Norfolk has a date with history this weekend.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 13 shots (no, not a typo) for the win. Janus is now 16-8-2 on the season, which puts him at the door step of the top-20 in the league in wins. Dustin Tokarski still rules the roost with 27 wins despite being out of the league for the last week. Two good young goaltenders = good problem to have.
WBS Lerg, (23) (O'Reilly, Strait), 8:47
NOR Panik, (16) (Barberio, Johnson), 11:28 (PP)
NOR Gudas, (7) (Jackson, Hutchings), 11:59
NOR Johnson, (25) (Panik, Picard), 0:10 (PP)
NOR Oberg, (6) (Palat, Johnson), 2:37
Halfway through the month of March, Johnson's got to be the runaway favorite to win the league's Player of the Month award. He has 7 goals and 14 points in 6 games, which already matches what he put up in February. That's pretty amazing considering last month was no slouch for TJ, who put up 14 points in 13 games. He's now tied with Gustav Nyqvist at 55 points for 2nd among league rookies in points, and he's moved into a tie for 9th in the AHL in points, overall.
Johnson's linemate, Richard Panik, continues to quietly ramp up his play after a quiet first half of the year. He's within 1 point now of breaking into the top-20 in the league in rookie scoring himself, and the Panik attack shows no signs of letting up.
Mark Barberio is 5th in the AHL in assists. Discuss.
What I take away from tonight's game, given the Admirals outshot their nearest division rivals 33-13, is that they're going for it. And, I'm not talking about winning the division (now a 10 point lead over the Pens), or the conference (6 point lead over the IceCaps). This team wants the record, and they can tie the single-season win streak record of 17 on Friday in Charlotte. The Checkers are no slouches, mind you. They lead the Midwest Division and Norfolk will have to beat them on Friday and Sunday to set the record. And, despite the challenge, Norfolk's going for it. When a team holds another to 13 shots on goal, that's complete team buy-in at playoff level intensity. They just threw the keys to the tractor and the deed to the farm in the middle of the table. They're going for it, and it's going to take a team playing a playoff-level game to stop them.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk shakes off its Albany hangover 1 period too late.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss.
WBS Thompson, (4) (Street), 5:09
WBS Thompson, (5) (Chupp, Rust), 5:25
WBS Street, (12) (Walker, Grant), 16:34 (PP)
NOR Ouellet, (8) (Dimmen, Devos), 0:53
NOR Gudas, (6) (Barberio, Kostka), 6:09
Radko Gudas was the game's third star and had a goal on the rare scoring play where 3 natural d-men figure in the scoring.
Richard Panik had his scoring streak snapped at 3 games.
You take solace from the fact the Admirals outshot the Pens 18-10 in the final two periods. They seemed to be absolutely shell shocked for about 5+ periods of play going back to the collapse in the opening game of the set against Albany. Unfortunately, Norfolk has dropped 4 points behind Hershey and are now tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division.
Norfolk has a 2-game set against Connecticut on Friday and Saturday. The Whale sit atop the Northeast Division, so it's no easy draw for the Admirals.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Nope, THAT was probably rock bottom.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 6 goals on 21 shots for the loss before Mathieu Garon allowed 1 on 5 shots the rest of the way. 7 goals on 26 shots is pitiful. Was goaltending the reason for the loss? No. But you can't win with a save percentage that's an eyelash above .750. Can't do it.
I'm tired of puckhandling mistakes ending up in the back of the net. I'm tired of play acting leading to pucks ending up in the back of the net. These guys need to be playing a very stripped down very focused style right now, and not circus hockey. It's a zoo between the pipes every other game right now.
TOR Macarthur (7), (Gardiner, Connolly), 00:41
TB Lecavalier (9), (Stamkos, Malone)(PP), 8:38
TOR Connolly (3), (Kulemin, Franson)(PP), 17:56
TOR Bozak (3), (Kessel, Connolly)(PP), 19:22
TOR Colborne (1), (Frattin, Liles), 17:45
TOR Bozak (4), (unassisted), 3:07
TOR Lupul (11), (Bozek, Phaneuf), 4:28
TOR Crabb (3), (Frattin, Gardiner), 14:28
It was pretty pitiful to allow a goal right off the bat. Then the team responded and looked as good on the forecheck and on the power play as I think I've seen them this season up until Victor Hedman whiffed on what probably should've been a goal off a Marty St. Louis feed, and then took an unlucky 4 minute minor, and the wheels came off. And then the wheels came off again when Roloson once again showed why he should never stray from his net. It's embarrassing. I felt like I was watching a Brian Lawton/Rick Tocchet team, not a Steve Yzerman/Guy Boucher team.
The situation is not improving to any extent I feel comfortable with. I don't think huge changes have to be made, but I don't think the old, "The answers are in the room," is working. You can't tell me the guys in Norfolk are so bad that they aren't at least worth a look to see if they can inject some fresh blood and enthusiasm into the lineup. This team just looks flat at the start of every game and I honestly wonder how anyone could argue that things would be worse with Carter Ashton or Radko Gudas or Mark Barberio getting an opportunity. You can't tell me that Blair Jones and Bruno Gervais are so much better than those players that it isn't worth even considering, and I don't give a damn how far away the organization thinks Gudas and Barberio are. If you believe they'll bite as dogs they'll bite as puppies. What's the worse that could happen? They'd give up 7 goals to the Maple Leafs?
Brett Connolly had 1 blocked shot in 11:28.
Norfolk salvages victory in the shootout after giving up a late, 6th attacker goal.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 4 goals on 28 shots before stopping 4 of 5 in the shootout for the win.
ADK Wellwood, (3) (Roe), 10:28
NOR Ouellet, (3) (Barberio, Labrie), 14:36
ADK Sestito, (4) (Gustafsson, Akeson), 19:33 (PP)
NOR Ashton, (7) (Conacher, Barberio), 8:11
ADK McGinn, (1) (Pither, Brown), 15:43
NOR Johnson, (4) (Dimmen, Barberio), 1:01 (PP)
NOR Ouellet, (4) (Smith, Gudas), 18:41
ADK Hamel, (7) (Zolnierczyk), 19:32
Michel Ouellet and Janus were the game's first and third stars.
Mark Barberio had his 3rd multi-point game of the season and 2nd 3-point game. He was already leading all AHL d-men in scoring heading into the game and he's now clear ahead of the rest of the field by 4 points, with 10 points in 8 games. Interestingly, and surprisingly, Radko Gudas sits tied for 6th amongst d-men in scoring with 5 points in 8 games.
Norfolk outshot Adirondack 42-28 in the game.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or kisses from Morganna involved, but weâ€™re fairly certain this will be printed off and end up on a mantle somewhere. Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
This weekâ€™s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to â€¦ Radko Gudas, Norfolk Admirals