His 21 wins is tied for 12th in the league, as he continues his push to try to give Norfolk two goaltenders in the top-10 in the AHL in victories.

First Period
NOR Barberio, (13) (Oberg, Johnson), 18:15

Second Period
BNG Downing, (9) (Dziurzynski, Hamilton), 16:34

Third Period
NOR Johnson, (30) (Gudas, Jackson), 2:51
NOR Smith, (23) (Segal, Cote), 16:46

Tyler Johnson, Janus, and Jean-Phillipe Cote were the game's three stars. Johnson becomes the second Admiral to hit 30 goals.

Mark Barberio hit 60 points for the season with his goal tonight. Soak that in for a moment.

24 consecutive victories for the Admirals, and this one happens to clinch the AHL equivalent of the President's Trophy. The club will have home ice throughout the playoffs for as long as they survive. With 4 games left to go in the regular season, the only question left on a team level is who their fiirst round opponent will be, and as of this moment, it would be the Manchester Monarchs. The rest boils down to personal goals. Specifically, will Richard Panik get to 20 goals.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-5-12 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Unlucky Connolly keeps Lightning from clinching a winning record for the season.

TB-2
TOR-3 (OT)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the overtime loss. Deserved better, perhaps.

First Period
TB St. Louis (25), (Lee, Malone), 5:49
TOR Connolly (13), (Gardiner, Steckel), 6:32

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TB Stamkos (59), (Gervais, St. Louis), 8:48
TOR Gardiner (7), (unassisted), 17:05

Overtime
TOR Phaneuf (11), (Kessel), 4:01

Steven Stamkos was named the game's third star. He'll get one crack to get the one goal he needs to get to 60.

Congratulations to Martin St. Louis for his 9th straight 25 goal season. That's amazing consistency from a small player who played the bulk of his career in the clutch and grab era.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I loves me some Brian Lee. 3 shots, 5 hits, and he set up Marty's goal. Steve Yzerman robbed Ottawa blind in that deal. Not saying Gilroy's a bum, but Lee is a potential stud 2-way blueliner in this league, and I'm still stunned why the Sens gave up on him. The only thing I can think is that he never blew up offensively to the degree they thought he would. Still, to give up that skating ability and that willingness to step up and deliver a hit for a player as inconsistent as Gilroy? C'mon, man.

Brett Connolly will look back on his rookie season one day and laugh. It's been a hard one, and tonight's own-goal put the punctuation on that. He's immensely talented and creative, though. There are better days ahead.

Keith Aulie had 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:50 against his old club. Good for him breaking the 15 minute barrier in IT.

J.T. Brown was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:11. It'd be nice to see him hit the scoresheet in the finale.

J.T. Wyman had 5 shots and 1 hit in 10:52. The coaches love him. He'll enter next season a slight favorite for a spot in Tampa Bay, I surmise.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Segal Reassigned to Norfolk

(Norfolk Admirals press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have assigned forward Brandon Segal to the Admirals, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Segal, 28, has played in 10 games with the Lightning this season, recording four penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward was acquired by Tampa Bay on February 21 from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Richmond, British Columbia native has played in three games with Norfolk this season, tallying three goals and four points. In 56 AHL games between the Admirals and Rockford IceHogs this season, Segal has compiled 16 goals and 29 assists to go along with 63 penalty minutes.

He appeared in 94 games with the Admirals between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, posting 36 goals and 71 points with 120 penalty minutes. Segal posted AHL career highs with 26 goals, 26 assists and 52 points with the Admirals in 2008-09. That season, he ranked second in goals, fourth in points and tied for third in assists with Norfolk.

Segal has skated in 511 career AHL games with the Milwaukee Admirals, Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Manchester Monarchs, Texas Stars and Rockford IceHogs, collecting 123 goals and 237 points. He also has five goals and eight points in 41 career Calder Cup Playoff games. Segal won the Calder Cup in 2004 with the Milwaukee Admirals.

He has played in 102 career NHL games with the Lightning, Dallas and Los Angeles, collecting 11 goals and 22 points. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round, 102nd overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Segal signed a one-year contract with Chicago on September 1, 2011.

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