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Point’s Play Helps Fuel Bolts’ Turnaround

By Steven DiOssi

Brayden Point started the season as a surprise addition to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster out of training camp, but throughout the year he’s consistently shown why he should be in the NHL.

Since returning from an injury he suffered on Dec. 28 that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month, the 20-year-old forward has accumulated seven points and is a plus-6 in nine games. He’s been held off the scoresheet just three times and has arguably been playing his best hockey of late, skating at center and putting together a four-game point streak from Feb. 10 to Feb. 19.

He began the season playing the wing position despite traditionally playing as a center throughout his career — primarily because that’s where he fit into the lineup when Steven Stamkos was healthy. However, he’s been centering Alex Killorn and Jonathan Drouin — players that complement his speed and creativity, while also helping ease his transition to the position at the NHL level.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Episode 90

This is this week’s “Vladdy Namestnikov II Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:

· The No. 90 (and 65)
· Vladdy’s falling ceiling
· Greg Linnelli interview recap
· Drouinsanity driving the Lightning
· The Ben Bishop dilemma
· The Tyler Johnson dilemma
· Let’s start here: Jake Dotchin is an NHL defenseman
· Interview with Adam Erne

CHL Game Night: 2-23-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 5 @ Moncton Wildcats 3

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 9/10 FO, 1 Hit
Season Totals: 52 GP, 15-23-38, -6, 22 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

Somppi scored for the first time in five games as the Mooseheads beat Moncton Thursday night, 5-3. Somppi is up to 15 goals for the season – a career high.

Ontario Hockey League

Kingston Frontenacs 1 @ Peterborough Petes 3

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 11/27 FO
Season Totals: 55 GP, 17-25-42, -2, 24 PIM
With Petes: 18 GP, 5-8-13, +5, 10 PIM
With Niagara: 37 GP, 12-17-29, -7, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 49 GP, 5-19-24, +8, 47 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Spencer matched his scoring totals from last year, but in 11 fewer games. His career high for points in a season is 30, set two years ago in his draft year over 67 games.

NHL Game Night: 2-23-17 Flames at Lightning

Off night puts Lightning back behind the eight ball.

CGY-3
TB-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss. On that third goal, the Lightning really needed Vasiy to step out and make a key situational save to give them a chance and he didn't get it.

First Period
6:17 TB Namestnikov (9), (Coburn, Point)

Second Period
5:04 CGY Backlund (18), (Giordano, Hamilton)
6:25 CGY Monahan (20), (Gaudreau, Hamilton)

Third Period
17:02 CGY Hamilton (10), (Backlund, Frolik)(PP)
18:47 TB Kucherov (23), (Hedman, Filppula)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

The Lightning got off to a great start in this game and looked to be in solid control against Calgary, but they got into penalty trouble in the middle of the period and all of the steam came out of the Lightning attack. I thought they really missed Jonathan Drouin in the lineup because he can be a one man attack shift-to-shift, and without him in the lineup the Lightning were just a lot more predictable and one-dimensional offensively. You need two credible offensive lines, at least, in this league and without Drouin the Lightning had the Triplets and little else.

The Lightning point streak was snapped at 7 games, and with their standings position being what it is they can't afford to lose any games. That's why, realistically, they needed to start this push a month earlier to have a better chance to complete their run to the postseason.

Jake Dotchin was -2 with 7 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 21:16. It was a rugged night for young Dotchin.

Gabriel Dumont was -1 with 1 hit in 6:27. He missed a shot in the Third Period about as far to the left as is possible. I hope to God that puck was deflected and I just missed it. That shot had a better chance of hitting the blimp flying over the arena than it did the back of the net.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 2-23-17

HIFK 4 vs. SaiPa 1
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, DNP
Season totals: 39 GP, 3-4-7, -9, 41 PIM

Saku Salminen? Still hurt. SaiPa? Still bad. 6 games remain in SaiPa's regular season, and they remain 2 points back of KooKoo in last place on the Liiga table.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 2-23-17

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals
(2)St. Petersburg 7 vs. (7)Podolsk 2
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 2-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, +3, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

Nikita Gusev assisted on an even strength goal in 18:21 of ice time as SKA crushed Vityaz 7-2 in Game Two of their opening round playoff series. Ex-NHL'ers Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, and Evgeny Dadonov each had goals in the win for SKA.

CHL Game Night: 2-22-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Acadie-Bathurst Titan 8 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 7 (OT)

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-0-1, -2, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 3 Hits
Season Totals: 55 GP, 35-12-47, +6, 80 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 48 GP, 7-12-19, -5, 86 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-2-2, -4, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits, 3/11 FO
Season Totals: 44 GP, 32-35-67, +30, 49 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

In a “That’s so QMJHL” game, the Dogs and Titan exchanged leads and big leads before the Titan forced overtime and won it in the extra session. Joseph and Imama were a combined minus-6 in the game, while teammates Nathan Noel (undrafted) and Spencer Smallman (Hurricanes) combined for five goals and five assists. Imama did hit the 35-goal mark for the season.

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 3 @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 1

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 47 GP, 33-34-67, +6, 54 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden was scoreless coming off a hat trick in his previous game. The Warriors have won four in a row and are firmly in second in the East Division. They have already clinched a playoff spot.

AHL Game Day: 2-22-17 Crunch at Marlies

Crunch can't protect the old 2 goal lead at the matinee.

SYR-2
TOR-3 (OT)

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
10:19 SYR Conacher (11), (Halmo, Thomas)
15:29 SYR Conacher (12), (Erne, Gourde)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
1:07 TOR Findlay (6), (Rychel)
9:42 TOR Timashov (11), (Smith, Dermott)(PP)

Overtime
1:13 TOR Findlay (7), (Holl, Rychel)

Cory Conacher was the game's second star.

What a tough pill to swallow. The Crunch played an excellent road game to build the 2 goal Third Period lead and had a 30-23 shot advantage on the game. They got everything but the final result.

Syracuse moves into a tie with Albany at 62 points atop the North Division with 2 games in hand. However, Toronto lurks just 2 points back with the Crunch holding 1 game in hand on the Marlies.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Game Night: 2-21-17

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 6 @ Medicine Hat Tigers 3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 3-1-4, +2, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Season Totals: 46 GP, 33-34-67, +7, 54 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden notched his first hat trick since October 2015, scoring three times and adding an assist Tuesday in Medicine ... Hat (Trick). Howden’s 33 goals are second on the Warriors behind Jayden Halbgewachs, who leads the WHL with 44. Howden is 12th in the WHL in goals scored.

Edmonton Oil Kings 0 @ Kamloops Blazers 7

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 23 saves on 23 shots, shutout
Season Totals: 38 GP, 23-10-2-2, 2.10 GAA, .935 sv%, 5 SO
2015-2016 Season: 61 GP, 34-15-5-4, 2.61 GAA, .922 sv%, 4 SO

Ingram posted back-to-back shutouts with a 7-0 home win over Edmonton. He has three shutouts in his last six games, allowing five goals in that span.

NHL Game Night: 2-21-17 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning put on a clinic against young Oilers.

EDM-1
TB-4

Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. It was a lighter night for Bishop, in terms of workload, punctuated by a handful of important situational saves.

First Period
4:26 TB Palat (12), (Kucherov)

Second Period
0:16 TB Palat (13), (Johnson, Kucherov)
10:17 EDM Pakarrinen (1), (Klefbom, Larsson)

Third Period
0:49 TB Kucherov (22), (Stralman, Johnson)
19:59 TB Namestnikov (8), (Kucherov)(EN)

Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. It was definitely Triplets Night at the rink.

Big ups to the rare time a Jon Cooper coaching challenge actually worked to nullify an Edmonton Third Period goal after a super-sloppy 4-on-4 sequence where the team gave up possession way too easily in that situation.

Jake Dotchin had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 21:30.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit and was 75% on 4 draws in 8:41.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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