Connolly, Brett

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.

NHL Game Night: 10-29-11 Jets at Lightning

Roli's baaaaaaack!

WPG-0
TB-1

Dwayne Roloson has officially pulled himself up off the canvas with a 28 save shutout.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB Lecavalier (5), (Stamkos, Brewer)(PP), 19:20

Third Period
NO SCORING

Roli and Vincent Lecavalier were the game's first and second stars. Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec got the third star, as he was the only thing keeping the Jets from utter annihilation for the first two periods before Roli slammed the door in the third.

Ryan Shannon, and not Ritola, was in the lineup for Blair Jones tonight, and performed pretty well, in my opinion.

And the third jerseys (and the black, and the celebration stripes) retain their unbeaten record this year...

Brett Connolly had 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:34. Diminished ice time with the score tight is the plight of the NHL rookie.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-27-11 Lightning at Predators

Defense/goaltending snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

TB-3
NSH-5

Mathieu Garon got lifted after allowing 5 goals on 17 shots for the loss. Dwayne Roloson stopped all 10 he faced the rest of the way. So, Garon's hot streak may be over, and hopefully Roli is refreshed from a few nights off.

First Period
NSH Kostitsyn (3), (Smith, Fisher), 6:25
NSH Fisher (1), (Kostitsyn, Smith), 14:05
TB Stamkos (5), (Purcell, Malone), 16:36
TB Purcell (3), (Connolly, Bergeron)(PP), 19:33

Second Period
NSH Hornqvist (1), (Halischuk, Geoffrion), 7:43
NSH Spaling (1), (Hillen, Blum), 11:20
NSH Fisher (2), (Spaling), 12:10

Third Period
TB Stamkos (6), (Bergeron, St. Louis), 17:03

Defensive zone coverage and turnovers continue to be an Achilles Heel. Offense continues to not be a problem, though, even with a fizzling power play. Heaven help the NHL if Boucher can get those items smoothed out. Lecavalier, Stamkos, and St. Louis all seem to be on their games, lately.

Brett Connolly had a helper and was -2 with 1 hit in 13:42.

Blair Jones was -2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 6:24. That's the kind of ugly stat line that gets Mattias Ritola back in the lineup.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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