We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for February 25 is … Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse (AHL – USA)
Ondrej Palat doesn’t make headlines.
The Syracuse Crunch forward is a complimentary winger, usually photographed in the background of a dramatic goal or its celebration. But without him, that play probably doesn’t happen.
Palat gives a scoring line 2-way ability or playmaking, whichever is needed the most. Like Martin St. Louis with the Lightning, if a coach adds him to a line, that line gets better.
The Entertainer, en fuego.
Cedrick "The Entertainer" Desjardins stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout. Nothing wrong with that.
SYR Labrie, (11) (Namestnikov, Connolly), 9:11
SYR Johnson, (27) (Palat, Barberio), 14:29 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (28) (Barberio, Palat), 18:16 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (10) (Palat), 7:34
Desjardins, Tyler Johnson (pictured), and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars. Johnson currently sits 1 point behind Grover Nyquist of Grand Rapids for the top spot in the league in scoring and Brett Connolly is 4 back of Nyqvist in a tie for 5th in the league. Johnson also leads the league in goals and Palat is tied for 2nd in the league in assists, 2 back of leader Jeff Taffe of Hershey.
After scoring just 2 points in the entire month of January, Mark Barberio has 11 so far in February.
With Springfield getting thumped by Worcester today, Syracuse extends their Eastern Conference lead to 5 points over the Falcons and Senators with the Falcons hold 2 games in hand. Syracuse will go for 8 straight on Tuesday against Rochester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Not even 24 hours after notching his first shutout in a Syracuse Crunch sweater, Cedrick Desjardins was back at it.
The netminder kept his streak going, stopping all 29 shots and leading the Crunch to a 4-0 win over the Connecticut Whale at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday afternoon.
"You never expect that," Desjardins said of his back-to-back whitewashes. "Those were two big games for us and teams we don't see a lot. We need to step up against those teams."
Most first impressions take all of a few seconds.
For the first 13-plus minutes in front of his new home crowd at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins waited for his opportunity.
When the shots finally came - 26 in total - the New Brunswick native had an answer, notching his first shutout in a Crunch uniform and third of the season in a 3-0 win over the Springfield Falcons Saturday night.
"You want a good first impression at home," Desjardins said. "I don't think it gets better than that."
Beasts of the East.
Cedrick Desjardin (pictured) raised shields for a 26 save shutout.
SYR Barberio, (8) (Labrie, Connolly), 4:37
SYR Labrie, (10) (Cote, Wyman), 12:35
SYR Brown, (7) (Tyrell, Cote), 19:33 (EN)
Syracuse came into this game 1 point ahead of Springfield for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. This was a battle of titans with a lot on the line, and ultimately Syracuse smoked the Falcons like a fine cigar. Mind you, Springfield netminder Allen York made it interesting, but Syracuse outshot Springfield 46-26 in this game, including 17-8 in the decisive final frame. That was a 1 versus 2 game. Think on that. Then think on the fact that the Crunch have won 6 in a row.
Uh oh, rest of the AHL. Jon Cooper sorted out the post-lockout madness. Jon Cooper has started to tune up the machine again. We've seen this movie before, folks, and we all remember how it ends.
Syracuse draws Connecticut next tomorrow afternoon.
Box score from TheAHL.com.