The ultimate goal remains the same every year.
While every team in the American Hockey League chases the Calder Cup, the Tampa Bay Lighting’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, are looking to rekindle the magic that took them to the league championship series in 2013. Less than three years have passed, but the memories of 2013 seem to be shrinking in the rear view mirror.
The Crunch will take their first step toward that goal when they open the 2015-16 on the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday.
“It’s gone by fast, without a doubt,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “The people have changed except for a couple, but it does feel like a while away. I feel like we’ve learned a lot over these last two years, and we’re continuing to grow. The goal, as always, is to make the playoffs and win the Calder Cup.”
This week's “Brad Lukowich Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 37
· Season preview: Tampa Bay Lightning. What’s the ceiling? Floor? Who’s the scoring leader?
· Season preview: Syracuse Crunch. Everything depends on…
· Interview with Rob Zettler
· The BP Mailbag (Should 3-on-3 overtime stats count? Will Steve Yzerman still be a genius after cap casualties?)
Ontario Hockey League
Peterborough Petes 1 @ Windsor Spitfires 4
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 5 GP, 0-1-1, +2, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM
D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 6 GP, 1-0-1, -2, 6 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM
W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, *Second Star*
Season totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +2, 4 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM
DiGiacinto sniped his second goal of the year on a wicked wrist shot (video) to lead the Spits to a 4-1 win over visiting Peterborough. The Petes, who started 3-0, have fallen to 3-3. Dominik Masin had his first point of the season in the game for Peterborough.
Entertaining finish to new season's beginning.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the win. Thought he deserved a star, considering he turned aside two PS attempts including one by Claude Giroux where he got deked badly but deftly lifted Giroux's stick to deny the chance. He made the saves he needed to in order to allow his team to get the win.
1:25 TB Garrison (1), (Callahan, Drouin)
10:14 PHI Read (1), (Laughton, Umberger)(PP)
12:03 PHI B. Schenn (1), (Umberger, Medvedev)(PP)
18:22 TB Callahan (1), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)
2:17 TB Garrison (2), (Killorn, Filppula)
It was a strange game with a strange feel throughout, and maybe that's to be expected when you raise a banner. I felt like the Lightning were clearly the superior team athletically and on a skill level, but the energy level was uneven and they seemed a little out of sync on their passing and puck handling most of the night. We should be happy they cobbled together two greasy goals to get to the wild OT and win it, the biggest being Callahan's PP goal, which is underrated in importance. The 3-on-3 OT, for what it's worth, is basically QMJHL line rushes, with occasional whistles. Mason made a handful of amazing saves to keep the Flyers alive, countered by one ten bell variety by Bishop, before Garrison tucked home the winner. The whole play was made by Filppula, sans hockey stick, winning a board battle and kicking a breakout pass to Killorn to start the rush. Fantastic play.
For the Lightning, keeping focus and effort is going to be the challenge to start the year. It's psychologically difficult to get fully invested in an 82 game grind again when you finish 2 wins from a championship just a few months prior. It's got to happen, though. They've got to buckle down and get their minimum 12 points every 10 games and get back on the ladder to the playoffs, understanding they can't win the Stanley Cup in October, but they can damned sure lose it if they are flat and fall behind in the standings.
No prospects in the lineup? Really? What sort of witchcraft is this?
Khanty-Mansiysk 0 vs. Khabarovsk 1
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 6-6-12, +6, 4 PIM
Nikita Gusev was held scoreless in 16:53 of ice time as his current club, Yugra, fell 1-0 to his former club, Khabarovsk. Finnish netminder Juha Metsola stopped all 26 shots he faced for the shutout.
Ontario Hockey League
Oshawa Generals 2 @ Kingston Frontenacs 3 (OT)
C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 6 GP, 2-2-4, -3, 0 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM
Conor McGlynn (undrafted) scored the overtime-winner for the Fronts, who beat Oshawa, 3-2. The Gens fell to 3-2-1-0 on the season.
Western Hockey League
Vancouver Giants 5 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 8
D Brayden Point, MJ: 3-1-4, +4, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Season totals: 2 GP, 4-3-7, +4, 2 PIM
2015-16 totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM
To say Brayden Point has had an impact on Moose Jaw since his return from the Lightning is an understatement. The Warriors have 14 goals in two games since their captain’s return, and Point has factored in seven of those goals. He was First Star on Wednesday, scoring the sixth hat trick of his WHL career. Going back to last season, Point has a goal in 11 straight games. He has 24 points in those 11 games.
Magnitogorsk 3 vs. Zagreb 2 (OT)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, OT Win, 21/23, 1.99 GAA, .913 sv%
Season totals: 16 GP, 7-5-4, 0 SO, 1.98 GAA, .927 sv%
Ex-Blue Jackets pick Sergei Mozyakin had a pair of goals, including the OT winner, in Magnitogorsk's 3-2 win over Zagreb. Zagreb got a goal from ex-NHLer Gilbert Brule in defeat.
Chelyabinsk 5 vs. Jokerit 3
Saku Salminen, Jokerit, DNP
Season totals: 4 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Ex-Flyers pick Andrei Popov had 1 goal and 4 points for Chelyabinsk in their 5-3 win over Jokerit.
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for the week ending October 6 is … Mitchell Stephens, W, Saginaw Spirit, OHL.
When Mitchell Stephens was drafted with the Lightning’s top pick this summer, fans looked at his numbers and shrugged. That’s it?
Stephens posted 22 goals and 48 points in 62 games for the Spirit, with a minus-17 rating.
Khanty-Mansiysk 2 vs. Novosibirsk 1 (SO)
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansiysk, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 6-6-12, +7, 4 PIM
Nikita Gusev scored on 2 of 3 attempts in the Shootout, including the winner, in Yugra's 2-1 win over Novosibirsk. He played 15:37 in the match. Ex-Star Tomas Vincour had the lone goal of the match for Novosibirsk.
Novgorod 3 vs. Omsk 2 (SO)
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 11 GP, 3-0-3, -4, 8 PIM
Carter Ashton had the Third Period, game tying, power play goal in Novgorod's 3-2 Shootout win against Omsk. Ex-NHLer Vladimir Sobotka had a goal in defeat for Avangard.