Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gets Lindbacked!
Anders Lindback stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout victory. I guess the ankle is feeling better.
SYR Richard, (2) (Panik, Tyrell), 2:02
SYR Taormina, (5) (Panik, Richard), 19:18
SYR Taormina, (6) (Angelidis, Paradis), 5:23
SYR Olson, (3) (Rankin, Langelier-Parent), 6:50
Richard Panik extended his point streak to 3 games with 2 goals and 7 points over that span. Tanner Richard closed February with his second multi-point game of the month and third overall this season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
When Panik Attacks...
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Namestnikov, (15) (Panik, Tyrell), 19:22
HER Taffe, (15) (Stoa, Brouillette), 1:57 (PP)
SYR Panik, (2) (Tyrell, Namestnikov), 6:16
SYR Angelidis, (9) (Labrie, Landry), 10:32
HER Deschamps, (12) (Kolomatis, Wellman), 17:30
SYR Tyrell, (7) (Panik), 9:01
SYR DiSalvatore, (8) (Connolly, Panik), 16:38 (PP)
Richard Panik and Dana Tyrell were the game's first and second stars. The Lightning organization has been waiting 4 and a half months for Richard Panik to wake up. With 1 goal and 3 assists tonight, the young Slovakian winger may very well have finally answered the bell. Beyond that, the Crunch got contributions from all their key prospects including Namestnikov and Connolly, leading to back-to-back pastings of Hershey.
Unfortunately, it's likely too little too late for Syracuse this season. Even with the wins over the past couple of games, the team is still a full 15 points out of 8th in the Eastern Conference. With that said, though, getting back to .500 for the season and playing the role of the conference's most feared spoiler heading into the playoffs is definitely a reasonable objective for this group to achieve, and it would set them up well for a comeback next season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse breaks out.
SYR Witkowski, (1) (Korobov, DiSalvatore), 3:53
SYR DiSalvatore, (7) (Angelidis, Tyrell), 9:26
SYR Panik, (1) (Namestnikov, Sergeev), 11:39 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (14) (Landry, Mormina), 7:07
SYR Langelier-Parent, (1) (Richard, Rankin), 12:54
York, Jon DiSalvatore, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars. It was a game where almost all of the Crunch's struggling offensive stars, namely Namestnikov and Richard Panik, broke out. More than that, they even got contributions from the likes of Luke Witkowski and Maxim Langelier-Parent, in the form of both young men's first AHL goals. It's they kind of performance this team desperately needed to get their confidence back.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse's playoff hopes continue to dim.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the loss. At least 1 of those goals was one he might like to have back. Now's a tough time not to get your best goaltending.
HER Brouillette, (6) (Stoa, Strachan), 16:43
SYR Paquette, (12) (Panik, Witkowski), 17:22
SYR Richard, (1) (Paquette), 6:13 (PP)
HER Latta, (5) (Schilling, Oleksy), 17:09
HER Latta, (6) , 12:28
Richard Panik made his season debut for Syracuse and was fairly dangerous throughout. Unfortunately, he also got his clock cleaned on a hit crossing the opposing blueline in the Second Period, which led to the game devolving into a pretty nasty brawl-fest. One silver lining is that Tanner Richard scored his first pro goal in the process.
Unfortunately, for the moment, Syracuse has fallen 9 points out of 8th in the Eastern Conference. Things do not look good right now, and they could not afford to give 4 points to Hershey like they have the past 2 nights. The Bears are currently in 9th in the conference 8 points ahead of the Crunch and are one of the teams Syracuse needs to climb over.
Bridgeport is next up tomorrow.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Lightning waste what could've been a special day.
Ben Bishop allowed 5 goals on 32 shots for the loss. I thought he might want the last goal back, although it was apparently slightly deflected. Still, it was a long lazy point shot that he saw all the way in, and it highlighted the weakness in Bishop's game. That's why it's so imperative for the Lightning to block point shots for their netminder: he struggles on shots from distance. It was a rare game where I thought Bishop pulled a Lindback: he wasn't the reason they lost but he wasn't good enough to be a reason they won, either.
9:46 SJ Nieto (4), (Marleau, Wingels)
11:56 TB St Louis (22), (Johnson, Purcell)(PP)
12:52 SJ Marleau (21), (Nieto, Wingels)
15:44 TB St Louis (23), (Cote, Bishop)
19:30 TB St Louis (24), (Brown, Barberio)
2:07 TB St Louis (25), (Purcell, Johnson)(PP)
12:48 SJ Pavelski (23), (Kennedy, Demers)
13:09 SJ Pavelski (24), (Boyle, Marleau)(PP)
19:00 SJ Pavelski (25), (Irwin, Thornton)
Martin St. Louis was the game's first star. I think the Lightning, like their fans, got caught up in the moment with Marty matching Chris Kontos' record for goals in a game. Hopefully they gained a valuable lesson from it: San Jose didn't panic falling behind and simplified their game. They kept playing hard, used face-offs to leverage some more possession, and got pucks to the net. And, once they got the lead with 1 minute to go in the Third Period, they completely changed up their style to protect it. The Lightning got, maybe, 3 chances the rest of the way including a glorious opportunity by Martin St. Louis walking out of the corner that he shot wide. When he missed that chance, I had a sick feeling that was going to be the game. I wasn't wrong.
If you're looking for moral victories, the Lightning certainly showed how much they've improved since they got blown out in San Jose on that disastrous West Coast swing after the Stamkos injury. There is no column in the standings for moral victories, though, and today's loss guaranteed the team won't get 12 points out of this 5th 10 game segment of the season. They're fortunate they had 4 insurance points stored up, so they're still in good shape with 1 more game to go until segment #6, but mark my words: this is the most important 10-12 game stretch of the regular season coming up for the Lightning. They have another 7 or so games until Stamkos is likely to return and another 4-5 games of adjustment once he does. If they continue to leave points on the ice like they've done over the last 4-5 games, they will make things a lot harder for themselves in March and April. Now is the time to focus and nail down points, more than ever.
Mark Barberio had an assist and was +1 with 1 hot and 1 blocked shot in 17:04. Bookmark it: that was Barberio's best game in a Lightning jersey. He did well getting the puck up and out of his zone quickly and there were moments he seemed to be everywhere in the offensive half of the ice, including assisting on Marty's third goal. It's no coincidence his ice time shot up to over 17 minutes today. It was deserved.
J.P. Cote had an assist, 7 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 6:47. He assisted on Marty's second goal on a bank pass/clear hard up the boards to spring a breakaway and he fought Andrew Desjardins after Desjardins boarded Alex Killorn in the Third Period. So, I'd call it a productive 6:47.
J.T. Brown had an assist and 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 12:28. Dirty secret: I'm kind of certain that Marty's 3rd goal should've gone to J.T.
Richard Panik had 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:22. He had a good shift in the Second Period with the Lightning pressing to gain a 3 goal lead, but as the game kept tightening up his ice time kept getting trimmed back. With Sustr being sent to Syracuse, Panik looks like he'll be the last mid-season graduation from prospect status on the site, and that could happen as early as Thursday against Ottawa.
Nikita Kucherov was -1 with 4 shots and 2 blocked shots in 16:20. He has become one of Cooper's go-to's in tight games where he needs a goal, and deservedly so.