Connolly, Brett

NHL Game Night: 11-12-11 Lightning at Blues

Simultaneously frustrating and embarrassing.

TB-0
STL-3

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the loss.

First Period
STL Russell (3), (Grachev, Polak), 18:51

Second Period
STL Shattenkirk (2), (Steen, Langenbrunner), 19:54

Third Period
STL Oshie (5), (Backes)(SH), 6:26

Yuck. The Lightning only managed 18 shots on goal because they didn't have the puck all game long. There was no forecheck and no flow. The passing was off. They had no jump. That was really hard to watch. They just got whipped tonight. That was textbook.

Brett Connolly was -1 with 3 shots in 12:50.

Blair Jones was -1 with 2 hits in 6:46. We've always been big boosters of Blair on this site, but at some point he needs to be a little more than just a plumber. He's got something to give offensively, but it hasn't shown in the past few games. At all.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-6-11 Lightning at Panthers

Can you imagine how good this team would be if they'd play 60 minutes?

TB-4
FLA-3 (SO)

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 12 shots before being lifted for Dwayne Roloson. Roloson bailed him out stopping all 28 shots he faced and all 4 shooters in the penalty shot session for the shootout win.

First Period
FLA Campbell (1), (Versteeg, Fleischmann)(PP), 1:49
FLA Kopecky (2), (Skille, Weaver), 13:05
FLA Santorelli (1), (Kulikov), 15:21

Second Period
TB Malone (4), (Stamkos, Brewer)(PP), 16:20
TB Stamkos (10), (Gilroy, St. Louis), 17:46

Third Period
TB Purcell (5), (Downie, Brewer), 8:11

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Moore
FLA- NONE

Roloson, Steven Stamkos, and Teddy Purcell were the game's three stars.

My three stars would've included Steve Downie, who had the tying goal Kontos'ed from him by Teddy Purcell, and Matt Gilroy, who swooped into the zone late in the second period and then dished the perfect saucer to Stamkos to get the deficit down to 1 goal heading into the final frame.

For those who like to complain about Victor Hedman, I'll refer you to that first period as an example of why you should appreciate the young man. It took 20 minutes for the Lightning to adjust to playing without their bell cow on the backline.

I wish this team would figure out how to play a full 60 minute game. This 30-40 minutes of effort schtick is not going to keep getting them W's. The flat first periods have to stop.

We'll have to see about any potential long-term implications that come from Ryan Malone's injury tonight. The Lightning are off until Wednesday, so I suspect he'll be back, but if not: Carter Ashton?

Brett Connolly had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:37. He showed really good speed cranking up a 3/4 ice rush that ended up in a wraparound attempt in the third period. It'll be interesting to see that part of his game develop where he carries it more.

Blair Jones had 1 hit in 6:41. He's like an awful cacophony of legs and arms that couldn't avoid hitting you on the forecheck if he tried.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-4-11 Blackhawks at Lightning

Big win. Big, big win.

CHI-4
TB-5 (OT)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the victory. The stat line isn't a beauty, but his first period was superlative to give the Lightning a chance.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB Stamkos (7), (Malone, Bergeron), 0:15
CHI Sharp (4), (Toews, Kane)(PP), 1:05
TB Connolly (2), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 4:55
CHI Hossa (7), (Kane, Montador), 6:17
CHI Carcillo (1), (unassisted), 7:10
CHI Sharp (5), (Kane, Hossa), 7:22
TB Stamkos (8), (Purcell), 11:45
TB Stamkos (9), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 19:27

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
TB Lecavalier (6), (St. Louis, Bergeron), 4:06

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were the game's first and second stars.

What a roller coaster. Chicago should be considered a legitimate contender to come out of the West this year, and they looked like they totally outclassed the Lightning in the first period in terms of speed and puck possession. It was a bit of a clinic, with the saving grace being Dwayne Roloson's play.

The Lightning started to take some baby steps in the second period, getting a couple of 1 goal leads, but then you had some mistakes, particularly a M.A. Bergeron turnover at the point that led to Daniel Carcillo's breakaway goal. 3 goals very quickly by Chicago and the Lightning looked like dead meat. Then Steven Stamkos reminded the NHL why he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Crosby and Ovechkin. He bodied a defender to force a turnover that led to his second goal, and then Marty St. Louis made a magical read and pass to set Stammer for an easy one-timer goal for the hat trick. Stammer was absolutely dominant in the third period, too, and could've had 6-7 goals with a little luck. Amazing. The Hawks should be glad he got drafted by an Eastern Conference team because he absolutely owns Chicago when he plays them.

It was a strong third period on the forecheck for the Lightning, with just a few scary moments against Chicago's top line. And then, in overtime, M.A. Bergeron redeemed himself with a great play to steal the puck in the offensive zone, roll over his wrists on a tough pass that Marty St. Louis made a great pick on, and then the easy 2 on 1 conversion down low by Lecavalier. That play was like stealing.

The game, as a whole, is not something you want to do every night. The defensive sloppiness and a 3 quick goal scenario is something that can't keep happening. But, when you have your best player show how dominant he can be and when you defeat a team that is a legitimate Cup contender, that works wonders for a team's confidence. It certainly feels better than sitting at .500 after getting fed their helmets by the Canes.

Brett Connolly had a goal and 2 penalty minutes with 2 shots in 13:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Prospect of the Month (October)

Bolt Prospects would like to acknowledge one monster who has been mashing his way all through October. Some Bolt Prospects readers felt tricked this past week when we didn't name this prospect the Player of the Week, but we were holding a treat in reserve. True, there were several worthy honorable mentions who scared up some excitement along the way. There was the wolf man, Brett Connolly, who came out of nowhere to crack the Lightning's NHL roster. There was the evil genius, Mark Barberio, and his stylish 2 goals and 11 points in 10 games. And, there was the leprechaun, Matthew Peca, who got his own pot o' gold today when he was named the ECAC's Rookie of the Month.

But the nail in the coffin came when the AHL gave a certain power forward (sort of a pale Incredible Hulk) a minor award (hardly worth mention in the same breath as Bolt Prospects' Prospect of the Month).

NHL Game Night: 11-1-11 Lightning at Hurricanes

You usually don't win if you only show up for 20 out of 60 minutes.

TB-2
CAR-4

Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 31 shots in the loss. The Lightning would have had zero prayer without his efforts tonight. None.

First Period
TB Purcell (4), (Bergeron, Malone), 15:14
CAR Larose (2), (Harrison, Ponikarovsky)(PP), 18:21

Second Period
CAR Skinner (5), (Pitkanen), 0:22
CAR Skinner (6), (Jokinen), 10:38

Third Period
TB Connolly (1), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 14:16
CAR Larose (3), (Tlusty), 15:10

The Lightning were down 27-17 in shots after 40 minutes before they decided to apply the proper effort on the forecheck. They outshot Carolina 13-4 the rest of the way, and got the game back within 1 goal momentarily, but it takes a 60 minute effort to succeed.

Brett Connolly had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 13:50. Congratulations.

Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 8:47.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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