Ben Bishop stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout win. That's some U of Maine Justice right there for the Panthers. I think he's been off a little mechanically the past couple of games, either due to being banged up or being fatigued, but he's a battler and he battled his way to getting the goose egg tonight.
6:10 TB Stamkos (41), (Johnson, Nesterov)(PP)
11:19 TB Stamkos (42), (Callahan)
1:03 TB Callahan (24), (Stamkos)
18:13 TB Johnson (27), (Drouin)
There's so much good wrapped in this game, it's hard to make sure you hit all the high notes. From an in-game standpoint, the Lightning had 4 regular defensemen out of the lineup going against what should've been a desperate Panthers squad, and they managed to shut them out. Kudos to the young defensemen, and kudos to Coach Zettler and the staff in Syracuse. It's been fantastic to watch the sharp progress this season by Nesterov and the steady progress of the likes of Witkowski, Koekkoek, Blujus, and Dotchin. It's a really hard act following a guy who is arguably an all-time great AHL coach like Jon Cooper, but Zettler has shown some developmental mojo with these young defensemen and it makes you excited to see what he can accomplish working with a prospect like Anthony DeAngelo.
The Lightning also got a power play goal for the fourth straight game and Steven Stamkos snapped out of his funk with a vintage PP goal and a laser beam from the right wing faceoff dot. Stamkos needs to be Stamkos if the Lightning are going to do anything in the playoffs, and if he were to find his PP mojo, that alone could win the Lightning a playoff series or two they might not otherwise deserve.
From a standings standpoint, the Lightning clinched home ice in the first round of the playoffs and tied Montreal in the standings with the Habs holding a game in hand. The Lightning have the ROW tiebreaker, so all the pressure is on Montreal right now. The Lightning get 4 days to rest and heal now while Montreal has to keep getting points if they want to maintain control of their own destiny in the division title pursuit. If they lose a game, the Lightning may be able to get Hedman, Sustr, and Killorn back on the ice for the final 2 games at home with the real prospect of earning a banner in the balance.
Oh, and the Lightning eliminate the Panthers from playoff contention. It's never a bad thing to kick dirt on their grave, is it?
Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 16:19. This wasn't quite the same effort for Slater as against Ottawa, IMO, but it was still a solid performance for the rookie. If I was a Syracuse fan, I'd be very excited to see him in the playoffs because he's going to go back to the Crunch with a ton of confidence.
Luke Witkowski had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 15:34. Quiet is good.
Nikita Nesterov had a helper and was +2 with 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 21:18. There was a lot of gushing about Nesterov tonight and rightfully so. He ate big minutes and he changes the complexion of the Lightning power play with his shoot first mentality and ability to get pucks through and on net. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think he's essentially running Barberio out of town for next season. They're similar players, but Nesterov's ceiling seems so much higher and he's already shown himself to be just as good, if not better, in his own third.
Vladislav Namestnikov played 11:36. He had one memorable rush where he slithered into the Panthers zone, but it was a quiet night for Namestnikov with Tyler Johnson returning and pushing him down off the line with Palat and Kucherov. Tonight was Namestnikov's 41st game of the season, so he graduated from prospect status on the website. Congratulations, Baby Faced Killer.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Sherbrooke Phoenix 2 @ Gatineau Olympiques 1
C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 0-0-0, -1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG, 12/21 FO, 0 Hits
With Sherbrooke: 19 GP, 13-15-28, -2, 20 PIM
With Cape Breton: 19 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 14-28-42, -8, 34 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM
Darcy was held scoreless but Sherbrooke was able to eke out a road win against the club at the bottom of the West Division thanks to netminder Evan Fitzpatrick, who stopped 34 of 35 shots in the match.
Victoriaville Tigres 4 @ Quebec Remparts 9
W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-2-2, +1, 7 PIM, 4 SOG, 3/5 FO, 0 Hit
Season totals: 44 GP, 28-35-63, +16, 74 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM
Quebec followed up Friday night's win with a solid thumping of visiting Victoriaville. Erne was in on the action with a couple helpers wrapped around a bout with defenseman Phil Pietroniro.
Ontario Hockey League
North Bay Battalion 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (SO)
D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 1-0-1, +3, 7 PIM
With SSM: 9 GP, 3-12-15, +6, 17 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-40-53, +7, 81 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM
DeAngelo's point streak hit eight games with a first period marker that put the powerhouse that his club is up by three and he engaged in a round of fisticuffs that might very well have made some of the denizens of his hometown proud. It bears repeating that the Soo still hasn’t lost since DeAngelo (and others) were acquired at the OHL trade deadline.
Windsor Spitfires 2 @ Plymouth Whalers 3 (SO)
W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-1-1, +2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 42 GP, 15-17-32, -7, 83 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM
Windsor erased two deficits to push the game on into extra time only to fall in the skills competition. Scoreless in Windsor's last game, DiGiacinto provided a secondary dish that made for his fourth point in his last four games.
Ottawa 67's 4 @ Peterborough Petes 2
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Season totals: 37 GP, 7-13-20, -19, 57 PIM
2013-14 totals: 39 GP, 2-19-21, +6, 102 PIM
Masin's seven-game point streak and Peterborough's brief run came to a grinding halt against the 67's.
Western Hockey League
Brandon Wheat Kings 6 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 0
C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 5 PIM
Season totals: 39 GP, 21-33-54, +9, 32 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM
Point was reduced to denting the score sheet being credited with a fight -- his second of the season -- and that about tells you all you need to know for how things were going for Moose Jaw on the ice Saturday night.
Edmonton Oil Kings 0 @ Calgary Hitmen 5
D Ben Thomas, CAL: Did not play
Season totals: 39 GP, 5-16-21, +6, 18 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM
Thomas sat this one out but Calgary rolled anyway en route its sixth straight victory. In the past three games, the Hitmen have put up an eye-popping 23 goals while allowing just a single goal against.
USA 2 vs. Russia 3
Anthony DeAngelo, USA, 1-0-1, -1, 4 PIM, 6 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 2-1-3, -1, 4 PIM
Undrafted Sergei Tolchinski's Second Period goal turned out to be the winner as the experienced Russians defeated a youthful Team USA 3-2 to advance in the WJC's. Blues second rounder Ivan Barbashev also had a goal in the victory for the Russians. Anthony DeAngelo did his best to push the Americans through to the Semis with a power play goal and 6 shots on goal, but it wasn't enough. USA Hockey is left to ponder whether they'd have been better equipped to handle a team dotted with KHL-level players with one or two more experienced players like Adam Erne on the roster. DeAngelo also had a pair of minors for high sticking in the match.
Czech Republic 0 vs. Slovakia 3
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 0-1-1, -4, 2 PIM
Dominik Masin was on for all three goals against in Czech Republic's 3-0 loss to Slovakia. He also took a minor for hooking in the match. Undrafted Denis Godla stopped all 34 shots he faced for Slovakia for the shutout.
Canada 8 vs. Denmark 0
Brayden Point, Canada, 1-0-1, +4, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 2-1-3, +6, 2 PIM
Brayden Point help step into the void left by an injured Robby Fabbri and scored the 7th Canadian goal of their 8-0 rout of Denmark. Top 2015 prospect Connor McDavid had 1 goal and 3 points in the victory. Montreal 2nd rounder Zach Fucale had to stop just 14 for the shutout.
Canada 5 vs. USA 3
Anthony DeAngelo, USA, 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM
Brayden Point, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM
Anthony DeAngelo scored Team USA's first goal on the PP, but had a key turnover late in the game that led to an EN goal that turned out to be Canada's winner in their 5-3 victory in the last game of the round robin. Brayden Point watched the proceedings from the pine. Coyotes first rounder Max Domi led the way for Canada with 2 goals. Wings first rounder Dylan Larkin, obviously the revelation of the tournament, had 2 goals in defeat for the Americans.
Russia 1 vs. Czech Republic 4
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Dominik Masin had a helper on Czech Republic's early Third Period insurance goal in their 4-1 spanking of Russia. Undrafted Patrik Zdrahal had the goal and finished the contest with 2 goals to lead the Czechs. Blues 2nd rounder Ivan Barbashev had Russia's lone goal in defeat.
USA 3 vs. Slovakia 0
Anthony DeAngelo, USA, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Wings first rounder Dylan Larkin again led the way for Team USA with 1 goal and 1 assist in their 3-0 blanking of Slovakia. Canucks second rounder Thatcher Demko stopped all 17 shots he faced for USA's second consecutive shutout. Aside: don't read too much into Anthony DeAngelo's offensive production in the tournament. He's not playing the same role in the WJC's he does in the OHL, playing more of a defensive role and only seeing time on USA's second PP unit.
Finland 1 vs. Canada 4
Brayden Point, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM
Czech Republic 4 vs. Denmark 3 (OT)
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
It took an overtime marker by Bruins first rounder David Pastrnak for the Czech Republic to finally dispose of pesky Denmark 4-3. A pair of helpers by Jets first rounder Nikolaj Ehlers allowed the Danes to extend the game past regulation despite a steep shot disparity that reached 48 to 14 for the Czechs by the game's end. Note that Dominik Masin has been playing the net front role on the Czech power play in the tournament, setting screens and looking for deflections.