Tampa Bay Lightning
The Good News = Lightning move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division
The Bad News = Tampa Bay fails to get both points, and possible injuries to Ranger and Fedotenko.
Tampa Bay-4 (Overtime)
With Atlanta's loss in Ottawa this afternoon, the Lightning needed just one point to move into a first place tie with the Thrashers. The held on for the point, but fell in overtime in South Florida 5-4 to the Panthers. Tampa now leads the division by tiebreaker with 69 points and hold the No.3 seed. Atlanta also has 69 and the Hurricanes, who won tonight in Montreal, are 2 back at 67. The Lightning has a game in hand on both division rivals.
The Panthers won their first game in extra time this year and move to 57 points, 2 ahead of Washington for 13th place in the conference. They are 9 points out of a playoff spot.
Back to the game â€¦ Johan Holmqvist struggled at times in net for Tampa, stopping 25 of 30 shots. The Lightning only put up 20 shots on Ed Belfour, including just 3 in the final period. Part of the reason for the low shot total was the absolutely horrific ice conditions that both teams battled. No less than three goals were the direct or indirect result of the puck jumping over or off of a stick. With 6 minutes left in the third period, the teams had combined for 5 shots and what seemed like 2 dozen giveaways. It was awful to watch, but both teams had to deal with it.
The â€œLightnings,â€ as they were referred to by Panthers analyst Denis Potvin at one point, got goals from Martin St. Louis (2), Dan Boyle, and Eric Perrin. Assists were compiled by Vaclav Prospal (2), Vincent Lecavalier (2), Boyle, Perrin, and Brad Richards.
Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a thigh or knee injury when he was hit by Bryan Allenâ€™s raised knee late in the third. No penalty was called on the play. Paul Ranger also left the game with an injury, but the Panthers broadcast never addressed it. They were too busy fawning over Allenâ€™s hit on Fedotenko.
Blair Jones was a scratch for the Lightning and Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune speculates he could be sent back to Springfield on Monday.
Florida 1:47, Ruslan Salei 6 (power play) (unassisted)
Florida 4:02, Stephen Weiss 12 (Nathan Horton, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 6:09, Martin St. Louis 34 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 11:03, Eric Perrin 10 (Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 16:28, Martin St. Louis 35 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Florida 6:48, Bryan Allen 2 (Stephen Weiss, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 11:11, Dan Boyle 13 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Vaclav Prospal)
Florida 11:28, Ville Peltonen 10 (power play) (Olli Jokinen, Steve Montador)
Florida 0:29, Nathan Horton 19 (Jay Bouwmeester, Stephen Weiss)
Gamesheet from NHL.com
The Lightning made up one of the two games in hand they had on Southeast Division leading Atlanta and took a somewhat difficult two points from Washington with a 3-2 shootout win. The Lightning pulled within just one point of the Thrashers. The Bolts improved to 8-1 on the year in the shootout, making me a fan of it for as long as this continues.
Marc Denis got a rare start in net and flashed a little glove and little attitude in stopping 36 shots in regulation and overtime and all three shootout attempts to get the win. After making an rubber-arm glove save on Alexander Ovechkin in the third, Denis turned his head and glared at the superstar.
Vincent Lecavalier increased his league-leading goal total to 39 with both of Tampa Bayâ€™s goals in regulation (one PPG, one SHG). Martin St. Louis had the shootout winner as the third shooter for the Lightning. Denis had to make a Hasek-like sprawling save on a deking Matt Pettinger to secure the win. Kudos to Denisâ€™ armpit for that one. Assists on the night went to Dan Boyle, who became the all-time Lightning leader in points for a defenseman, Brad Richards, and St. Louis.
Kudos to Sun Sportsâ€™ Rick Peckham for pointing out Washingtonâ€™s Eric Fehr is the former linemate of Ryan Craig from their WHL days in Brandon. Those guys, along with the Predators' Jordin Tootoo, were dynamite for the Wheat Kings. The Caps also featured Jeff Shultz, a former Calgary Hitmen teammate of Springfieldâ€™s Mike Egener. Shultz was taken in the late first round of the 2004 draft; Egener at the top of the second round in 2003.
Washington 9:07, Alexander Semin 30 (power play) (Dainius Zubrus)
Tampa Bay 2:44, Vincent Lecavalier 38 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 7:05, Vincent Lecavalier 39 (shorthanded) (Martin St. Louis)
Washington 19:45, Dainius Zubrus 20 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay misses: Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards
Tampa Bay goals: Martin St. Louis
Washington misses: Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Pettinger
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Lion= Lightning, Antelope=Thrashers
Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 26 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist while Martin St. Louis had 1 goal and 2 assists. The other member of the MVP Line, Vaclav Prospal, had helpers in triplicate. Brad Richards dropped 1 goal and 1 assist including a salty game winning slap shot on the power play and Ruslan Fedotenko had a pair of assists. The Lightning's insurance goal came from Eric Perrin and Paul Ranger chipped in 1 assist.
The Lightning temporarily move within 3 points of division leading Atlanta while the Thrashers are playing on the road tonight in Calgary. A little over midway through the game at the Saddledome, Atlanta is down 3-1. If the score holds, the Lightning will not only have shaved a once commanding division lead down to 3 points but they'll still also hold 2 critical games in hand.
Tampa Bay 5:56, Vincent Lecavalier 36 (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 7:52, Martin St. Louis 33 (Vincent Lecavalier, Vaclav Prospal)
Phoenix 8:18, Mike Zigomanis 10 (Oleg Saprykin, Georges Laraque)
Phoenix 11:48, Oleg Saprykin 11 (Keith Ballard, Mike Zigomanis)
Tampa Bay 15:19, Vincent Lecavalier 37 (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)
Phoenix 18:16, Derek Morris 4 (Travis Roche, Shane Doan)
Tampa Bay 1:24, Brad Richards 20 (power play) (Ruslan Fedotenko, Vaclav Prospal)
Tampa Bay 11:45, Eric Perrin 9 (Ruslan Fedotenko, Brad Richards)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
For anyone who felt the urge to hurl themselves head first off the bandwagon after one bad game in New York, no worries. Your seat was saved.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 21 of 22 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier, who any other year would be a runaway favorite for MVP except for the rise of Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby, paced the Lightning with 1 goal and 2 assists. Vaclav Prospal added 1 goal and 1 assist and Brad Richards had a pair of helpers. The other Lightning goals came from The Secret Weapon, Nick Tarnasky and The Most Underrated Star in the NHL, Dan Boyle. Martin St. Louis, Cory Sarich and Doug Janik added individual assists.
The win temporarily closed the Lightning within 5 points of Atlanta for the division lead with Atlanta slated to play Edmonton late out west. If there's one benefit to posting a game recap late, it's that I get to include that Atlanta is losing to the Oilers 4-1 after two periods. So, barring an incredible comeback by the Thrashers, the Lightning will not only have closed the gap to 5 points but they will hold 2 games in hand and they still have two head to head matchups with Atlanta still on the schedule. The division is within the Lightning's reach, so long as they continue to play well and keep one eye on Atlanta and one eye on Carolina which is also running the Thrashers down.
New Jersey 2:12, Scott Gomez 10 (power play) (Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner)
Tampa Bay 0:44, Vaclav Prospal 9 (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 17:24, Nick Tarnasky 3 (Brad Richards, Cory Sarich)
Tampa Bay 18:12, Vincent Lecavalier 35 (Vaclav Prospal, Doug Janik)
Tampa Bay 0:56, Dan Boyle 12 (power play) (Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
After winning 7 straight on the road, I suppose they were due for a stinker.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 16 shots before being pulled in the loss. It wasn't under the best of circumstances, obviously, but tonight was Holmqvist's 30th decision of the season which graduated him by site criteria. Holmqvist has been moved to the Bolt Prospects Alumni section on the Prospects page.
Kudos to Ryan Craig for defending Blair Jones after Ryan Hollweg decided to try to knee the rookie. Craig is a man. The Lightning fail to keep pace with Atlanta and are now 7 points behind Atlanta, but still hold a game in hand.
NY Rangers 4:28, Colton Orr 1 (Fedor Tyutin, Blair Betts)
NY Rangers 11:32, Marcel Hossa 4 (Michal Rozsival, Martin Straka)
NY Rangers 8:28, Ryan Hollweg 1 (Jaromir Jagr)
NY Rangers 14:25, Sean Avery 11 (Michael Nylander, Brendan Shanahan)
NY Rangers 3:32, Jaromir Jagr 21 (Martin Straka)
Game sheet from NHL.com.