No Marchessault? No problem.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. Syracuse is off until next Friday now, and in the absence of anymore games this weekend the logical conclusion is that Vasilevskiy will find his way back up to Tampa Bay pretty soon with Gudlevskis coming back down by Friday's contest. We'll see if that's how it pans out. 2-0 with a 1.04 GAA and a .965 save percentage is a pretty nice conditioning stint for a goaltender, from where I sit.
HER Gazley, (2) (Bowey), 2:46
SYR Taormina, (2) (Gourde, Tambellini), 11:36 (PP)
SYR DeAngelo, (3) (Peca, Taormina), 11:52
SYR Tambellini, (3) (Taormina), 2:28
SYR Blunden, (3) (Blujus, DeAngelo), 6:43 (PP)
Don't look now, but Anthony DeAngelo's got 7 points in his first 8 pro games. He's also averaging over 3 SOG's a game, which is symptomatic of fancy stat magic, from what I understand. Will his offensive game immediately translate from junior to pro? It appears so. Tonight was his first multi-point game with the Crunch.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory.
SYR DeAngelo, (2) (Angelidis, Ikonen), 6:56 GIF
SYR Taormina, (1) (Marchessault, Tambellini), 15:31 GIF
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Anthony DeAngelo picked up the loose puck, swooped down the edge of the right wing circle, and picked his spot over the goalie’s glove.
The Syracuse defenseman’s first professional goal during the third period Sunday in Rochester sent the game to overtime and secured a point in the standings for the Crunch. Six games into his rookie season, DeAngelo is showing he can chip in on the scoresheet, but is working on improving his defensive game to take the next step to the National Hockey League.
“It was a little bit of a broken offensive play, but he gathered the puck around the half wall and was patient enough with it to wait and allow their defense to bite a little before he took the shot,” said Syracuse Head Coach Rob Zettler. “He got himself into the prime scoring area, and it was a helluva shot. It went short side high and it was a big goal for us.”
Tough weekend ends with SO loss.
Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 40 shots but allowed both shooters to light the lamp in the penalty shot session for the SO loss. With news coming down today that Kevin Poulin cleared waivers, a provocative question about where Wilcox will be getting starts in the near future begs asking. Vasilevskiy will soon be back with Tampa Bay, pushing Gudlevskis back down to Syracuse and potentially making the best move for the organization finding Wilcox a place to get a starting role in the ECHL. He needs playing time to develop, and I don't see that happening as quickly with sparing appearances in a crowded crease situation in Syracuse.
RCH Varone, (2) (Donovan), 8:41 (PP) GIF
Anthony DeAngelo scored his first AHL goal in the loss and was named the game's third star. Through six games the rookie has a respectable 1 goal and 4 points with a -1 rating.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Tambellini leads the way.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win. He was good tonight, and Syracuse needed him to be. As always, the question with Gudlevskis is going to be one of consistency and whether he can keep performing at the level he has through the first couple of games.
SYR Tambellini, (1) (Erne, Blujus), 0:16
BNG Schneider, (1) , 4:58 (SH)
SYR Tambellini, (2) (DeAngelo, Blunden), 17:43
Jeff Tambellini and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Crunch hang on for opening night win.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the victory. He didn't have a ton of work in the first half of the game, but made a handful of key stops at key moments in the second half of the contest to preserve the win, including a big glove stop at the end of the Third Period.
Click on any of the goals listed to see a GIF of the play.
LV Martel, (1) (Conner, Cousins), 16:31
It was kind of a tale of two games tonight, with Syracuse looking dominant in the first part of the game, only allowing the Phantoms chances on the odd unforced turnover and on the man advantage. They established a 4-1 lead in the Second Period and it had the look of a laugher, but they allowed Lehigh Valley to stick around and eventually spent the bulk of the Third Period protecting the dreaded 2 goal lead. They had a handful of very good forechecking shifts in the final frame to take some of the pressure off, but in the end it was a lot closer than it should have been.
Snap decision on this iteration of the Crunch is that they're very similar to last year's edition. Not surprising. They have decent speed but didn't look terribly threatening off the rush. Their bread and butter is still going to be the cycle and manufacturing those greasy goals, punctuated by the occasional laser beam from Marchessault (who was lethal tonight from the slot). With only one PP opportunity on the night, it's too early to judge if their extra man unit will be better than the travesty they called a power play last season.
As for the key newcomers, I thought Matthew Peca played a nice, responsible two-way game. He wasn't able to flash on the rush as I'd have expected, but I'm sure that'll come. Anthony DeAngelo got a helper for his first AHL point, but didn't get a chance to flash his offensive skill much in the game. Defensively, he reminds me a bit of Paul Ranger when Ranger was a rookie pro. That is to say, he's in the right zip code positionally, and even though he's not in perfect spots he's mobile enough to close the gap quickly. If he's anything like Ranger, he'll get sharper in that aspect as time goes on. Adam Erne had one very poor tripping penalty, but also showed a lot of the qualities that make him a valued prospect. He hits to hurt and he was very good on the cycle and on the forecheck in the Third Period as Syracuse was nursing the lead.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
All is right with the world...
Ben Bishop stopped all 18 shots he faced for the win before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots the rest of the way. My going theory on the backup job the first two months of the regular season is this: the Lightning would be perfectly comfortable signing Ray Emery, but they'd really prefer to give Gudlevskis the gig. A solid performance like that is very helpful to Gudlevskis' cause.
12:29 TB Kucherov (1), (Peca, Namestnikov)
1:45 TB Condra (1), (Boyle, Erne)
10:59 TB Peca (1), (Callahan, Namestnikov)
12:26 TB Kucherov (2), (Drouin, Stamkos)
9:05 FLA Trocheck (1), (Pirri, Jokinen)(PP)
The Lightning may only be 1-1-1 through 3 games of the preseason, but I think the organization has to be pretty elated with everything so far, on balance. Emery and Gudlevskis have both played pretty well in their half game auditions and Wilcox showed potential. The younger guys you would hope will step up in Tampa Bay this coming season (Drouin, Namestnikov, Brown, etc.) have all played pretty well. Condra's seemingly fitting in seamlessly in that lower line equation. Key performers who will be counted on to step up for Syracuse this year like Peca are playing well and the wave of young defensemen who will probably start making their way to Tampa the second half of the year like Koekkoek, DeAngelo, Blujus, and Dotchin have all been pretty solid. Other than Sustr's performance in the second preseason game, I'd say the Lightning have checked off a lot on their to-do list thus far.
Mike Angelidis had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot and was 40% on 10 draws in 11:46.
Anthony DeAngelo had 2 penalty minutes in 18:26.
Slater Koekkoek was +3 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 18:21. He'll be in Tampa Bay by the playoff stretch of the season at the latest, in my opinion.
Joel Vermin had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 13:48.
Jake Dotchin was +3 with 2 shots in 18:46.
Peca had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 in 14:09. He also had 3 shots and was perfect on the 2 draws he took. It's an interesting question we've had among the Bolt Prospects staff when it comes to Peca: just how good will he be? I think our minimum expectation, based on his body of work at Quinnipiac, is that he'll be an AHL star (call it the Cory Conacher level), but will he go beyond it to become a smallish NHL star (the Tyler Johnson level)? Only time will tell, but he's had a strong start to this season, which is great to see.
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 11:43.
Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot in 13:25.
Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, and 3 hits in 19:41. Team high in shots. Wish I could inject that gene in one or two other Lightning players every season.
Strong 55 minutes of hockey marred by late game collapse.
Ray Emery stopped all 10 shots he faced before giving way to Adam Wilcox midway through regulation. Wilcox played well for 25 minutes before eventually allowing 3 goals for the OT loss. He stopped 14 of 17 overall on the night. Emery's performance lays down a strong initial claim to the role of Bishop's backup heading into the regular season with Vasilevskiy shelved the first couple of months of the campaign.
2:58 TB Condra (1), (Angelidis, DeAngelo)
1:01 TB Drouin (1), (Killorn, Hedman)
15:18 NSH Bass (1), (Bourque, Jones)
17:28 NSH Arvidsson (1), (Fiala)
3:50 NSH Ekholm (1), (Forsberg, Ellis)(PP)
Brayden Point was the game's second star.
Unfortunately, the last 9 minutes or so of hockey kind of overshadowed 55 minutes of hockey where the Lightning accomplished most of what they set out to do tonight. They got good performances from the backup goaltenders. They got Drouin on track early in preseason. They got some good performances from the young players, especially the young defensemen. I think the staff will be happy with the night, on balance, but you want to finish it off and get the result, of course.
Anthony DeAngelo had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 21:03. They let their young thoroughbreds out for a good long run tonight.
Mike Angelidis had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 3 blocked shots in 11:37. He was also 67% on draws. Productive in his ice time, but that IT was limited because the Lightning know what they have there and the role he's going to be put into. Not a lot of mystery with Angelidis.
Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 hit and 5 blocked shots in 18:17.
Point was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:03. He was also a very nice 71% on draws. The guy has just gotten universal praise by everyone who has seen him in the last half a year or so.
Joel Vermin had 1 blocked shot in 13:55.
Henri Ikonen had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:35.
Mitchell Stephens was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 14:11. It says a lot that they gave him a touch more IT than some of the more established prospects who were in Syracuse last season. They obviously have high hopes for Stephens.
Dylan Blujus had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 19:30. Also hit a crossbar. Nice, well-rounded stat line. Good to see, with a nice chunk of minutes.
Adam Erne was -1 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 14:40. Activity is good. Syracuse fans should be excited to get DeAngelo and Erne into the program this season.
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.