You know things are bad when Dennis Packard drops a multi-point game on you.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 20 of 24 in the loss. Philippe Sauve stopped 24 of 24 for the shutout for Providence. Former Lightning prospect Dennis Packard was named first star of the game.
PRO Thompson, (6) (Stuart, Packard), 9:02
PRO DiCasmirro, (7) (Rosa, Zinger), 18:52 (SH)
PRO Packard, (4) (Talbot, Glenn), 16:06
PRO Pelletier, (13) (Trevelyan), 9:10
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
The Lightning just answered the bell with remarkable punctuality.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 17 of 18 shots faced in the game for the victory. Consider that for a moment. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and all the impressive firepower the Pittsburgh Penguins can array the Tampa Bay Lightning shut them down and held them to a paltry 18 shots on goal. And Shane O'Brien hasn't yet added his particular talents to this defensive corps.
Brad Richards ran wild on Pittsburgh with 1 goal and 3 assists. Martin St. Louis added 1 goal and 1 assist while Richards' linemates, Eric Perrin and Ruslan Fedotenko, each had 2 assists. Vincent Lecavalier scored his league leading 41st goal, a shorthanded marker, Filip Kuba his 10th and Paul Ranger had his 4th talley of the season. Dan Boyle had an individual assist.
And so, the Lightning fully capitalized on their game in hand on Atlanta and Carolina and have opened up a 3 point lead on the Smirkin' Chikins and a 4 points lead on the Hurricanes with just 18 games remaining in the regular season. The trade deadline is Tuesday. With the addition of one or two more forwards, this is a Stanley Cup contender. The ball is in your court, Jay Feaster.
Tampa Bay 2:17, Martin St. Louis 38 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 3:56, Paul Ranger 4 (Eric Perrin, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 4:58, Filip Kuba 10 (Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Pittsburgh 8:26, Sergei Gonchar 10 (power play) (Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby)
Tampa Bay 1:31, Brad Richards 22 (Eric Perrin, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Tampa Bay 14:16, Vincent Lecavalier 41 (shorthanded) (Martin St. Louis)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Sudbury 5 @ Mississauga 4 (Shootout)
The IceDogs dropped their second straight home game to a team behind them in the conference standings, this time losing out on one point in a 5-4 shootout loss to Sudbury. The Wolves are 14 points behind Mississauga in the Central Division. Chris Lawrence scored his career-high 40th goal of the year in the loss, and was also even with charging and hooking minors. Lawrence shot first for the IceDogs in the shootout, but did not score.
London 3 @ Owen Sound 6
Despite having first rounders Bobby Ryan and Bobby Sanguinetti, Owen Sound sits third-worst in the Western Conference at 64 points. However, the Attack has clinched a playoff spot because all but two teams make it in and Erie (29 points) and Windsor (39) are so bad. London, on the other hand, has a league-best 90 points. This proves why games are played on the ice and not on computer screens as the Attack soundly beat the Knights 6-3 Saturday night. Marek Bartanus was scoreless and minus-1 in the game.
Ottawa 7 @ Erie 3
The good news is Erie finally held a team under 30 shots against (27), but the bad news is they still gave up 7 goals. Kevin Beech was responsible for a lot of those as he stopped just 20 of 25 shots before being pulled after 2 periods. His backup, Jonathan Laniel, stopped 0 of 2 in the third period when the 67â€™s called off the dogs.
Prince George 6 @ Kamloops 3
Vladimir Mihalik had two power play assists to help the Cougars defeat the Blazers in Kamploops, 6-3. Mihalik was even with an interference minor in the fight-filled game.
Everett 1 @ Seattle 4
Dane Crowley was a team worst minus-4 in Everettâ€™s 4-1 loss to the Thunderbirds in Seattle.
With the departure of Gerald Coleman to Anaheim's organization in the Shane O'Brien trade, we have removed Coleman from the prospects page. As a consequence, all prospects behind Coleman have moved up one spot each and we have selected winger Zbynek Hrdel to occupy the #25 spot in our rankings. Coleman is the second top-25 prospect to be traded since Bolt Prospects released it's Midterm Rankings in January, Andre Deveaux being the first.
Final nail in the Nailers' coffin?
Some context: entering this two game set in Wheeling the Nailers' head coach bombastically guaranteed that Wheeling would win both of these rivalry games and begin their climb out of the North Division basement. How'd that work out for him? Ahhhh, not so well.
Morgan Cey improved to 6-2 on the month by stopping 45 of 48 shots faced tonight. The Chiefs were led by Stanislav Lascek's 2 goals, including the critical overtime game winner. Lascek's point streak reaches 4 games after going 5 games without hitting the scoresheet. Lascek has 4 goals and 6 points with 6 penalty minutes and a +2 rating over that span with 19 shots on goal. Ben Wallace had 1 goal and 1 assist in the game while rookie Radek Smolenak had a pair of assists. Grant Jacobsen had the other Chiefs goal and Bryan Nathe, Ryan Gibbons, Randy Rowe, Gus Katsuras and Maxime Boisclair all had individual helpers.
The Chiefs appeared to have the game won with Wallace's goal coming with 40 seconds left in regulation but the Nailers responded 30 seconds later to force overtime. Nevertheless, the Nailers still found themselves 11 points behind Johnstown at the end of the night with their playoff chances on life support. Johnstown improves to 2 games over .500 and their win, coupled with a Dayton loss tonight, moves them back into a playoff spot in 5th place in the tightly compacted North Division. Johnstown is just 7 points back of 1st place Cincinnati and 4 points back of 3rd place Trenton with a game in hand. The top three teams in the North Division will receive a first round bye in the playoffs.
WHE Bissonnette, (8) (Collins), 13:43
JHN Jacobsen, (4) (Gibbons, Boisclair), 19:29
JHN Lascek, (11) (Katsuras, Smolenak), 4:47
WHE Guenther, (23) (Bissonnette, Cameron), 16:04 (PP)
JHN Wallace, (1) (Nathe, Rowe), 19:20
WHE Guenther, (24) (Moren, Cameron), 19:50
JHN Lascek, (12) (Wallace, Smolenak), 2:13 (PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.