Tampa Bay Lightning
All hail King Holmer.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 29 of 32 shots faced in overtime and regulation before stopping 2 of 2 in the shootout to remain a perfect 15 for 15 in the shootout this season. A bit of a softie on the Richardson goal tonight, but Holmqvist made up for it on several stops tonight. This was not necessarily a game the Lightning deserved to win, but as road warriors they've been finding ways to grind out two points out of these games lately. The win is the Lightning's sixth straight road win which is a new team record.
Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each had a goal and an assist to lead the Lightning offensively. Ruslan Fedotenko had the other Lightning goal (and played great tonight) and Ryan Craig, Dan Boyle, Andreas Karlsson, Paul Ranger and Filip Kuba added individual helpers. Lecavalier and Brad Richards (who also played great tonight) had the Lightning's shootout talleys.
For anyone wondering, Blair Jones played just 4 shifts tonight for 2:36 of ice time. He had 1 blocked shot and was 2-for-2 on faceoffs. His last three shifts he must've been in stealth mode, because his first period shift was the only time I saw him all night.
The win, coupled with a Carolina loss against Toronto tonight, moves the Lightning within 2 points of second place in the Southeast Division with a game in hand and the Hurricanes on the slate for Thursday night. The team also maintains pace with Atlanta 10 points back of the division lead with 1 game in hand on the Thrashers and 2 head-to-head matchups remaining on the schedule. The Lightning can almost certainly make a run at this, especially with the bottomfeeding Panthers on the schedule 5 more times.
Tampa Bay 6:32, Martin St. Louis 31 (power play) (Ryan Craig, Dan Boyle)
Philadelphia 7:23, Mike Richards 2 (shorthanded) (Alexei Zhitnik, Joni Pitkanen)
Philadelphia 18:49, Jeff Carter 7 (shorthanded) (Simon Gagne, Denis Gauthier)
Tampa Bay 19:24, Ruslan Fedotenko 11 (power play) (Andreas Karlsson, Paul Ranger)
Philadelphia 3:13, Peter Forsberg 9 (Joni Pitkanen)
Tampa Bay 12:06, Vincent Lecavalier 31 (Filip Kuba, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay: Lecavalier, Richards
Game sheet from NHL.com.
According to the press release, Jones, 6-foot-3, 210-pounds, has played in 45 games for the Falcons this season. He has scored five goals and recorded 21 points. He played in two games with the Lightning during the 2006 preseason and logged nearly 10 minutes of ice time in each game while landing two hits, recording one takeaway and blocking three shots.
He has already played six games with the Lightning this season. He appeared in his first NHL game November 20 at Buffalo and logged nearly 10 minutes of ice time. He recorded his first career point with an assist on the game winner on November 22 at Florida. He has two assists this season with Tampa Bay.
Well, the Lightning organization was 0-2 against the Devils organization tonight.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 24 shots faced in the loss. Martin Brodeur stood on his head at times during a brilliant 28 save shutout performance to get the win.
New Jersey 19:09, Brian Gionta 22 (Scott Gomez, Patrik Elias)
New Jersey 19:17, Jay Pandolfo 7 (empty net) (Sergei Brylin, John Madden)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Eastern Conference YoungStars defeated their Western Conference counterparts 9-8 tonight. Lightning defenseman and Bolt Prospects alumni Paul Ranger did well in the game with 1 goal and 2 assists. Ranger was +1 with 1 shot on goal in 10:42 of ice time.
And the road warriors keep rolling...
Marc Denis stopped 30 of 35 before stopping 4 of 4 shooters for the extra extra session win. It wasn't pretty, but with the chips down Denis got it done. Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis each had 1 goal and 2 assists in the win. YoungStar Paul Ranger added 1 goal and 1 assist and Doug Janik (AKA Secret Weapon 3) had 2 assists. Vincent Lecavalier and Filip Kuba had the Lightning's other goals with Kuba's being a smoking slap shot on the rush to tie the game with 2:54 left in regulation. Nikita Alexeev and Eric Perrin had individual helpers.
If you look up "sore losers" in the dictionary, you might spot the Carolina press corps. Denying Prospal a three stars selection on a night when he had 3 points? Ridiculous. Giving first star to a guy who had a couple of goals bounce in off of him? More so.
I wish there wasn't an All-Star Break at all, because this Lightning team is rolling like a battle hardened war machine right now. To go into Buffalo, New Jersey and now defending champion Carolina and grind out 2 points in hostile road environments should make the league take notice. The Lightning appear done messing around this season. The character of a real contender is starting to show. Now they just need Feaster to pull the trigger on one or two more trades to get them the reinforcements to put this team over the top. The Lightning now move 2 points behind Carolina for 2nd place in the division and remain 8 points back of Atlanta. Lurking. Waiting for the Smirkin' Chikins to slip. The Lightning have also opened a 4 point gap on a gaggle of teams in 8th place and are within 5 points of 4th place Montreal for a little first round home ice.
Carolina 5:32, Eric Staal 21 (power play) (Scott Walker, Andrew Hutchinson)
Tampa Bay 6:51, Vaclav Prospal 8 (Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle)
Carolina 18:23, Eric Staal 22 (Scott Walker, Anton Babchuk)
Carolina 0:34, Ray Whitney 19 (Dennis Seidenberg, Justin Williams)
Tampa Bay 3:22, Vincent Lecavalier 30 (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)
Carolina 7:35, Andrew Ladd 4 (Anton Babchuk, Justin Williams)
Tampa Bay 8:06, Paul Ranger 2 (Nikita Alexeev, Eric Perrin)
Tampa Bay 12:02, Martin St. Louis 30 (Vaclav Prospal, Doug Janik)
Carolina 9:31, Scott Walker 16 (Andrew Hutchinson, Andrew Ladd)
Tampa Bay 17:06, Filip Kuba 8 (Vaclav Prospal, Doug Janik)
Game sheet from NHL.com.