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Peaking at the right time?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the victory. Bridgeport made a big push in the Third Period, outshooting Syracuse 19-7 and getting a couple of goals, but Gudlevskis was ultimately able to get Syracuse over the finish line to secure the win.
SYR Angelidis, (19) (Ashton, Gourde), 2:41 (PP)
BRI Quine, (19) (Mayfield, Pelech), 15:36
SYR Martindale, (12) (Kunyk, Marchessault), 3:06
SYR Dotchin, (6) (Mormina, Marchessault), 14:31 (PP)
BRI Jeffrey, (22) (Ness), 5:21
SYR Vermin, (10) (Courtnall, Angelidis), 9:48
BRI McMillan, (3) (Sundstrom, Vaughan), 17:26
The game got a little nasty in the Second Period, with matching ejections that led to Carter Ashton's early departure from the game for being involved in a secondary altercation.
Note that none of the Crunch's recent ATO signees, including highly touted Brayden Point, made their debuts tonight. More additions could be on the way with goaltender Adam Wilcox and Minnesota already knocked out of the NCAA Tournament tonight and Matthew Peca's Quinnipiac Bobcats down 3-0 early in the Second Period at the time of this posting. Both highly touted prospects could possibly make an immediate contribution at the AHL level.
Syracuse leapfrogs over Hershey into the second seed with the win. They're 4 points behind Manchester for the top spot in the conference (and the league) with the Monarchs holding a game in hand. The Crunch have 10 games left in the regular season, which is a nice time to go on a tear like the current, ongoing 4 game winning streak.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Goaltending betrays the Lightning in its moment of need.
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 11 shots for the loss before getting lifted in the Second Period. 1-2 of those goals were the semi-soft variety. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 8 shots he faced in relief, but he didn't look super-sharp himself, particularly with his rebound control. It was just a rare off night for the tandem on a night where they were dueling with one of the league's best in Rinne.
3:28 NSH Ribeiro (14), (Josi)
4:08 NSH Gaustad (4), (Beck)
19:31 TB Namestnikov (7), (Sustr, Barberio)
6:47 NSH Santorelli (12), (Jarnkrok, Stalberg)
13:19 TB Boyle (15), (Brown, Drouin)
Just a shame to see a reasonably good effort squandered by lackluster goaltending. The Lightning outshot Nashville 30-19 and completely dominated large swaths of play, but they were 0-for-5 on the power play and could not get the equalizer. The silver lining is that Montreal is losing 4-1 to Winnipeg in the Third Period as I type. If that score holds up, there's no harm and the Lightning will still be 1 point out in the division with time to catch up. They could've easily gotten 1-2 points out of tonight, though, and that's the part that stings a bit.
Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and 1 shot in 10:18. This went about the way most of his games have gone lately where he gets IT and looks dangerous offensively for the first 25 minutes or so of play, and then sees the pine the rest of the way as the coaching staff taps some guys who are perhaps a little more consistent defensively. He's been very good offensively though with his speed and handles, to the extent that the team is maneuvering to try and keep him on the roster right now. He's 5 games shy of graduation from prospect status on the site now.
(Tampa Bay Lightning release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Brayden Point to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Additionally, Point has signed an AHL amateur try out contract to play the remainder of the 2014-15 season with the Syracuse Crunch.
Phantoms never had a ghost of a chance.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He's won 5 straight starts and put together 4 straight quality starts in the process. His save percentage has steadily risen to .904 and he's building up confidence necessary for a solid playoff run.
SYR Mormina, (4) (Kunyk), 11:46 (SH)
SYR Marchessault, (20) , 8:45
SYR Koekkoek, (5) (Martindale, Gourde), 10:56
SYR Marchessault, (21) , 2:19 (SH)
SYR Courtnall, (7) (Vermin), 4:47
SYR Martindale, (11) (Courtnall, Dotchin), 8:12
LV Jones, (7) (Comrie, Gordon), 9:22 (PP)
Jonathan Marchessault, Justin Courtnall, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. Marchessault is currently tied for 6th in the league in scoring. Courtnall's got 5 points and a +5 rating in 7 games since joining the Crunch. At this rate, maybe the Lightning should've signed him the first run through the organization?
It's been a long road, but Syracuse has closed back within 1 point of Hershey for the 2nd seed in the conference. For the longest time, they looked to be locked into the 3 seed, but they're playing themselves into a spot to challenge for better position.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory. You hate to see a goaltender allow 3 in under 3 minutes like he did in the Second Period, but you applaud the mental toughness to not allow anything else the rest of the way.
5:49 TB Morrow (3), (Brown)
7:47 TB Johnson (26), (Callahan)
6:16 FLA Jokinen (7), (Boyes, Gudbranson)
6:34 FLA Pirri (18), (Trocheck)
8:14 FLA Huberdeau (12), (Barkov, Jagr)
1:30 TB Kucherov (27), (Sustr, Palat)
17:32 TB Callahan (22), (Killorn, Stamkos)
Ryan Callahan and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and second stars.
The Lightning didn't deserve a damned thing out of this game. Clearly they talked about their tendency to come out flat in games like these against lesser opposition and they quickly stormed out to the 2-0 lead. But, after the refs gifted a phantom boarding call on Kucherov to the Panthers, and the PK surrendered 5 SOG's in 2 minutes, Florida had the momentum pretty much the rest of the game. It was only by the grace of a great individual play by Kucherov on his wraparound goal and a horrific softie by Luongo on Callahan's goal that Tampa Bay escaped with 2 points. And, yeah, you'll take it, but it's another frustrating example of the team's mental weakness in games like these. It's weird to say you'd rather see top-tier opponents rather than the Jets and Panthers of the world, but you know the team simply hasn't put a 60 minute effort together anytime recently against opponents like the Jets or Panthers.
As I type, the Lightning have moved into a tie with Montreal at 99 points, with the Canadiens just having their game with Nashville tied at 2-2. We'll see how the rest of the night unfolds, but the pressure is still on Montreal to keep their meager lead atop the Atlantic Division.
Vladislav Namestnikov had 1 shot in 12:47. Like most of his teammates, his play evaporated in the final 40 minutes of action as they got pinned up in their own zone time and time again.