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Liiga Game Day: 12-26-16

Pelicans 3 vs. SaiPa 2 (OT)
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 26 GP, 2-4-6, -4, 39 PIM

Saku Salminen was scoreless in 8:06 of ice time in SaiPa's 3-2 OT loss to Pelicans Lahti. Journeyman Justin Hodgman had the OT winner and a pair of helpers in the win for Pelicans.

Bolts Sign Joseph to Rookie Contract

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mathieu Joseph to a three-year, entry-level contract on Christmas Eve, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Joseph, 6-foot-1, 172 pounds, has played in 29 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season, notching 25 goals and 45 points. He is tied for the league lead for goals and is also tied for third for shorthanded goals with four, tied for fourth for power play goals with nine and tied for second for plus/minus with a plus-23 rating.

MHL Game Day: 12-25-16

Spartak Jr. 1 vs. Yaroslavl Jr. 5
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., DNP
Season totals: 24 GP, 0-0-0, -4, 50 PIM

Oleg Sosunov is no longer listed on Loko Jr.'s roster as of this weekends two game set against Spartak Jr. Bolt Prospects will do some digging to see whether Sosunov has been demoted to MHL-B or if another transaction is in the offing.

KHL Game Day: 12-25-16

Nizhnekamsk 0 vs. St. Petersburg 4
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 7 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 18-33-51, +30, 6 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a garbage time power play goal, a game-opening power play assist, and an even strength assist sandwiched in between in SKA's 4-0 blanking of Nizhnekamsk. Gusev played 17:50 in the match and had a game high 7 shots on goal. The 3 point effort sets a new career high in points for Gusev at 51 through 38 games, which surpasses his total of 49 points in 56 games last year. He moves back to third in the KHL in scoring behind only Sergei Mozyakin of Magnitogorsk and his teammate and former NHL'er Ilya Kovalchuk. Ex-Isles pick Mikko Koskinen turned aside all 30 shots he faced for SKA for the shutout victory.

MHL Game Day: 12-24-16

Spartak Jr. 0 vs. Yaroslavl Jr. 3
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., DNP
Season totals: 24 GP, 0-0-0, -4, 50 PIM

Ilya Konovalov posted a 21 save shutout in Loko Jr.'s 3-0 win over Spartak Jr.

NHL Game Night: 12-23-16 Lightning at Capitals

Schedule and injuries victimize the Lightning.

TB-0
WSH-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 24 shots for the loss before being lifted for Kristers Gudlevskis, who stopped all 3 shots he saw in garbage time. I wasn't in love with the 1st and 4th goals Vasilevskiy gave up, not that this atrocity was his fault.

First Period
0:55 WSH Carlson (2), (Alzner, Wilson)
15:42 WSH Carlson (3), (Johansson, Backstrom)

Second Period
10:48 WSH Ovechkin (15), (Orlov)

Third Period
8:33 WSH Johansson (13), (Backstrom)

No chance. The Lightning got to Washington at 2:30 am last night after their game against St. Louis already hobbled with multiple injuries. You had guys like Bournival who have played something like 6 of the last 8 days along with the travel. Stralman looked like he was completely running on fumes. This was a schedule loss, plain and simple, and it was made worse by fatigue leading to multiple injuries. Drouin and Coburn went out. Hedman went out and came back in. The Lightning would've been better off not getting of the plane and declaring this a no contest. This schedule in the first three months of the year has been as vicious as I think I've seen in the league for a Lightning team. They've been grinded down into the ground and they just collapsed under the weight of it tonight.

Unfortunately, halfway through this fourth ten game segment of the season, the Lightning need 7 of a possible 10 remaining points in the segment just to tread water and not dig their hole deeper in their playoff pursuit. Fortunately, the Lightning do have a glut of home games and hopefully a glut of guys returning from injury to try to make some hey with over the course of those five games.

Brayden Point was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 19:35.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:34.

Tanner Richard was -1 with 2 hits and he was 38% on 13 draws in 16:07.

You get a minus. And, you get a minus. And, YOU get a minus!

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 12-23-16

Togliatti 2 vs. St. Petersburg 3 (OT)
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 17-31-48, +29, 6 PIM

Nikita Gusev had a power play goal and assisted on the OT power play winner in SKA's 3-2 win over Lada Togliatti. Gusev played 15:08 in the win. Vadim Shipachyov had the OT winner for SKA to go with a pair of assists. Gusev now has 48 points in 37 games this season, which is 1 point off his career high of 49 points set in 56 games between SKA and Yugra last year.

NHL Game Night: 12-22-16 Blues at Lightning

The Bournival Ultimatum: Beat St. Louis.

STL-2
TB-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the victory. The good ones respond to giving up a couple in the opening frame by shutting the door the rest of the way. That's exactly what Vasilevskiy did tonight.

First Period
14:11 STL Perron (9), (unassisted)
14:43 STL Megan (1), (Reaves, Edmundson)

Second Period
9:48 TB Boyle (8), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)
17:27 TB Bournival (1), (Garrison, Brown)

Third Period
5:25 TB Killorn (11), (Stralman, Hedman)
18:20 TB Drouin (9), (Filppula, Stralman)
19:29 TB Drouin (10), (Hedman, Filppula)(EN)

Alex Killorn, Brian Boyle, and Jonathan Drouin were the game's three stars.

Just when you think the team is ready to collapse under the weight of the bloated, overfed injury bug that has feasted on the roster all year, the Lightning show the pride of an elite franchise and rise from the ashes. The Lightning went tonight without Paquette and Namestnikov, which led to the quick recall of Michael Bournival and playing Nikita Nesterov at forward (by the way, let's not be quick to dismiss the whole "Nesterov to forward" idea). The Lightning came out and played a sloppy First Period falling behind 2-0. Vultures were circling. Anton Stralman was threatening to politely go postal in the intermission interview. And then, the Lightning resolved to tighten up their game, and the final 40 minutes became a Lightning clinic. Bournival, fresh off the airplane, tied the game on a tip late in the Second Period setting the stage for a Third Period that was punctuated by Jonathan Drouin literally breaking a goaltender on a deke. Not figuratively. In basketball, they talk about a guard figuratively breaking a defender's ankles with a cross over. So sudden and nasty was Drouin's deke left to right on the Lightning's fourth goal that he literally broke Jake Allen. I don't think I've ever seen that in a game. Mercy. Merci.

Brayden Point had 2 shots and 1 hit in 18:46 and was 29% on 7 draws. He had a turnover in the First Period that ended up in the back of the Lightning net, which is a rare mistake this year for a player who has shown maturity beyond his years.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:24.

Tanner Richard was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:37. He was also 83% on his 6 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Episode 82

This is this week’s “Carle-Stralman” edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:

· Will the real Tampa Bay Lightning please stand up?
· Down goes Bishop
· Gudlevskis vs Wilcox
· Bishop vs Vasilevskiy
· Expansion draft paralyzing trade market
· Love for Boko
· WJC watch

Erne Registers Four Points, But Crunch Fall to Wolf Pack


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne had a hand in every Syracuse goal, but the Crunch came up short.

The Syracuse forward netted a pair of goals and assists for his first four-point night as a pro, but the depleted Crunch fell to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

Three of the Crunch’s six leading scorers are on recall to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Obviously, we want to win hockey games regardless of the lineup,” Erne said. “I don’t think that’s really an excuse for us. I think we need to find a way to win these games.”

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