Connolly, Brett

NHL Game Night: 10-10-11 Lightning at Capitals

Didn't even deserve a point.

TB-5
WSH 6 (SO)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 5 goals on 43 shots before he allowed 2 of 3 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. Honestly, though, without Roli the Lightning lose 10-5 in this game as terrible as they played.

First Period
TB Purcell (1), (Gervais), 2:22
WSH Johansson (1), (Alzner), 4:49
TB Gervais (1), (Bergeron, Downie), 8:35
WSH Wideman (1), (Halpern, Perrault), 16:50

Second Period
TB Moore (1), (Shannon, Connolly), 00:56
WSH Brouwer (1), (Schultz, Johansson), 3:42

Third Period
WSH Chimera (1), (Laich, Ward), 4:00
TB Thompson (1), (Clark, Moore), 7:42
TB Clark (1), (Malone, Purcell), 12:56
WSH Chimera (2), (unassisted), 17:16

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WSH- Hendricks, Semin
TB- NONE

Dominic Moore was the game's third star. Probably a bit tongue and cheek by the Washington media considering he assisted on Chimera's tying goal with a terrible clear attempt. That was the last of a rash of bad turnovers the likes of which I haven't seen in a while. Veterans were doing it: Moore (2), Kubina (2), St. Louis (1). Rookies were doing it: Connolly (2). It was awful. And, when you couple that with the Lightning simply not winning puck battles, you get a game where the Lightning were outshot 43-28. Were it not for Tomas Vokoun being positively horrible on three soft goals, they'd have had no shot.

Brett Connolly had his first NHL point on an assist and was +1 with 1 hit in 12:46. The stat line may be good, but the game film was terrible. He had two bad turnovers, he was soft along the wall, and he just wasn't as offensively dynamic as he was against the Bruins. That's the kind of tape that gets you demoted.

Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 6:36, and he was largely ineffective.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-8-11 Lightning at Bruins

Not quite ready for prime time, yet.

TB-1
BOS-4

Mathieu Garon allowed 4 goals on 42 shots for the loss. I thought he kept the Lightning alive in the game longer than they probably deserved. The winning goal was a little weak, but he only got 1 goal of support.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
BOS Peverley (1), (Marchand, Boychuk), 2:04
TB St. Louis (2), (Malone, Lecavalier), 3:20
BOS Paille (1), (McQuaid, Seguin), 4:58

Third Period
BOS Krejci (1), (Lucic, Seguin), 3:07
BOS Peverley (2), (Bergeron, Marchand), 8:43

The shot board says it all: Boston 42, Tampa Bay 26. The Lightning looked stiff and slow. They were poor in puck pursuit and on the odd occasion they were in position to compete for a loose puck they lost battles. Hopefully, this kind of result makes the Lightning realize their energy level must be higher. No one's going to concede wins to this team, and certainly not the defending champs.

Brett Connolly had 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 15:38. It was a mixed bag tonight. The young man has world class vision when he has the puck. He had a few slick setups tonight and almost snuck a goal past Tim Thomas five-hole for a score in the first period. On the other side of the coin, he was caught reaching in puck pursuit a couple of times and was thrown in the sin bin accordingly. Body positioning and knowing when to move your feet to stay in the play to be able to compete for the puck are things he needs to learn. When you're a stick length behind a guy and reaching, it's an obvious call for the ref to make.

Box score from yahoo.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-7-11 Lightning at Hurricanes

The 2011-2012 regular season begins just as the 2010-2011 regular season ended. Tears for Hurricanes fans.

TB-5
CAR-1

Dwayne Roloson made 32 saves for the victory. He took care of business.

First Period
CAR Skinner,(1)(Gleason, Ruutu), 8:07

Second Period
TB St. Louis, (1)(Stamkos), 5:19
TB Lecavalier, (1)(Stamkos, St. Louis), 17:50 (PP)

Third Period
TB Downie, (1)(Bergeron, Shannon), 12:22 (PP)
TB Hall, (1)(Thompson, Jones), 12:32
TB Malone, (1)(Purcell, Brewer), 16:58

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

That's how an elite team handles its business on opening night. Carolina has a young team with a lot of enthusiasm and they came out hard in the first period, and the Lightning just stomped the living daylights out of them in the final 40 minutes. That's what contenders do to borderline, mediocre teams.

Beautiful hand-eye coordination by Vincent Lecavalier on his power play goal. Stammer-esque, dare we say?

You have to love how just about everyone on the team got to drink from the well of prosperity in this one. When you get not just the top guys, but also the second tier of guys like Malone and Shannon and you even get the 4th liners some cookies too, that's how you build confidence up and down the lineup.

The despair of the Hurricane's announcing duo is still a sweet melody to my ears. Get ready for 81 more like that, boys.

Brett Connolly had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 14:20 in his NHL debut.

Blair Jones, who is the human victory cigar at Bolt Prospects, had a helper, 2 shots, and was +1 in 9:04. We're throwing a parade when he graduates from prospect status later this season. It's almost like a child's high school graduation for us, because sometimes it seems like we've been covering him for 17-18 years.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Prospect of the Week (10.2.11)

(Week ending October 2)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award. The award is (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or chocolate coins involved, but we’re fairly certain this will carry heavy weight among players in the global hockey community (we were able to find a picture of him with a trophy, however. Pretend it's from us.). Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-29-11 Lightning at Canadiens

Lightning looking strong for the start of the season, but still room for improvement.

TB-4
MTL-0

Dwayne Roloson stopped all 24 shots he faced. He looks sharp. Ready to go.

First Period
TB 9:15 Stamkos, (Gervais)
TB 11:51 Stamkos, (St. Louis, Gilroy)

Second Period
TB 16:43 Connolly, (St. Louis, Kubina)

Third Period
TB 18:49, Connolly, (Malone)

The game could've been a 6-0 final. Vincent Lecavalier had a soft goal by Peter Budaj taken off the board by a quick whistle and another play by Tom Pyatt that was likely a goal wasn't counted. Overall, it was a very strong effort by the forwards and goaltenders, but there's room for improvement on the backline. They looked a little sloppy in their own end turning the puck over on breakouts and there was a 10 minute period at the end of the first period they were living dangerously within the first 10 feet of their blueline in the Lightning zone. That's got to get cleaned up. The Canadiens hit a few posts tonight and Roloson was sharp. That won't always be the case, though. Boucher has things to harp about on this game tape.

The question of what to do with Brett Connolly is an interesting one. Bob McKenzie is saying he's likely to start the season with the Lightning and at least get a regular season audition, and it's hard to argue with that because he keeps scoring. That said, he doesn't pass the eyeball test, to me, when it comes to having NHL strength on the puck. I will say this, though, if he doesn't stick in Tampa this year he'll probably the Calder Trophy favorite going into next season.

The rest of the bubble forwards had a tougher time of it, in my opinion. Pyatt got a goal waved off so he was probably the best of the rest. Dana Tyrell skated really well but had some turnovers and stubbed his toe in some situations where he could've been more dangerous offensively. Blair Jones' slow first step really stood out in this game where there was a lot of flow. He hits everything that moves, and he's an honest player, but he looked like a SUV on a street full of sports cars tonight.

Mattias Ritola looks to be in and Connolly may get his NHL regular season audition and Pyatt is probably going to make it. Tyrell and Jones may not make it to the finish line, though.

Box score from NHL.com.

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