Feel the Nichushkin-mentum.
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the loss including his obligatory 1 that he'd want back.
04:09 BUF Ennis (10), (Vanek, Ehrhoff)(PP)
08:00 BUF Hecht (4), (Gerbe)
12:37 BUF Porter (4), (Flynn, Ott)
13:30 TB Pouliot (8), (Brewer, Lecavalier)
The Lightning outshot Buffalo 33-22 with most of that coming once they spotted the Sabres the 3 goal lead. I have no idea what sort of weird sports psychology issue makes a team only start playing harder once they fall behind big. It's bizarre. That's something for Jon Cooper to sort out in the offseason. In the meantime, the Lightning will be looking at one of the big three draft prospects or possibly Traktor Chelyabinsk power forward Valery Nichushkin in their future.
Alex Killorn had 3 shots in 20:26.
Richard Panik was -2 with 2 shots and 1 hit. The biggest challenge for a young player isn't proving you can be brilliant as Panik was last night. The biggest challenge is proving you can do it consistently, and Panik was a non-factor tonight.
Radko Gudas was -1 with 5 hits and 2 blocked shots in 17:40.
13:45 WSH Brouwer (16), (Ribiero, Ovechkin)(PP)
18:45 WSH Hillen (2), (Beagle, Oleksy)
19:22 WSH Ovechkin (27), (Backstrom)
02:41 WSH Chimera (2), (Perrault, Oleksy)
03:55 TB Panik (3), (Pyatt, Purcell)
05:26 WSH Fehr (8), (Perreault)
18:47 TB St. Louis (10), (Stamkos, Pouliot)
04:23 TB Panik (4), (Gudas, Aulie)
08:17 TB St. Louis (11), (Hedman, Pyatt)
17:25 TB Purcell (11), (Pyatt, Panik)
02:59 WSH Green (10), (Ribiero, Fehr)(PP)
Richard Panik was the game's third star.
I expected the Lightning to get routed tonight. That's why I spent most of it watching Peca in the Quinnipiac game. And, it pretty much went to plan until all of a sudden the Lightning decided not to lay down. Whatever Jon Cooper said to them, they had the hearts of lions in the Third Period and to start Overtime. It's a shame one bad defensive play (Matt Carle) got them in the box and they lose on a 4-on-3 situation. Still, you have to like the show of character.
Alex Killorn was -1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 20:14.
Panik went insane with 2 goals, 1 assist, and a +4 rating. 4 shots and 4 hits too in 15:32. He's got this kind of ability, folks. He's a beast when it comes together.
Radko Gudas had a helper, 1 shot, and 4 hits in 17:14.
Like Lou Rawls said, "Love is a hurtin' thing."
Ben Bishop allowed 6 goals on 45 shots for the loss. Guessing he's out of gas after spending much of the year in a deep goaltending rotation.
04:07 PIT Jokinen (8), (Morrow, Dupuis)
06:02 PIT Dupuis (20), (Kennedy, Niskanen)(PP)
16:00 TB Purcell (9), (Stamkos, Salo)(PP)
01:48 PIT Kunitz (21), (Iginla, Letang)(PP)
05:46 TB Connolly (1), (Panik, Killorn)
01:24 PIT Malkin (8), (unassisted)
04:45 PIT Jokinen (9), (Murray, Dupuis)
16:40 PIT Glass (1), (Jokinen, Iginla)(PP)
19:42 TB Purcell (10), (St. Louis, Carle)(PP)
I actually thought the Lightning set themselves up well to pull the upset heading into the Third Period, but after Bishop allowed the soft goal to Malkin the wheels started to come off. It's time to face facts, Steve Yzerman pulled the trigger on Boucher about 1 month too late to give Cooper the time he needed to turn this season around. The good news is that most, not all, but most of the Syracuse kids played decent games against the Pittsburgh machine tonight. That bodes well for next season.
Mark Barberio was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 16:47. I wish he didn't play so tentative. Would've loved for him to score and then punch Pierre McGuire in the mush whilst explaining, "Learn to pronounce my name baldy." He was named a Second Team AHL All-Star today.
Alex Killorn had a helper but was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 17:31. He's been logging a ton of ice time lately and I wonder if he's hitting a bit of a rookie wall.
Tyler Johnson was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:29. Looked darned good with the puck on his stick. Looked fast and dangerous. He was also named a First Team AHL All-Star today.
Richard Panik had a helper and was -1 with 3 hits in 11:36. He had the primary helper on Connolly's beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. Connolly was named a Second Team AHL All-Star today, by the way.
Radko Gudas was -1 with 16 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:43. He's getting caught up ice too much. I like the effort level and toughness, but he needs to clean up some of his decision making.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 9:31.
Time to start sending the kids back to Syracuse for the playoffs. With the roster they have right now, the Crunch are in danger of a first round upset. It's too valuable a developmental opportunity and the NHL season is lost. Put Pouliot and Pyatt back in and send a couple key players down. It's the shrewd thing to do.
Bishop smacks down his ex-team.
14:29 OTT Alfredsson (9), (Turris, Phillips)
02:35 TB Labrie (1), (Thompson, Crombeen)
04:28 TB Lecavalier (9), (Purcell, St. Louis)(PP)
00:21 OTT Latendresse (6), (Turris, Wiercioch)
14:56 TB Stamkos (26), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
Vincent Lecavalier, Sami Salo, and The Secret Weapon, Pierre-Cedric Labrie were the game's three stars. Lecavalier is now over a point a game since coming back from the broken foot. It's a shame we'll never know what kind of season he could've had if he hadn't tried to play on a bad wheel for a month.
Old man Alfredsson retiring won't cost me any tears. The man's been cutting our hearts out for years.
Mark Barberio was -1 with 1 shot in 14:12 in his NHL debut. 4 giveaways. Oof.
Alex Killorn had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 22:13.
Tyler Johnson was -1 with 1 shot and was 75% on draws in 11:49.
Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 9:37.
Radko Gudas was +1 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:05.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 6 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:30. Check the man's shooting percentage. Sniper. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)
End of the road?
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 37 shots for the loss. We're starting to see what the book is on Bishop now. He's tough as nails to score on in close but may be a little more vulnerable from long range a la Martin Brodeur and a few other bigger-sized goaltenders. I've been pleasantly surprised how he handles himself as a puck handler, on top of that.
01:52 TB Lecavalier (8), (St. Louis, Salo)
03:14 WSH Ovechkin (24), (Hillen, Backstrom)
06:37 TB Killorn (7), (Lecavalier, Carle)
12:54 WSH Carlson (6), (Ward, Hillen)
16:21 WSH Ward (8), (Perrault, Chimera)
19:55 WSH Ovechkin (25), (Ribiero)(EN)
Vincent Lecavalier was the game's third star. He has 3 points in 3 games since returning from the broken foot.
It's a tough, tough way to see your season possibly slip away. The past 2 nights saw a pair of 1 goal games that could've easily gone the other way, and just 1 or 2 mistakes and bad bounces made the difference. It's a shame, and the kind of thing that should keep these guys up at nights during the offseason. My biggest regret is that the outcome of these games may very well have gone the other way had Victor Hedman been in the lineup. Again, it's a shame.
The Lightning's divisional deficit grows back to 8 points, with seemingly not enough games left to close the gap.
Alex Killorn had a beautiful goal and was -1 with 2 shots in 16:19.
Matt Taormina was -1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 16:52.
Tyler Johnson had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 58% on draws in 11:15.
Richard Panik was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 13:15. The guy has got to quit giving away the puck in the neutral zone. It's a career killing bad habit.
Radko Gudas was -1 with 2 shots and 7 hits in 19:26.