It was the Smitty and Ritola show!
Mike Smith stopped all 29 shots he faced for the shutout.
NOR Durno, (14) , 6:32 (SH)
NOR Milam, (9) (Ritola, Vernace), 18:14 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (14) (Ritola, Roy), 14:00
Smith, Chris Durno, and Troy Milam were the game's three stars.
Mattias Ritola had a pair of helpers in his Admirals debut.
It's a critical victory for Norfolk, which moves back into a tie with Charlotte at 63 points for third in the East Division. They also maintained their gap on fifth place Binghamton of 5 points. 28 games remain in the regular season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
TSN and the St. Pete Times are reporting Lightning prospect Mattias Ritola has cleared waivers. Despite injuries to Lightning forwards Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson, Ritola was assigned to AHL Norfolk late in the day.
The Times' Damian Cristodero wrote today that Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said "We just need [Ritola] to play games."
Ritola, who has battled Meneiere's disease all season, has played 24 games with the Lightning and has frequently been a healthy scratch so coach Guy Boucher can dress seven defensemen. Ritola, who displays good offensive ability but has been suspect along the walls, has two goals and six points with Tampa Bay.
He was acquired off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings in September. With Ritola clearing waivers today, it's obvious the Wings did not want him back as they have the choice to reclaim him and place him with their AHL affiliate.
By joining Norfolk, Ritola will provide an offensive spark to a club that appears to have hit a wall.
11 straight wins over Atlanta, and a sweep to boot!
Dwayne Roloson spoiled his own shutout by allowing a late softie. He stopped 21 of 22 for the win.
00:14 TB Thompson (7), unassisted(SH)
01:56 TB Tyrell (5), Moore (9), Kubina (16)
05:39 TB Stamkos (38), St Louis (40), Lundin (9)
10:05 TB St Louis (20), Downie (17)
17:40 TB Gagne (7), Lecavalier (14), Purcell (19)
05:32 TB Kubina (3), Purcell (20)
10:56 TB Gagne (8), Lecavalier (15), Purcell (21)(PP)
15:57 ATL Peverley (13), Bergfors (17)
It's nice to be on the right side of one of these blowouts, for a change. The Lightning cut their goal differential for the season from a -8 to a -2, with eleven games left in this homestand. That's looking up, all of a sudden.
You know the rest of the Eastern Conference is going to be deeply unhappy to see the Gagne/Lecavalier line having a multi-point explosion like this when they look at tonight's scoresheet. If Gagne and Lecavalier get going on this homestand and carry it through to the postseason, the Lightning are going to be one of the two toughest outs come the playoffs in the East.
Mattias Ritola had 3 shots in 12:12. There was some discussion on the message board who the Lightning's new human victory cigar is in blowouts. It used to be Andre Roy. I'm voting for Ritola, now.
Frustration in Carolina.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.
01:44 TB Stamkos (33), Downie (15), Kubina (13)
04:42 CAR LaRose (8), Corvo (14), Cole (11)(PP)
17:23 CAR Skinner (16), Ruutu (24), White (10)
19:37 TB Lecavalier (8), St Louis (37), Malone (22)
01:02 TB Gagne (5), Stamkos (28), Hedman (15)
04:19 CAR McBain (2), Jokinen (23), Staal (23)(PP)
06:31 CAR Jokinen (9), Samsonov (11), Skinner (20)(PP)
12:51 CAR Staal (22), Cole (12)(SH)
11:05 TB Gagne (6), unassisted
19:53 CAR Jokinen (10), Staal (24), Cole (13)(PP)(EN)
Special teams was a nightmare this weekend. Carolina ends up 4-for-5 on the power play on the night. When you allow a team to go 80% on the power play, you have no chance. When you give up a shorthanded goal to boot, you're really in trouble. I can only hope that when Marc-Andre Bergeron joins the team in a few weeks, he'll help correct the epidemic of shorthanded goals the club has suffered from all season with their five forward power play alignment.
Mattias Ritola had 2 shots in 11:21.
The Lightning implode in the third period on the short turnaround in back-to-back games.
Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 24 shots in the loss. He had his opportunity to step up and carry his team over the finish line in the third period, and couldn't do it.
02:36 TB Purcell (7), Ritola (4), Downie (13)
05:55 NJ Clarkson (6), Sestito (1), Pelley (2)
16:01 TB Malone (11), Lecavalier (11), St Louis (35)(PP)
04:14 NJ Clarkson (7), Kovalchuk (12), Elias (20)(PP)
07:52 NJ Arnott (10), Tallinder (4), Zharkov (1)
14:06 NJ Zubrus (6), Rolston (4), Elias (21)
18:45 NJ Elias (9), Rolston (5)(EN)
19:08 TB Moore (7), Hall (5), Ohlund (5)
19:46 NJ Palmieri (1), Kovalchuk (13), Brodeur (1)(EN)
It's a bad loss. New Jersey is the worst team in the East this season, by far, and the Lightning couldn't put them away in the first 40 minutes when they had a chance. They've got Jersey on the schedule quite a bit in the second half, so that's a mistake they can't repeat down the road.
Mattias Ritola had a helper and 2 penalty minutes in 8:07.
Dana Tyrell was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:48. Tyrell's next game will be his 41st of the season, which will graduate him from prospect status on BoltProspects. So, 1/12 against the Capitals will likely be a day of congratulations for young Mr. Tyrell.