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AHL Game Night 10/20: Monarchs at Falcons

Bolt Prospects will be watching tonight's Falcons home opener on B2 Networks and liveblogging some game notes during the intermissions. Tonight's game sets up as a critical one of several levels. First, with Ryan Craig now out for a month with a knee sprain, several Falcons forwards will be attempting to make a good impression for the organization and earn a callup. For the Lightning/Falcons organization, whatever goodwill Springfield fans had for their new affiliation has all but dried up after two years of struggling and after last weekend's debacle in Norfolk the natives are definitely restless. For Head Coach Steve Stirling, this is the first major test of his leadership as the Falcons' bench boss. After skating his team hard on Tuesday and Wednesday to punish them for their poor play last weekend, will the young Falcons respond? And, finally, there are several subplots for the Lightning's young prospects. Will [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] rebound from a tough weekend and settle into the team's starting role? Will [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url] respond to his healthy scratch in Norfolk and start to lead the Falcons offense as was expected at the start of the year? Will the Falcons young defensemen like [url=mike-egener]Mike Egener[/url], [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url] and [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url] tighten up their play after looking like the Keystone Cops in Norfolk? It's a critical three game weekend set, and anything less than a couple of wins will be a huge disappointment. [b]Starting Lineup:[/b] Blatny/Jones/Milley Rogers/Delmore Ramo MAN-4 SPR-2 Final [b]First Period[/b] 1. MAN- Murphy, (Pushkarev)(PP) 2. SPR- Aulin, (Kvapil, O'Brien)(PP) [b]Second Period[/b] 3. SPR- Blatny, (Delmore, Milley) 4. MAN- Jackman, (Kemp, Harrold)(PP) [b]Third Period[/b] 5. MAN- Kanko, (Harrold) 6. MAN- Murphy, Clarke(EN)

Craig Out One Month

[url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGBHPCXUITE.html]According to Erik Erlendsson of the Trib[/url], Bolt Prospects alumnus and Lightning leading scorer [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] will miss a month after suffering a Grade 2 MCL knee sprain in last night's win against Philadelphia. There is no word yet on a replacement recall from Springfield. Craig had 5 goals and 6 points in 7 games with a team leading +6 rating.

Stirling Holds "Torturella" Style Practices Heading Into Home Opener

John Tortorella wasn't the only coach skating his team hard in practice last week as punishment for a poor performance. [url=http://www.masslive.com/falcons/republican/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1161299402195610.xml&coll=1]According to Garry Brown's column in the Springfield Republican[/url], Steve Stirling held similarly brutal practices Tuesday [i]and[/i] Wednesday after the Falcons' abysmal performance in the final four periods of their two game road trip to Norfolk last weekend. According to Coach Stirling the move came as a reaction to a lack of effort on the Falcons' part. Brown writes, "Stirling said he thought he knew how poorly the team played in Norfolk, but when he looked at the video, it was even worse." Springfield's home opener is tonight against Manchester and is the start of a three game in three night weekend stretch that includes Binghampton Saturday and Bridgeport on Sunday. [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] is expected to get the start tonight and Sunday.

Johnstown Signs MacLean, Places Toffey on IR

[url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=8915]ECHL.com[/url] reports the Johnstown Chiefs have signed tryout defenseman Ian MacLean to a contract and have placed C John Toffey on 3-day Injured Reserve. The league website [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=8912]has also released Johnstown's opening night roster.[/url] Omitted from the list is center Grant Jacobsen who was acquired after the list was released. Johnstown opens their season Saturday night at home against former Lightning affiliate Pensacola and former Lightning player Dwayne Hay.

NHL Game Night 10/19: Flyers at Lightning

It's good to know that even in lean times the Lightning still own Philadelphia. PHI-1 TB-4 Marc Denis stopped 34 of 35 for the win and came painfully close to getting the shutout. Vaclav Prospal emerged from his slumber to score a goal and an assist while Richards and Lecavalier had two helpers each. Craig, Fedotenko and Alexeev had the other goals and St. Louis and Sarich had individual assists. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20062007/GS020096.HTM]NHL.com[/url]. Doug Janik was +2 in 17:17 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots. He's also to be commended for answering the bell against a beast like Ben Eager and finding a way to escape with his head. Eric Perrin had 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 9:55 and was 60% on draws. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] had 1 shot and 2 hits in a scant 3:46. It's important for the team to not get too high off of this win. Philly is on life support and Hitchcock may be just a few hours away from being fired by Bob Clarke. Prospal, who is often overlooked in the talk of "the big three", scoring his first goal is a positive sign but Brad Richards still hasn't scored a goal this year and was squandering opportunities to shoot the puck late in the game because he's still thinking pass first, last and only. Saturday's game against Washington will be a better bellweather of where the team is. On paper the Lightning should always beat the Caps, but as last season's eight game series demonstrated the Caps will take points from you because they will outwork you if you allow them and they have gamebreakers like Ovechkin and, this year, Semin.
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