Gudlevskis gets the Lightning across the finish line...
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the OT loss. Truth be told, the Lightning threw him to the wolves tonight with the hope that he would somehow be able to steal a point or two and he did. For the first time in his career, and I hate to possibly jinx it, he's starting to show some consistency game to game. He's as athletically gifted as just about anyone to come through this organization with his size and freakish quickness. If he starts to settle down a play consistently, he's a legit future NHL starter with those gifts, although it might not happen in Tampa with the logjam in the organization.
0:17 CHI Toews (1), (Kane, Seabrook)
Gudlevskis was the game's third star.
Even in defeat, as frustrated as they were on offense, the Lightning have to be ecstatic to get a point out of this game. They were coming off an OT game against Winnipeg last night against the defending champs in their barn with the organization's third string goalie between the pipes. Gudlevskis was as close to a sacrificial lamb as there is in hockey tonight as the Lightning made the strategic choice to try to get Bishop rested for the road trip finale in St. Louis. Under those circumstances, I'm happy.
The Lightning got their 4th point of the road trip and will finish no less than .500 on a swing through arguably the NHL's toughest division. That's nothing to sneeze at considering the Lightning aren't playing their best hockey yet. More importantly, Gudlevskis delivered the Lightning their 12th point of the season. For the uninitiated to the site, we break regular season hockey into 10 game segments. If you get at least 12 points every 10 games, you stay comfortably on pace to get to the playoffs. Gudlevskis got the Lightning over the 12 in 10 finish line tonight with 1 more game to go in the segment. Getting a couple of insurance points in St. Louis would be fantastic, but either way the Lightning fought off any potential Stanley Cup Final hangover and got their 12 in 10. Now, they need to do it again.
Nikita Nesterov had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 13:19.
Syracuse's offensive frustration continues.
Allen York allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.
UTI Gaunce, (1) (Subban, Jensen), 4:12
UTI Jones, (1) (Subban, Friesen), 11:45 (PP)
UTI Vey, (1) (Biega), 14:42 (PP)
UTI Shinkaruk, (4) (Hamilton, Negrin), 1:35
Bolt Prospects alumni Blair Jones potted a goal for Utica and was named the third star. Of all the treacheries...
Box score from TheAHL.com.
KalPa 4 vs. HIFK 2
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 7 GP, 2-0-2, +2, 6 PIM
Jonne Tammela had the eventual GWG in 12:34 of ice time as KalPa bumped off HIFK 4-2. KalPa also got a pair of goals from ex-Devils pick Patrick Davis in the victory. With the win, KalPa has risen from near the bottom of the table to 8th in the 15 team league since Tammela's return from injury.
Magnitogorsk 1 vs. Dinamo Riga 3
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 8/10, 5.79 GAA, .800 sv%
Season totals: 22 GP, 8-9-4, 0 SO, 2.38 GAA, .910 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin was lifted early in the Second Period in Magnitka's 3-1 loss to Riga as the veteran club's season is suddenly circling the drain. Caps first rounder Ilya Samsonov stopped 12 of 13 the rest of the way in relief. Ex-Michigan Tech defenseman Steven Seigo scored a pair of goals to lead the way for Riga.
Ufa 4 vs. Jokerit 0
Saku Salminen, Jokerit, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 8 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Saku Salminen was scoreless in 5:32 in Jokerit's 4-0 loss to Ufa. Ex-Bruins netminder Niklas Svedberg turned aside all 43 shots he faced for the shutout, while ex-NHLer Enver Lisin had a pair of helpers in support.
Khanty-Mansiysk 2 vs. St. Petersburg 4
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, DNP
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 1 GP, 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 24 GP, 7-9-16, +6, 4 PIM
Nikita Gusev did not play against his former club Yugra as they fell 4-2 to SKA St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg got a pair of goals by ex-Panther Evgeny Dadonov and a pair of helpers by ex-NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk.
Connecticut Huskies 2 @ No. 8 Boston University Terriers 4
D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, +2, 4 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 37 GP, 2-7-9, +19, 58 PIM
BU beat UConn, 4-2, Saturday to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Minnesota State Mavericks 3 @ Bemidji State Beavers 2
W Jimmy Mullin, MSU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 6 GP, 1-0-1, -4, 0 PIM
2013-2014 totals (Miami): 19 GP, 1-6-7, 23 PIM
Minnesota State completed a two-game sweep of the Beavers, both victories being 3-2 games.
*USCHO poll used
South Carolina Stingrays 3 at Greenville Swamp Rabbits 5
F Brian Hart, GRN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
G Allen York, GRN, DNP (recalled to Syracuse)
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0-0, 5.07 GAA, 0.828 SV%, 0 SO
D Charlie Dodero, GRN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Lightning forward prospect Brian Hart made his pro debut Friday night for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in a penalty-filled affair against cross-state rivals South Carolina Stingrays. The Swamp Rabbit roster also includes Syracuse Crunch depth players Allen York and Charlie Dodero, as well as former Lightning camper Kodie Curran. The Swamp Rabbits led the whole game on the first of a home-and-home against the Stingrays.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Victoriaville Tigres 6 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 4
W Dennis Yan, SHAW: Did not play.
Season totals: 9 GP, 10-9-19, +3, 15 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM
Yan was suspended for one game because of what may have been a “gesture” made during Sunday’s game. (translation issues)
Ontario Hockey League
Oshawa Generals 2 @ Ottawa 67’s 4
C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 13 GP, 3-5-8, -4, 5 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM
Flyers first rounder Travis Konecny had two goals and an assist to lead Ottawa to a win over the Gens.
Windsor Spitfires 1 @ Sudbury Wolves 3
W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 12 GP, 5-6-11, +4, 21 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM
Zack Bowman (undrafted) stopped 34 of 35 shots to beat Windsor, 4-1, in his first game with Sudbury since coming over from Flint.
Peterborough Petes 1 @ Kitchener Rangers 4
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 11 GP, 0-1-1, +10, 14 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM
D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 12 GP, 2-1-3, -1, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM
Both Masin and Spencer were scoreless in the Petes 4-1 loss to Kitchener.
Note: Saginaw’s Mitchell Stephens suffered a broken foot and is out indefinitely.
Western Hockey League
Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Prince Albert Raiders 7
C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-2-2, -2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals: 9 GP, 10-14-24, +13, 2 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 38-49-87, +6, 46 PIM
Moose Jaw allowed 52 shots on goal Friday in a 7-2 blowout loss in Prince Albert. Point remains two points up for the WHL scoring lead.
Calgary Hitmen 4 @ Kamloops Blazers 2
D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 13 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 8 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
Thomas (pictured) notched his third assist of the season as the Hitmen won in Kamloops, 4-2.
United States Hockey League
Tri-City Storm 4 @ Omaha Lancers 3 (OT)
G Kris Oldham, OMA: OTL, 30 saves on 34 shots, *Second Star*
Season totals: 5 GP, 3-1-1, 2.43 GAA, .924 sv%
2014-15 totals: 33 GP, 21-6-4, 2.49 GAA, .908 sv%, 1 SO
(University of Nebraska-Omaha commit)
Oldham was second star in Omaha’s 4-3 overtime loss to one of Adam Wilcox’s former teams.
Des Moines Buccaneers 1 @ Sioux City Musketeers 4
D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, SC: 0-1-1, +1, 12 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 9 GP, 0-8-8, +1, 18 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota commit)
Zuhlsdorf had a 10-minute misconduct added to a checking-from-behind penalty.
Minnesota State Mavericks 3 @ Bemidji State Beavers 2
W Jimmy Mullin, MSU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 5 GP, 1-0-1, -4, 0 PIM
2013-2014 totals (Miami): 19 GP, 1-6-7, 23 PIM
The Mavs finally scored after being shut out in three straight games. They added a couple more goals to earn a 3-2 win against the Beavers. Both teams are just outside USCHO's Top-20 rankings.
Despite their best efforts to give the game away, Lightning pull 2 points from Winnipeg.
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the OT win. That was certainly not Bishop's best effort. He looked shaky positionally and his rebound control was a bit of a hot mess and his puckhandling gaffe on Winnipeg's third goal was obviously inexcusable. However, he made key stops after that, including the stop on Little in OT, to insure that the team eventually got the opportunity to win the game. The big prize that comes out of that is it looks like they can play the freshly recalled Kristers Gudlevskis against Chicago with a clear conscience and finally give Ben his first rest of the season. With Vasilevskiy cleared to practice, hopefully Andrei can be back in another, say, 3 weeks and Tampa Bay can get Ben back into a more sane workload.
12:17 TB Coburn (1), (Johnson)
16:28 WPG Ehlers (2), (Scheifele, Perreault)
7:22 TB Paquette (1), (Condra, Hedman)
10:58 WPG Stafford (3), (Lowry, Burmistrov)
11:19 TB Namestnikov (3), (Paquette, Hedman)
1:17 WPG Wheeler (4), (unassisted)(SH)
0:36 TB Palat (2), (Stamkos, Hedman)
I'm absolutely ecstatic the team got this win, for reason I'll expound upon further later on, but I'm absolutely furious about how incredibly stupid they look defending teams on the rush so far this season. I just don't get how a team can look this braindead in coverage. No team in the NHL right now is better at turning what should be a harmless 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 stalemate coming at them on the rush into an odd man break and digging the puck out of the back of their own net. The d-men have an awful case of the yips anytime a forward is bearing down on them with speed right now, and the forwards aren't helping in the slightest by applying precious little backchecking pressure to help support their defenseman. The resulting brain crampage in positioning and communication is just intolerable to watch, and at some point Jon Cooper's got to get more aggressive with his players to correct the issue. This team won't win anything but a dog show defending the way they are right now.
On the good side, Cooper may have found another hundred dollar bill on the ground today by way of Brian Boyle calling into work sick. The makeshift line of Vladislav Namestnikov, Cedric Paquette, and Eric Condra was, start-to-finish, the Lightning's most consistent and dominant line tonight. Namestnikov's been playing really well lately, so it wasn't that surprising to see him pump home a goal. Paquette and Condra have flashed individually this year but they haven't really found chemistry with any linemates to any great degree until tonight. That line's got a little bit of everything, and you could see them becoming a regular item if they have another game or two like tonight's. Namestnikov's and deft playmaker with some higher level puck handling acuity. Paquette and Condra have laser releases that are really surprising for lower line guys. And, all three of these guys are aggressive on the forecheck and the latter two in particular are strong at body positioning to win 50/50 pucks. This really could be found money for Jon Cooper, and the makings of a third really good line he can put on his goldenrod game plan in ink every night. Now he just needs to figure out what to do with Val Filppula...
As I noted, one of the big benefits of the win tonight is it means you can give Bishop the night off against the Blackhawks. Te reason for that is that the Lightning now have 11 points through 8 games, meaning they need just 1 more point out of the remainder of the road trip to hit their target for the first 10 game segment of the year. So, they'll likely send Gudlevskis out and hope he can steal at least a point, but even if he can't they'll have a rested Ben Bishop ready for St. Louis to close the trip in his home town to try and clinch a successful first 10 game segment of the year.
The last-minute rally provided little consolation.
The Crunch netted a pair of goals in the final 57 seconds but couldn’t overcome their struggles in the second period and on special teams, as Syracuse fell to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
“We had flurries late, but the damage should have been done in the first period,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We failed to take advantage of two 5-on-3s. They got a 5-on-3 and they took advantage of it. That ended up being the difference in my mind.”