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Cooper Not Surprised by Johnson’s Hatter

Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson of the Syracuse Crunch was named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player on Friday, and responded to the honor by netting a hat trick in the Crunch’s 5-1 win over Norfolk later that night.

Former Crunch coach and current Lightning coach Jon Cooper took notice, and he wasn’t surprised.

“Not in the slightest,” Cooper said after the Lightning’s practice on Saturday.

“He’s probably got a little jump in his step. Not only a jump in his step just from coming up here then going back to his team, but his game probably slowed down a little bit, but to get news like that – which was totally deserved – you don’t want to go and lay an egg and he surely didn’t.”

Johnson played 14 games for the Lightning in the last two months, scoring three goals and three assists. He was sent back down to Syracuse on April 12.

The Spokane, Washington, native has an AHL-leading 36 goals and 64 points in 61 games with the Crunch this year. He was a free agent signing by the Lightning in March of 2011.

Practice Notes: Injured goalie Anders Lindback had a strong practice on Saturday and could start as early as Sunday against Carolina. Also, while Radko Gudas filled in for Sami Salo on the power play in Montreal (and the Lightning scored, though Gudas points out he never touched the puck), don't expect Gudas to be a mainstay on the Lightning's power play anytime soon. Though Gudas was introduced to man-advantage duty in Syracuse under Cooper, the Lightning coach said Gudas is slated for PK and 5 on 5 work in Tampa and Cooper is a believer in 5 on 5 plus one special team unit for most players - especially defensemen.

Gudas Jersey Buyers: Gudas said he probably won't keep No. 75 next year. He wore No. 3 in Syracuse in honor of his father, who wore No. 3. The 3-jersey is taken in Tampa Bay by Keith Aulie, but 13 and 33 are both open.

Bishop Mask: Ben Bishop's Lightning mask was supposedly delivered from Sweden to Tampa, but he was wearing his Senators cage during practice on Saturday. He was working with Franz Jean on being positioned for one timers delivered from behind the goal-line into the slot.

NA Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4-19-13

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

(3)Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 1 @ (2)Baie-Comeau Drakkar 2
Drakkar lead best-of-7 semifinals, 1-0

C Cedric Paquette, BLB: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 2 SOG, 4 Hits
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 7-5-12, +5, 17 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 27-56-83, +29, 103 PIM

The Drakkar struck first in their semifinal series with the Armada, scoring a 2-1 win. The winning goal was scored on the power play near the mid-point of the final period.

Ontario Hockey League

(E2)Barrie Colts 2 @ (E1)Belleville Bulls 3
Bulls lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals, 1-0

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 7 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 0-3-3, +4, 19 PIM
Season totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
With Barrie: 28 GP, 2-6-8, -1, 42 PIM
With Owen Sound: 38 GP, 2-12-14, +1, 39 PIM

Belleville scored the game’s final two goals and Bruins first rounder Malcolm Subban stopped 26 shots to lead the Bulls to a Game 1 win over Barrie. Dotchin fought Garrett Hooey of Belleville in the second period.

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-19-13

(4)Florida Everblades 4 vs. (1)Reading Royals 3
Quarterfinals: Florida leads the best-of-seven series 1-0

D Charles Landry, FLA: 0-0-0, E, 0 SOG, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 4 PIM
Season totals: 51 GP, 4-12-16, +7, 33 PIM

Florida, which never trailed in the opening match of the series, took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission but had to retake the lead after a lackluster start to the second period saw the game tied and fend off the Eastern Conference's top club during the course of the regular season for the better part of the final half of the contest. The host Royals doubled up the Everblades in shots, 37-16, hammering the visitors particularly hard with a 14-shot, 2-goal second period that Florida only salvaged by scoring on one of the mere 3 shots it managed to muster. Florida's special teams play, which was so critical to its first round success, shined again as the Everblades went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage while the penalty-killers negated 6 of 7 Royals opportunities. Jesse Deckert did an admirable job holding the fort, thwarting 34 of 37 shots against. Both teams square off again Saturday night in Reading.

Official Recap | Box Score

Johnson Wins MVP, Scores Three as Crunch Beat Admirals 6-1


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tyler Johnson isn't one for grand acceptance speeches.

After winning the award as the American Hockey League's Most Valuable Player, the Syracuse Crunch forward gave most of the credit to his teammates, the coaching staff and the organization.

Johnson preferred to show how he earned it. He registered his second hat trick of the season, leading the Crunch to a 6-1 rout of the Norfolk Admirals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I though tonight we played a good solid team game, a full 60," Johnson said. "I thought we played pretty well. If we keep doing that, I think we'll be alright."

Syracuse, which has points in five straight games, has a three-point lead over Binghamton in the East Division, and can clinch with a win or a Senators loss Saturday.

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