Tampa Bay Lightning
Johan Holmqvist stopped 29 of 31 shots faced in regulation/overtime before stopping 7 of 7 penalty shots in the shootout to outduel Rick Dipietro. Holmqvist is a perfect 5-0-0 in his last 5 starts and is now 5-2-0 on the season. Nikita Alexeev and Brad Richards had the Lightning's goals in regulation, but it took Dimitry Afanasenkov's shootout goal to secure the second point. Vincent Lecavalier had 2 assists and Filip Kuba chipped in an individual helper. Richards and Lecavalier were first and third stars of the game respectively. Holmer was robbed.
Tampa Bay 2:32, Nikita Alexeev 7 (Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 5:08, Brad Richards 6 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Filip Kuba)
NY Islanders 8:00, Radek Martinek 1 (unassisted)
NY Islanders 19:21, Mike York 5 (Viktor Kozlov)
NY Islanders NONE
Tampa Bay Dimitry Afanasenkov
Doug Janik was +1 in 8:25 with 1 shot on goal. Eric Perrin was -1 in 13:01 with 3 shots and 1 hit and he was 4/4 on draws. Nick Tarnasky received just 2 shifts in the game for 54 seconds of ice time with 1 hit with Tim Taylor out due to injury. The Lightning continue to follow the policy that they just won't give Tarnasky ice time unless it is the third period of a blowout.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Huet was just the better goaltender tonight.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots in the loss. Vaclav Prospal had the lone Lightning goal off assists from Cory Sarich and Brad Richards. The game's back breaking moment came when, on a Montreal power play with the Lightning down 2-1, two Canadiens collided in the Montreal zone allowing Brad Richards to walk in on a short handed breakaway which he failed to convert. Moments later Guillaume Latendresse nailed the coffin shut for the Lightning with a quick shot off a toe drag move on the left wing.
Certainly no need to panic. The Lightning outshot and outchanced the Canadiens throughout the game. There will always be a handful of nights throughout the season when the other team's netminder stands on his head. This was one of those.
Montreal 2:35, Sheldon Souray 7 (power play) (Saku Koivu, Mark Streit)
Tampa Bay 7:22, Vaclav Prospal 3 (Cory Sarich, Brad Richards)
Montreal 15:12, Sheldon Souray 8 (power play) (Andrei Markov, Michael Ryder)
Montreal 9:24, Guillaume Latendresse 4 (power play) (Sergei Samsonov, Alexei Kovalev)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Lightning just made a huge statement in the early season jockeying for divisional supremacy.
John Tortorella continues to ride with the hot hand as Johan Holmqvist stopped 27 of 30 shots for the win. The Lightning scored 4 unanswered goals to start the game and never looked back. Dan Boyle led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist and was named first star of the game. Nikita Alexeev and Brad Richards also had 1 goal and 1 assist while Martin St. Louis chipped in a pair of helpers. Richards and St. Louis were named second and third stars respectively. Ryan Craig and Vincent Lecavalier also had goals for the Lightning with individual helpers going to Paul Ranger, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal. The Lightning outshot the Thrashers 36-30 in the game.
I hope the national hockey media takes notice of what occured in this game. In their race to heap piles of praise upon the Thrashers and annoint them as Eastern Conference royalty, they seem to have forgotten that the Lightning, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, are the only battle tested teams in this division with hardware to prove it. With the victory, the Lightning are now 8 points behind Atlanta for the division lead, but it should be noted the team has 3 games in hand on their rivals from Georgia. I expect the race for the Southeast to get much tighter in the next month and then we'll see if Atlanta truly has the endurance for this kind of marathon. To this point of their franchise's existence, they have not.
Tampa Bay 17:55, Ryan Craig 6 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Paul Ranger)
Tampa Bay 4:58, Dan Boyle 1 (power play) (Filip Kuba, Vaclav Prospal)
Tampa Bay 12:26, Brad Richards 5 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 15:29, Vincent Lecavalier 10 (Nikita Alexeev, Martin St. Louis)
Atlanta 19:28, Marian Hossa 14 (power play) (Glen Metropolit, Slava Kozlov)
Atlanta 8:56, Marian Hossa 15 (Slava Kozlov, Shane Hnidy)
Tampa Bay 13:23, Nikita Alexeev 6 (power play) (Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis)
Atlanta 17:16, Steve Rucchin 3 (Slava Kozlov, Niclas Havelid)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
(Springfield Falcons release)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired center Daniel Corso from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for right wing Darren Reid, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Corso, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound native of Montreal, Quebec, has appeared in six games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League this season. He has scored two goals and recorded four assists with an even plus/minus rating in his first season with the Phantoms. He spent the 2005-06 season with the Frankfurt Lions, recording 11 goals and 17 assists in 29 games. Corso ranked fourth on the team in points and goals.
That Vinny/Marty magic.
Vincent Lecavalier scored the overtime game winning goal on a breakaway set up by an amazing no look two line pass by Martin St. Louis. St. Louis led the Lightning attack with 2 assists in the game. Dimitry Afanasenkov, Brad Richards, Eric Perrin and Lecavalier scored the goals. Alexeev, Kuba, Craig, Karlsson and Ranger supplied individual assists. Johan Holmqvist stopped 17 of 20 shots faced for the win.
Tonight's game wasn't pretty and the three goal flurry by Pittsburgh in the second period shows the Lightning still haven't figured out how to keep momentum from snowballing negatively after a goal against. Still, it seems like this road trip has cured a great deal of the Lightning's ills. When they started it with their uninspired win in Philadelphia they looked like a tired team that wasn't having fun. Combining Lecavalier and St. Louis on the same line on this trip has had electrifying results, and bit by bit Brad Richards is coming out of his early season slumber and he now has 4 goals this season. 17 points moves the Lightning into a tie for second in the division with the Canes, 10 points behind red hot Atlanta. Fortunately, with the unbalanced schedule, the Lightning will have plenty of opportunity to whittle that down if they can stay in the neighborhood in the standings, and the Lightning also have two games in hand. Critical game Saturday.
Fun with numbers: Vincent Lecavalier is on a pace for 46 goals and 108 points. Martin St. Louis is on a pace for 56 goals and 97 points. Brad Richards is on a pace for 21 goals and 67 points, but Richards is trending positively in the past couple of weeks. If he can get up to a 30 goal pace, and Vinny and Marty stay at or above a point a game with 40+ goal paces, the Lightning are going to reel off some massive winning streaks. Were it not for the shaft job they received in Boston, they would be in the midst of a 4 game streak right now.
Tampa Bay 10:12, Brad Richards 4 (power play) (Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba)
Pittsburgh 15:37, Nils Ekman 3 (Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar)
Pittsburgh 18:19, Nils Ekman 4 (power play) (Ryan Whitney, Sergei Gonchar)
Pittsburgh 19:47, Nils Ekman 5 (Sidney Crosby, Colby Armstrong)
Tampa Bay 4:47, Eric Perrin 3 (Ryan Craig, Andreas Karlsson)
Tampa Bay 2:41, Vincent Lecavalier 9 (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)
Game sheet from NHL.com.