Ritola, Mattias

NHL Game Night: 1/1/11 Rangers at Lightning

Cedrick the Entertainer is bidding to stick around a while.

NYR-1
TB-2 (OT)

Cedrick Desjardins stopped 34 of 35 shots to improve to 2-0-0. He's earned another start, IMO.

First Period
13:03 TB Tyrell (4), Thompson (8)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
19:14 NYR Gaborik (11), Girardi (17)

Overtime
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12/28/10 Bruins at Lightning

It's the annual Bruins/Lightning hosing at the hands of a referee or video goal judge.

BOS-4
TB-3

Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss.

First Period
00:28 BOS Ryder (11), Recchi (14), Seidenberg (11)(PP)
07:10 TB Stamkos (29), Clark (10), Malone (19)(PP)

Second Period
03:27 BOS Kampfer (1), Savard (3), Horton (13)
14:02 TB Lecavalier (7), Bergenheim (9), Kubina (10)

Third Period
03:00 BOS Marchand (5), Thornton (2), Campbell (6)
10:50 TB St Louis (15), Stamkos (23), Kubina (11)
19:40 BOS Recchi (7), Bergeron (15), Seidenberg (12)(PP)

Vincent Lecavalier was the game's second star. He made a brilliant play to almost set up a goal by Pavel Kubina in the first period and an equally brilliant goal to score Tampa Bay's second goal, but I'd be hard pressed to give him a star nod after losing the faceoff cleanly on Boston's third goal. Details matter, and the Lightning stunk in the faceoff circle in the defensive third in the final frame. I counted three clean faceoff losses in the period. You can't survive on a diet of that. All that aside, offensively, I haven't seen Vinny look this good since he was running and gunning for a Richard Trophy. I think you're going to see a lot of this in the second half of the season: Stamkos drawing the attention while Vinny racks up a lot of goals because he's flying under the radar. Gagne too.

I'm not typically big on complaining about the officials. For the most part, things even out in the course of an NHL game. However, once or twice a season a team gets the shaft, and the Lightning always seem to get theirs against the Bruins. I'm still not over Zdeno Chara batting in a puck at his eye level and a video goal judge still saying it should count a few years back, and tonight was a call that was almost as terrible that I'm not going to get over for a long time. There is NO WAY IN HELL Steven Stamkos' hit late in tonight's game was a penalty. Let me reiterate that, NO WAY IN HELL! That was a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit by two players going for a puck in the corner. The player being hit was not in a defenseless position. Stamkos did not hit him in the back or slew foot him, or any of the other dangerous plays that should get you wrung up for boarding. No, Steven Stamkos got two minutes for being the stronger hockey player.

Shame. Shame on the officials. I remember a day when NHL referees would never make a borderline call like that late in a game and potentially rob a team of a point. But, in the post-lockout Gary Bettman world, they get rewarded for affecting the outcome of games, because that somehow equals excitement when you artifically put teams under duress (as opposed to hard, clean hits which in Bettman World aren't entertaining at all, because as we all know we all buy tickets to see the zebras and not the players). They get encouraged to do it, and they get encouraged for giving out penalties for good, hard, clean hits. Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania is complaining about the wussification of America with the football game being snowed out in Philadelphia. Well, I'm officially complaining about the wussification of the NHL when Steven Stamkos (not exactly Steve Avery) gets the gate in the last two minutes of a tied hockey game on a good, clean, hard hit. The referees tonight crossed a pretty bright line with that call. I hope the Lightning send the tape into the league and I hope the refs get reprimanded for what they did. Unfortunately, I would put it past Bettman to give them a bonus for it ("I just picked my All-Star Game crew!"). It was a total joke.

I'm pissed, in case you couldn't tell.

Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 8:34 tonight. He did some good things tonight offensively. It was one of his better games in a while.

Dana Tyrell was -1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:26.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12/26/10 Lightning at Thrashers

The NHL just issued a clarification regarding the Atlanta Thrashers ownership settlement. The Tampa Bay Lightning actually own the Atlanta Thrashers.

ATL-2
TB-3 (OT)

Dan Ellis allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
08:14 TB Stamkos (28), Malone (18), St Louis (32)

2nd Period
06:03 ATL Bogosian (3), Stewart (14), Little (10)
09:04 TB Lecavalier (5), Gagne (4), Bergenheim (8)

Third Period
16:17 ATL Modin (7), Slater (6), Eager (6)

Overtime
01:13 TB Lecavalier (6), St Louis (33), Stamkos (22)(PP)

Vincent Lecavalier was the game's first star.

The Lightning have won nine straight games against the Thrashers. Folks should consider the implications of what the Lightning did tonight: the Thrashers were all in for this game, on their home ice. The Lightning came into town with an ailing Martin St. Louis and didn't, seemingly, have quite as much to play for. And the Lightning, honestly, dominated the Thrashers for much of the game. Pavelec kept the Thrashers close enough to take a point, but on balance the Lightning carried the play, holding the Thrashers to just a single scoring chance in the first period and outshooting them 34-28 in the game... with a sick Martin St. Louis who didn't entirely look like himself from the second period on. The Lightning, at 80%, took the Thrashers' best punch and barely flinched. It's hard to imagine the Thrashers jumping over the Lightning, in the long run, considering that.

Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 hit in 10:31.

Dana Tyrell had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:22.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12/7/10 Lightning at Flames

The Lightning looked flat and unprepared to play in the first period.

TB-2
CGY-4

Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 19 shots on another night where his save percentage ends up being absolutely putrid.

First Period
07:21 CGY Sarich (1), Pardy (1), Morrison (13)
13:46 CGY Kostopoulos (2), Bourque (9), Giordano (11)

Second Period
04:43 CGY Bourque (12), Glencross (5), Backlund (3)
08:35 TB Harju (1), Kubina (6), Jones (7)
19:00 TB Malone (8), Thompson (7), Hedman (10)

Third Period
08:42 CGY Iginla (12), Bouwmeester (8), Bourque (10)(PP)

Ryan Malone was the game's third star.

It shouldn't take 5 goals to win a hockey game where you hold an opponent down to 19 shots, and allowing a long point shot from Cory Sarich to beat you might be grounds for an NHL goaltender to be fired. Halley's Comet visits more frequently than Sarich scores goals.

Mattias Ritola was +1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:28. I stand by my statement about the guy being soft along the wall. He's exceptionally bad on the forecheck for a guy who's otherwise fairly good in the defensive third.

Johan Harju dialed up a five-hole goal on Kiprusoff and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:41. The goal was Harju's first in the NHL. I think Kipper may have been baiting Harju to go five-hole and didn't realize Johan's got quite a quick release on his shot.

Dana Tyrell was +1 with 2 shots in 12:26. He worked himself into a shorthanded breakaway on one shift in the game. He still needs to work on his shot, but with his speed he will be a terror on the PK in the near future.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12/4/10 Avalanche at Lightning

Without goaltending, the Lightning keep winning the hard way.

COL-5
TB-6

Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 24 shots, but stopped just enough to get the win.

First Period
07:14 TB Thompson (4), Hall (4), Hedman (9)
15:53 COL Dupuis (3), M. Hunwick (3)

Second Period
01:52 TB St Louis (11), Gagne (2), Ohlund (2)
02:44 TB Ritola (2), Harju (1), Tyrell (3)
07:18 COL Duchene (8), Fleischmann (7), Liles (20)
11:07 TB Gagne (2), St Louis (22), Purcell (13)(PP)

Third Period
01:24 COL Stastny (10), Shattenkirk (9), Hejduk (20)
09:06 TB Malone (7), Gagne (3), St Louis (23)(PP)
15:55 TB Bergenheim (5), Lundin (6), Malone (13)
17:49 COL Yip (6), Winnik (4), Duchene (16)(PP)
18:54 COL Shattenkirk (5), Fleischmann (8), Hejduk (21)

Simon Gagne, Martin St. Louis, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. Gagne is playing superb since returning from injury. Like I've said, I'm hoping Lecavalier comes back just as strong after having had time away to clear off a mediocre start to the year.

I've officially lost faith in Dan Ellis now, too. Yes, there are some goals that are getting in on him that are taking screwy bounces. The problem is that screwy bounces have a strange way of happening to bad goaltenders. There's a black cloud over this goaltending tandem, and sooner rather than later Steve Yzerman needs to do something about it.

Mattias Ritola had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 8:53. The goal was BoltProspects' favorite of the season so far, for obvious reasons.

Johan Harju had his first NHL assist and 2 shots and 2 hits in 7:33. Congratulations Big Joe.

Dana Tyrell had an assist and a blocked shot in 10:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Ritola Diagnosed With Meniere's Disease

Damian Crisdotero is reporting forward prospect Mattias Ritola has been diagnosed with Meniere's Disease, an inner ear disorder that periodically leads to a painful ringing and distorts a player's balance. The Lightning and their doctors are monitoring the situation, which can be treated with medication, and it is believed the condition will go away with time. Long time Lightning prospect watchers will recall that former Lightning draft pick Zac Bierk had his development slowed by the same Meniere's Disease condition.

NHL Game Night: 11/27/10 Panthers at Lightning

I hate shootouts, but not as much as I hate the Panthers.

FLA-4
TB-3 (SO)

Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 27 shots before giving up 1 goal on 4 attempts for the shootout loss. One of Ellis' goals allowed was on a penalty shot.

First Period
10:21 TB Purcell (5), Stamkos (18), Malone (10)(PP)

Second Period
10:12 TB Tyrell (3), Ritola (3), Downie (11)
12:22 FLA Dvorak (5), unassisted (SH)(PS)

Third Period
03:08 FLA Kulikov (1), unassisted
08:31 FLA Matthias (4), Santorelli (3)
13:15 TB Bergenheim (4), Purcell (12), Malone (11)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
FLA- Weiss
TB- NONE

Teddy Purcell and Dana Tyrell were the game's second and third stars. Florida got the bounces they needed to hang around in the game and ended up stealing two points. The effort level was much improved from the Washington debacle, at least.

Mattias Ritola had an assist and two shots in 7:26. Tonight, his softness officially became a liability, when he got beat on Kulikov's goal.

Tyrell had a goal and was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 12:22.

Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 2:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 11/26/10 Lightning at Capitals

Suggestion to Coach Boucher for the next morning activation exercise in DC: bag skate.

TB-0
WSH-6

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 18 shots for the loss before Dan Ellis came in and gave up 2 goals on 11 shots the rest of the way. You can't blame the goaltending, though, when the team in front of the netminder can't win a single skate race or puck battle and only manages a measely 17 shots on goal.

First Period
03:09 WSH Carlson (3), Johansson (1)

Second Period
04:38 WSH Erskine (3), Fahey (1), Laich (11)
06:52 WSH Semin (15), Johansson (2)
08:56 WSH Semin (16), Backstrom (16), Ovechkin (20)(PP)
11:21 WSH Semin (17), Backstrom (17), Ovechkin (21)(PP)

Third Period
14:46 WSH Poti (2), Hendricks (5)

I can't explain it. I can't explain why this team starts playing stupid hockey every time they go into Washington DC, and I can't explain why this team seems to lay down every time they see the Caps. It's as amazing as it is unacceptable, especially given what was on the line in this game. It's like they don't respect Washington's offense enough and they get into run-and-gun mode, and you lose if you get into run-and-gun mode with Washington. But what's even more annoying is to only manage 17 shots on Washington, when you know damned well the Capitals don't play any defense. But, when you're last to the puck every single time, you don't generate shots on goal, and you get shutout. Lesson learned, I hope. Move your feet.

In any event, there's a trap game tomorrow night against a Florida team that seems to only play about a half a dozen good games a season, and they save them all for the time they play against the Lightning. Time to get back to basics, and start working hard again, because the last two periods against Washington were pittiful.

Mattias Ritola was -2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit. And, the next puck battle he wins will be his next. He's soft as margarine on the forecheck. There, I said it.

Dana Tyrell was -1 in 11:27.

Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 12:15. He also was 56% on draws. I thought today's game was a step forward for Blair. He seemed to do less thinking on the forecheck and more competing. This kid's a beast behind the opposing cage on the forecheck when he's playing rather than outsmarting himself. When he tries to be clever, he kills himself, because he's just not quick enough to take that extra split second to ponder the play. He just needs to stick his nose in and play like the JYD we all know he can be.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/24/10 Rangers at Lightning

First five game winning streak since 2007.

NYR-3
TB-5

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the win.

First Period
07:06 TB Malone (4), Stamkos (16), St Louis (20)(PP)
15:37 TB Malone (5), Stamkos (17), Purcell (10)(PP)

Second Period
04:53 TB Stamkos (21), Downie (9), St Louis (21)
11:05 TB Clark (5), Downie (10), Purcell (11)(PP)
16:56 TB Hedman (1), Ritola (2), Bergenheim (6)

Third Period
03:58 NYR Eminger (1), Stepan (8)
12:51 NYR Boyle (10), Staal (3), Prust (6)(SH)
18:56 NYR Stepan (5), Gaborik (6), Del Zotto (5)(PP)

Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and Steve Downie were the game's three stars. It was forty minutes of some of the best hockey of the year, followed by twenty minutes of the team letting its foot off the gas a bit and starting to freelance a bit and play outside of the team system, especially on the power play, as they tried to get Malone his hat trick goal. They'll take the two points and learn from that third period, hopefully, and get ready for a big game against the Caps. The Lightning have maintained contact in the standings at 4 points back with a game in hand. A win against Washington really sends a message.

By the way, Malone's two power play goals and the Clark goal were Exhibit A on how teams cheating to try to take away Stamkos on the power play are just playing Russian Roulette. They left Malone in front for two easy rebound goals by cheating toward Stamkos and then left Downie wide open for a one timer up the slot on the Clark goal. And, what's funny is, Stamkos still had about three really good chances from around the left wing circle anyway. Teams are going to start weighing the risk-reward of overplaying to Stamkos' side now, and I don't think that's a gamble where the team that does it wins. He's got such a quick release there's still a decent chance he's going to get his shot off anyway, and you're surrendering the front of the net or a shot from dead center up the slot in the process. Heaven help the league when that unit gets Lecavalier back in the right wing circle, because if he can pound a few one timers home like he used to back-in-the-day, it's going to create absolute chaos in the assistant coaching community.

Mattias Ritola had an assist and was +1 with 3 shots in 8:04. He darned near had a goal on the first shift on the Lightning's last power play.

Dana Tyrell had 1 blocked shot in 13:36. It's crazy to see his stat line so blank, because he was definitely involved in tonight's play. He played well again.

Blair Jones had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 8:34. I've seen him play better. It's not for lack of effort. He just seems to be playing tight, perhaps.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Prospect Suspended

Tampa Bay Lightning forward (and prospect) Mattias Ritola has been suspended for two games and will forfeit $5,555.92 in salary for a charging incident that involved a hit from behind on New York Islanders player Matt Moulson in NHL game #257, last night, the National Hockey League announced.

Ritola’s fine is based on his average annual salary and is calculated under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred at 6:13 of the second period and Ritola was assessed a major penalty for charging.

Ritola will miss tonight’s game at Philadelphia and at Buffalo on Saturday. He is eligible to return November 22 against the Boston Bruins.
--Tampa Bay Lightning press release

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