Admirals power play does its part to right the ship.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the win.
NOR Jones, (10) (Szczechura, Wright), 3:03
BRI Motherwell, (2) (Svendsen), 15:45
NOR Szczechura, (10) (Jones, Bergeron), 6:41 (PP)
BRI Haley, (11) (Figren, Katic), 9:14 (PP)
NOR Angelidis, (13) (Harju, Pouliot), 17:07 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (11) (Milam, Jones), 14:05 (PP)
NOR Marks, (3) (Milam, Durno), 17:41
Norfolk's power play was 3-for-4 on the night, and that's your hockey game, right there. Norfolk's win temporarily puts them back in a tie for second place in the division with Charlotte, with the Checkers tied 5-5 with Manchester late in the third period. Norfolk will hold 3 games in hand on Charlotte at the end of the night, regardless of the outcome. Hershey lurks three points back with two games in hand, and are up 2-0 late in the third against Adirondack.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Is it time for the Admirals to start bailing water out of the ship?
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 39 shots in the loss. He has to be wondering why all that goal support he was getting the first couple of months of the season has evaporated.
CHA Osala, (9) (Sutter, Terry), 11:16
CHA Blanchard, (3) (Samson, McNicoll), 10:49
NOR Pouliot, (10) , 14:52
Desjardins was named the second star of the game.
Norfolk is now 2-4-3-1 in their last 10 games. 2 regulation wins in 10 tries is pretty poor, no matter how you slice it. Their 138 goals are still the most in the league, but they've been held to 2 or fewer goals in 5 of their last 8 games. Unsurprisingly, they're 0-3-1-1 in those games. There's your losing streak, and it's also no coincidence that All-Star selection Johan Harju has just 1 goal in his last 9 games. Not to put it all on one guy, but he was one of the players acting as the straw that stirred the drink earlier in the season. He needs to round back into form. Pure speculation, but I wonder if he may be down seeing his buddy Linus Omark get more opportunities with Edmonton. He shouldn't feel that way if he does, though. Edmonton's getting their brains beat in on a nightly basis while, if Harju picks his production back up, there's certainly a good shot he could be up in Tampa when the rosters expand as the Lightning push toward the playoffs. That's somewhere Omark and the Oilers aren't going without buying tickets, I assure you.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Resisting the cheap "Admirals Harpoon Whale" opening...
Cedrick Desjardins stopped 24 of 26 shots to improve to 13-5-1 this season.
NOR Harju, (15) (Pouliot, Durno), 0:17
CT Dupont, (6) (Tessier), 8:45
NOR Wright, (11) (Fornataro, Szczechura), 10:06
CT Williams, (2) (White, Nightingale), 15:00
NOR Vernace, (6) (Jones), 11:22
NOR Angelidis, (12) (Jones, Berry), 11:45
NOR Durno, (11) (Pouliot, Quick), 12:30
Johan Harju broke a 4 game pointless skid and a 6 game goalless skid. Radko Gudas improved to +16 for the season with a +3 effort. He's tied with Chris Durno and now one plus behind AHL leader Mike Angelidis of the Ads. That's right, three of the four league leaders in plus-minus are Norfolk Admirals.
Incidentally, rebranding your team in the middle of the season is odd. The Whale was the Hartford Wolf Pack a few months ago, if you were wondering.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Cedrick the Entertainer is bidding to stick around a while.
Cedrick Desjardins stopped 34 of 35 shots to improve to 2-0-0. He's earned another start, IMO.
13:03 TB Tyrell (4), Thompson (8)
19:14 NYR Gaborik (11), Girardi (17)
00:19 TB Thompson (6), Tyrell (5), Lundin (8)
Desjardins and Nate Thompson were the game's first and third stars.
Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 7:55.
Dana Tyrell had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 14:12. It was Dana's first multi-point NHL game.
An emphatic result for the Lightning and for several members of the team who come from the Montreal area.
Cedrick Desjardins entertained the crowd by stopping 27 of 28 shots to win his NHL debut. I think you saw displayed tonight some of his strengths and weaknesses: he's incredibly quick and athletic with great flexibility, but on the same token sometimes he gets off his angle or has some holes open up when he's scrambling because he doesn't have the tightest technique. I especially wonder if he can keep playing as low to the ice as he did tonight in close, because he seemed to be giving an abnormally high amount of net from three feet and up in the cage. We'll see if NHL shooters catch up to that.
My measuring stick for this type of goaltender is whether you scare me more or less than Rick Tabaracci did back in the day, and the jury remains out of Desjardins. But you can't complain about the outcome and I think you can make a very good argument that he earned another start with how he played tonight.
00:58 MTL Pacioretty (2), Gomez (13)
02:48 TB St Louis (16), Lecavalier (9), Stamkos (24)(PP)
12:31 TB Kubina (2), St Louis (34), Stamkos (25)
01:46 TB Stamkos (30), unassisted(PS)
04:40 TB Stamkos (31), Malone (20), Hedman (12)
Steven Stamkos, Desjardins, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. For Stamkos, at 20 years of age, to have 31 goals now before the calendar even changes to 2011 is remarkable. Again, I hope the hockey media grasps what the real story is: it's not that Stamkos continues to push Sid Crosby in the scoring chase, it's that he's not even 21 and he's pushing Crosby in the scoring chase. When he gets to be Crosby's age 3 years or so down the line, how good do you think he'll be? I have my theory, and I'm excited about the future.
Tampa Bay will end 2010 in first place in the Southeast Division, albeit by a tiebreaker with Washington due to having 1 game in hand. They also have an 11 point lead in the standings on 9th place Carolina, which is very reassuring. Interestingly, Tampa Bay is still -2 in goal differential for the season, but that's a drastically improved situation from where the team sat just a few weeks ago. I like to look at goal differential because it really is a measure of consistency and whether a team is competitive night in and night out, even in losses, or do they get blown out when they lose. I don't think a team with a bad goal differential in the regular season is a team that is very well built for the playoffs, so continues improvement in that category for the Lightning is a necessary evolution as they push to possibly exceed the goal of being a playoff team and instead be a team that can be elite and make a deep playoff run.
Dana Tyrell played 13:51 in the match and seemed to be a target for the Canadiens all night long. They're brave men, going after a hulking 5'11" 185 lbs rookie. The thing about Tyrell and a player like Sean Bergenheim is that they become targets because they're a pain in the ass to play against because their speed and tenacity means they're always around the puck making an opponent work, and guys don't like to have to work. The 1995-96 team that made the playoffs was filled almost exclusively with guys like that: Burr, Cullen, Zamuner, Andersson, Gavey. Those types of players can make a team with ordinary scoring talent good and a team with good scoring line talent great. Consider the 2003-2004 team with: Modin, Taylor, Afanasenkov, Clymer, Cibak, and Dingman. The Lightning teams that have been really good over the years have been the ones that have 4-5 of these types of players, and this Lighting team has: St. Louis, Downie, Bergenheim, Thompson, Hall, Tyrell. They can do some business with guys like that which are annoyingly active for an opposing team to have to deal with. So, becoming a target like tonight means you're doing some things right as a hockey player. Credit to Tyrell in that his motor never stops, regardless of how many times he gets knocked down.