The Lightning made up one of the two games in hand they had on Southeast Division leading Atlanta and took a somewhat difficult two points from Washington with a 3-2 shootout win. The Lightning pulled within just one point of the Thrashers. The Bolts improved to 8-1 on the year in the shootout, making me a fan of it for as long as this continues.
Marc Denis got a rare start in net and flashed a little glove and little attitude in stopping 36 shots in regulation and overtime and all three shootout attempts to get the win. After making an rubber-arm glove save on Alexander Ovechkin in the third, Denis turned his head and glared at the superstar.
Vincent Lecavalier increased his league-leading goal total to 39 with both of Tampa Bayâ€™s goals in regulation (one PPG, one SHG). Martin St. Louis had the shootout winner as the third shooter for the Lightning. Denis had to make a Hasek-like sprawling save on a deking Matt Pettinger to secure the win. Kudos to Denisâ€™ armpit for that one. Assists on the night went to Dan Boyle, who became the all-time Lightning leader in points for a defenseman, Brad Richards, and St. Louis.
Kudos to Sun Sportsâ€™ Rick Peckham for pointing out Washingtonâ€™s Eric Fehr is the former linemate of Ryan Craig from their WHL days in Brandon. Those guys, along with the Predators' Jordin Tootoo, were dynamite for the Wheat Kings. The Caps also featured Jeff Shultz, a former Calgary Hitmen teammate of Springfieldâ€™s Mike Egener. Shultz was taken in the late first round of the 2004 draft; Egener at the top of the second round in 2003.
Washington 9:07, Alexander Semin 30 (power play) (Dainius Zubrus)
Tampa Bay 2:44, Vincent Lecavalier 38 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 7:05, Vincent Lecavalier 39 (shorthanded) (Martin St. Louis)
Washington 19:45, Dainius Zubrus 20 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay misses: Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards
Tampa Bay goals: Martin St. Louis
Washington misses: Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Pettinger
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Chris Lawrence scored the first two goals of the game as the Mississauga IceDogs clinched a playoff birth with a 4-1 win over fellow Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus and the Owen Sound Attack. Lawrence was also plus-1 and was named the game's third star. Lawrence is now on the cusp of 40 goals for the year, sitting at 39. He is alone in fourth in the league for goals scored, behind John Tavares of Oshawa (55), Patrick Kane of London (51) and Tyler Donati of Belleville (50). Bartanus did not register a point in the game and was minus-1 with a slashing minor. Bartanus has not scored a goal in 24 games.
Not much love for Johnstown in Trenton tonight.
TREN Riddle, (18) (Henkel, Ruggeri), 6:33
TREN Bertoli, (11) (Pandolfo, Riddle), 13:35 (PP)
TREN Pandolfo, (35) (Haggett, Pisellini), 13:32
TREN Riddle, (19) , 5:53 (SH)
TREN Haggett, (14) (Ruggeri, Riddle), 19:35 (PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in Kazan's 3-2 win over Nizhnekamsk.
Denis Kazionov was scoreless in Tver's 4-2 loss to Salavat Yulayev.
Alexei Glukhov was scoreless in Cherepovets' 3-1 win over Khabarovsk.
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless in Yaroslavl's 6-1 pounding of Novokuznetsk.
Vasily Koshechkin was perfect in relief of starter Mike Fountain in Togliatti's 5-4 win against Chelyabinsk. Koshechkin is now 16-12-4 this season. He missed the recent LG Hockey Games while nursing an injury.
Anton But was scoreless in SKA's 6-2 defeat at the hands of Podolsk.
Lion= Lightning, Antelope=Thrashers
Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 26 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist while Martin St. Louis had 1 goal and 2 assists. The other member of the MVP Line, Vaclav Prospal, had helpers in triplicate. Brad Richards dropped 1 goal and 1 assist including a salty game winning slap shot on the power play and Ruslan Fedotenko had a pair of assists. The Lightning's insurance goal came from Eric Perrin and Paul Ranger chipped in 1 assist.
The Lightning temporarily move within 3 points of division leading Atlanta while the Thrashers are playing on the road tonight in Calgary. A little over midway through the game at the Saddledome, Atlanta is down 3-1. If the score holds, the Lightning will not only have shaved a once commanding division lead down to 3 points but they'll still also hold 2 critical games in hand.
Tampa Bay 5:56, Vincent Lecavalier 36 (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 7:52, Martin St. Louis 33 (Vincent Lecavalier, Vaclav Prospal)
Phoenix 8:18, Mike Zigomanis 10 (Oleg Saprykin, Georges Laraque)
Phoenix 11:48, Oleg Saprykin 11 (Keith Ballard, Mike Zigomanis)
Tampa Bay 15:19, Vincent Lecavalier 37 (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)
Phoenix 18:16, Derek Morris 4 (Travis Roche, Shane Doan)
Tampa Bay 1:24, Brad Richards 20 (power play) (Ruslan Fedotenko, Vaclav Prospal)
Tampa Bay 11:45, Eric Perrin 9 (Ruslan Fedotenko, Brad Richards)
Game sheet from NHL.com.