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AHL Game Night: 12-28-19 Crunch at Senators

Crunch embarrass themselves on way to surrendering snowman.

SYR-2
BEL-8

Mike Condon allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the loss. Spencer Martin allowed the other 4 goals on 26 shots.

First Period
4:52 BEL Chlapik (4), (Murray, Abramov)(PP)
11:16 BEL Balcers (7), (Brown, Aspirot)
17:38 BEL Abramov (13), (Chlapik, Murray)(PP)

Second Period
2:12 BEL Balcers (8), (Aspirot)(SH)
10:25 BEL Abramov (14), (Batherson, Murray)
11:46 BEL Lajoie (1), (Kelly)
13:21 SYR Foote (3), (Volkov, Colton)(PP)
14:35 SYR Martel (11), (Foote, Smith)

Third Period
14:29 BEL Dougherty (3), (Formenton)(PP)
17:54 BEL Abramov (15), (Veronneau, Chlapik)(PP)

You know, there's just way too much talent on this Syracuse team to be as mediocre-to-terrible as they've been most of this season. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and Syracuse's talent hasn't had the proper work ethic, consistently, for much of this campaign. And, frankly, if they don't do some serious introspection and realignment of their effort level soon, they're going to miss the postseason. Unthinkable for a team with some of the established stars the team has.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-27-19 Devils at Crunch

Crunch cough up late lead to leave a point on the rink.

BNG-2
SYR-1

Spencer Martin allowed 1 goal on 30 shots before conceding to 1 out of 2 shooters in the penalty shot session for the SO loss. A team as talented as Syracuse is offensively should afford Mr. Martin a bit more goal support than that.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
8:50 SYR Barre-Boulet (12), (Smith, Martel)
17:02 BNG Bastian (4), (McLeod)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
BNG- Maltsev
SYR- NONE

Martin was the game's third star, eventually dropping the goaltending duel with long time NHL vet Cory Schneider.

This team is just really not in a position in the standings to be dropping points by not protecting leads late in games, and when you've got oodles of veteran AHL stars on your club up front, you gotta score more than one rinky dink goal on the last place team in the division. It's an organization-wide thing for most of this year: they should be better than this and it's hard to place a finger on exactly why they're not especially down in Syracuse. Up top (goaltending) the picture's a little clearer.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-23-19 Panthers at Lightning

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmagnificent.

FLA-1
TB-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. I didn't think he looked completely comfortable for the duration of the game, but he also faced so few quality chances that it hardly mattered.

First Period
0:41 TB Point (14), (Cernak, Kucherov)
15:06 TB Hedman (8), (Point, Palat)
18:03 TB Sergachev (6), (Palat)(PP)

Second Period
2:47 FLA Huberdeau (14), (Ekblad, Trocheck)(PP)
5:53 TB Killorn (11), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
9:52 TB Kucherov (13), (Point, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
18:05 TB Hedman (9), (Kucherov, Point)

Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos were the game's three stars.

Lord knows I've seen A LOT of Lightning/Panthers games going all the way back to the two teams' original confrontation at Thunderdome, and I don't think I've ever seen more comprehensive domination than what I saw tonight. Do the Lightning beat the Panthers? Like a drum? Often. Do they beat them up in the process too, though? Now that was something different and special. And, above all, the defensive effort was equally fantastic. I mean, point blank, they emasculated the Florida Panthers. They're back to what Phil Esposito originally tried to gloss them as: the Pussy Cats. There hasn't been a hell of a lot to love about a very mediocre season to date, but wow, tonight was a satisfying treat.

The Lightning pull to within one point of the Pussy Cats and Sabres with games in hand on both teams and those teams tied for third in the division. The Lightning also have some winnable division matchups coming up against Montreal, Buffalo, and Detroit coming up. Suffice it to say, if the team's going to make a push now's the time.

Carter Verheaghe had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 10:07.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:56. He was also 46% on 13 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-21-19 Lightning at Capitals

Lightning fall victim to the Espo Rule.

TB-1
WSH-3

Curtis McElhinney allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the loss. I'd say he deserved better.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:40 WSH Gudas (1), (Eller, Siegenthaler)

Third Period
10:00 TB Kucherov (12), (Point, Palat)
13:57 WSH Orlov (3), (Vrana, Kuznetsov)
17:37 WSH Dowd (3), (Wilson, Orlov)(SH)(EN)

That's a hugely frustrating game where, despite being grossly outpossesed through 40 minutes, McElhinney allowed the Lightning to retain contact. Then, in the Third Period, score effects kicked in and the Lightning tied the game and started getting power play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 after Kucherov tied the game. But Espo's Rule states when a team fails to convert a 5-on-3, they often lose, and that's what happened to Tampa Bay tonight.

The opportunities squandered are just slowly putting Tampa Bay further and further behind the eight ball. With points that were clearly dropped late in the last two games, the team's now in a situation where they'll have to get 10 of the next 12 available points to be on minimum playoff pace again at the 40 game mark of the year. That seems horribly improbably right now considering the team is anti-clutch at the moment.

Mitchell Stephens had 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 7:33.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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