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What to Expect from Tyler Johnson

Two years and one week ago, Tyler Johnson’s mind was on two WHL scoring titles and helping his hometown Spokane Chiefs increase its win totals.

The undrafted, undersized sniper had no clear track for his hockey career when the Tampa Bay Lightning came calling and signed the free agent to a three-year entry-level contract.

His race to the NHL was now set, but how quickly he’d break through the ribbon was up to him.

He immediately rewarded the Lightning by finishing tops in the WHL in goals with 53 in 2011, and was just one point shy of being its top scorer with 115 points in 71 games.

The following year – his first year pro – Johnson made Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman look like a genius when the Washington state native scored 31 goals and 68 points and was an integral part of a championship Norfolk Admirals team that went down as one of the best in AHL history.

Waiting Game Almost Over for Johnson

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tyler Johnson tried to not think about it.

One step away from achieving his dream, the Syracuse Crunch forward, seeing teammate after teammate getting called up to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, kept a positive attitude.

“Everyone’s dream is to play in the NHL, so you’re always thinking about it,” Johnson said Tuesday. “At the same time, you can’t really worry about it. You have worry about playing here, and getting better. That’s what this league is about – getting better.”

Twenty-six of the 46 players participating in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 28 have since made their NHL debuts, including the Crunch’s Richard Panik and Radko Gudas. Although Johnson was given a look during the abbreviated training camp after the end of the lockout, Johnson didn’t stick and still hasn’t played in a regular season NHL game.

NA Juniors Game Night: 3-13-13

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League s

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5 @ Val-d’Or Foreurs 4 (SO) (Tuesday)

W Nikita Kucherov, R-N: 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 31 GP, 27-32-59, +17, 14 PIM
With R-N: 25 GP, 24-25-49, +16, 12 PIM
With Quebec: 6 GP, 3-7-10, -1, 2 PIM

D Artem Sergeev, VDO: 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 53 GP, 6-33-39, +21, 59 PIM

Sergeev out-pointed Kucherov 2-1 in a match-up of Lightning prospects, but Kucherov’s Huskies earned the extra point with a shootout win. Kucherov’s shootout attempt was saved, but his teammates won the penalty shot session, 2-1.

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 2 (Tuesday)

C Cedric Paquette, BLB: Did not play
Season totals: 63 GP, 27-56-83, +29, 103 PIM

Paquette was out of the lineup for the Armada when they beat the Cataractes 5-2 on Tuesday.

Ontario Hockey League

Brampton Battalion 3 @ Ottawa 67’s 0 (Tuesday)

D Dylan Blujus, BRAM: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, *Second Star*
Season totals: 65 GP, 2-23-25, -8, 53 PIM

Blujus (pictured) was named second star for his fine defensive play on Tuesday night, helping his Battalion to a shutout win over Ottawa. Brampton outshot Ottawa 55-10, including 17-0 in the first period.

Kitchener Rangers 3 @ Guelph Storm 2

C/W Tanner Richard, GUE: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 50 GP, 11-51-62, +18, 92 PIM

Kitchener scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period to top the Storm, 3-2. The two division rivals look locked into a 4-5 first round match-up in the playoffs.

Note: Windsor’s Slater Koekkoek is out for the season with an injured shoulder.

Elitserien Playoff Game Night: 3-12-13

Elitserien Playoffs (Sweden)
Brynas 0 @ Skelleftea 5
Skelleftea leads the series 1-0

Johan Harju, Brynas, 0-0-0, E, 2 SOG, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 18-10-28, -9, 16 PIM

Eighth-seed Brynas managed to hang with the league's top club for the better part of two periods but Skelleftea struck twice within a minute shortly before the second intermission and then piled on three more goals in the final frame to complete what amounted to a thorough rout of the visitors. Brynas, which allowed Skelleftea 62 attempted shots, spent a lot of time defending and, not surprisingly, thus had difficulty mounting much of an attack at the other end, only managing to attempt 22 shots, of which only 14 made it on goal. Former Lightning netminder Johan Holmqvist stopped 36 of the 41 shots he faced in the loss. Brynas hosts Skelleftea on Thursday for the second match of the best-of-seven series.

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