And the kids shall lead them...
Mathieu Garon allowed 1 goal on 22 shots for the win in his return from injury.
10:54 TB Johnson (1), (Killorn, Conacher)
06:35 TB Palat (1), (Salo, Johnson)
12:55 TB Thompson (6), (Crombeen, Carle)
03:54 TB Purcell (5), (St. Louis, Hedman)
06:21 CAR E. Staal (13), (Semin)
Lightning fans got a nice little taste of the future tonight. These are quality players the Lightning have brought up from Syracuse, and they have the ability to join with some of the young talent the team already had to be a very competitive and exciting team moving forward. The rest of this year is an opportunity for those players to learn on the job together and lay a foundation for success next season.
Alex Killorn had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 16:33.
Johnson had 1 goal and 1 asisst and was +2 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 8:56. He was also 100% on draws. It was a magical night for the young man, getting his first NHL goal.
Ondrej Palat also got his 1st NHL goal and was +1 with 3 shots in 9:16.
Radko Gudas had 2 shots, 6 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 20:03. He's exploded on the scene like a supernova.
Cory Conacher had a helper and was +1 with 2 hits in 12:30.
Two years and one week ago, Tyler Johnson’s mind was on two WHL scoring titles and helping his hometown Spokane Chiefs increase its win totals.
The undrafted, undersized sniper had no clear track for his hockey career when the Tampa Bay Lightning came calling and signed the free agent to a three-year entry-level contract.
His race to the NHL was now set, but how quickly he’d break through the ribbon was up to him.
He immediately rewarded the Lightning by finishing tops in the WHL in goals with 53 in 2011, and was just one point shy of being its top scorer with 115 points in 71 games.
The following year – his first year pro – Johnson made Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman look like a genius when the Washington state native scored 31 goals and 68 points and was an integral part of a championship Norfolk Admirals team that went down as one of the best in AHL history.
Tyler Johnson tried to not think about it.
One step away from achieving his dream, the Syracuse Crunch forward, seeing teammate after teammate getting called up to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, kept a positive attitude.
“Everyone’s dream is to play in the NHL, so you’re always thinking about it,” Johnson said Tuesday. “At the same time, you can’t really worry about it. You have worry about playing here, and getting better. That’s what this league is about – getting better.”
Twenty-six of the 46 players participating in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 28 have since made their NHL debuts, including the Crunch’s Richard Panik and Radko Gudas. Although Johnson was given a look during the abbreviated training camp after the end of the lockout, Johnson didn’t stick and still hasn’t played in a regular season NHL game.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the win. He came within 1:35 of his third straight shutout when Bolt Prospects Alumni Nick Tarnasky stuck the shiv in his former organization's farm team.
SYR Palat, (8) (Johnson, Korobov), 10:17
SYR Palat, (9) (Connolly, Oberg), 14:20 (PP)
SYR Palat, (10) (Wyman, Johnson), 15:35
RCH Tarnasky, (12) (Rissmiller, Ellis), 18:25 (PP)
SYR Wilson, (4) (Brown, Mikkelson), 18:53 (EN)
Ondrej Palat, Desjardins, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. Palat's hat trick moved him into the top-20 in the AHL in scoring, tied with 2 others for 16th at 43 points. Johnson's 53 points are now tops in the league and Brett Connolly is tied for 4th at 49 points.
The scoring is nice, and it makes everyone feel good, but the defense and goaltending is what really should scare every other team in the AHL. Syracuse has run their winning streak out to 8 games now, and when this organization went on the tear it did last year in Norfolk, it was just as much about stifling defense and solid goaltending as it was about glitzy scoring. Syracuse's 190 goals lead the AHL pretty comfortably, but the big thing to watch now is whether they can start to catch up to teams like Bingo and Springfield in goals against. History tells us that when Coach Cooper has it all in place, his teams are extremely stingy.
Syracuse draws Albany on Friday as they go for #9.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Entertainer, en fuego.
Cedrick "The Entertainer" Desjardins stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout. Nothing wrong with that.
SYR Labrie, (11) (Namestnikov, Connolly), 9:11
SYR Johnson, (27) (Palat, Barberio), 14:29 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (28) (Barberio, Palat), 18:16 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (10) (Palat), 7:34
Desjardins, Tyler Johnson (pictured), and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars. Johnson currently sits 1 point behind Grover Nyquist of Grand Rapids for the top spot in the league in scoring and Brett Connolly is 4 back of Nyqvist in a tie for 5th in the league. Johnson also leads the league in goals and Palat is tied for 2nd in the league in assists, 2 back of leader Jeff Taffe of Hershey.
After scoring just 2 points in the entire month of January, Mark Barberio has 11 so far in February.
With Springfield getting thumped by Worcester today, Syracuse extends their Eastern Conference lead to 5 points over the Falcons and Senators with the Falcons hold 2 games in hand. Syracuse will go for 8 straight on Tuesday against Rochester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.