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NHL Game Night: 12-16-16 Lightning at Canucks

Self-inflicted gunshot wound claims Lightning's collective foot.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. One of those goals was an egregious soft goal that, as soft goals often are, became the margin in this game, sans the meaningless empty netter at the end of the contest. After seemingly pulling even with Ben Bishop about a month ago, Vasilevskiy has slid back a little bit as his game has sagged a little behind the Lightning's dubious defensive efforts.

First Period
6:31 TB Hedman (6), (Filppula, Boyle)

Second Period
1:37 VAN Sutter (8), (Granlund, Eriksson)
13:25 VAN Sbisa (1), (Burrows, Baertschi)

Third Period
3:53 TB Conacher (1), (Drouin, Hedman)(PP)
7:46 VAN Horvat (9), (Eriksson, Granlund)(PP)
19:13 VAN Burrows (6), (Horvat)(EN)

Victor Hedman was, rightfully, the game's second star. He's really elevated his play so far on this road trip.

There are plenty of excuses that could be made for this defeat. Horvat's game winner was a bit of a freak goal on a horribly unlucky bounce that nobody could really be faulted with. The Lightning are also now playing without Stamkos, Kucherov, and Palat. Etc. Etc. Ultimately, though, excuses are irrelevant in the cold calculus of the standings. Against a lower rung team like Vancouver, the Lightning simply have to find ways to manufacture points or they're going to slide so far behind schedule that their playoff hopes cannot recover.

Brayden Point was -3 with 2 shots and 2 hits and he was 50% on 10 draws in 15:36.

Slater Koekkoek was -2 with 1 hit in 14:25. Lost a board battle cleanly to allow Vancouver's first goal.

Joel Vermin had 1 blocked shot in 9:07.

Box score and extended statistics from

CHL Game Night: 12-16-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Chicoutimi Sagueneens 1 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 6

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 1-4-5, +5, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 0 Hits, *First Star*
Season Totals: 27 GP, 21-17-38, +8, 32 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Yan was first star Friday as the Cataractes beat up on the Sags, 6-1. He has five goals and six assists in his last three games.

NOTE: The Halifax-Saint John game (Somppi vs Imama) was postponed due to weather.

Ontario Hockey League

Saginaw Spirit 3 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, *First Star*
Season: 31 GP, 14-12-26, +4, 22 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

Katchouk scored shorthanded as the Soo built a 4-0 lead and subsequently allowed three third period goals. A late empty-netter sealed the deal.

Niagara IceDogs 2 @ Oshawa Generals 5

W/C Christopher Paquette, NIA: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 30 GP, 11-14-25, -6, 14 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 57 GP, 5-11-16, -6, 18 PIM

The Gens completed a season sweep of Niagara with a 5-2 win Friday.

Peterborough Petes 4 @ Kingston Frontenacs 3 (OT)

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 24 GP, 3-12-15, +9, 25 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 60 GP, 5-19-24, -4, 46 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

Peterborough lost a 3-0 third period lead, but prevailed in overtime. Spencer had two assists in the Petes’ impressive 3-1 win over second-ranked (CHL) London.

Western Hockey League

Regina Pats 4 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 5

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 19 GP, 14-15-29, +6, 15 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Moose Jaw played a strong defensive third period, propelling them to a 5-4 win over the high-powered Pats. They lost a 2-0 lead early, falling behind 4-2 late in the first period, then scored the game's final three goals in the second period to steal the win. Regina is the top-ranked team in the CHL, coming into Friday at 21-2-6-0.

NOTE: The following players are with Team Canada in preparation for the World Junior Championships: Anthony Cirelli, Taylor Raddysh, Mitchell Stephens, Connor Ingram, Mathieu Joseph. Libor Hajek is with Team Czech Republic.

Liiga Game Day: 12-16-16

SaiPa 1 vs. KooKoo 2
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 2-4-6, -4, 39 PIM

Saku Salminen had the primary assist on SaiPa's lone goal in their 2-1 loss to KooKoo. He played 7:46 in the match. Ex-NHL journeyman Josh Green had the game winner for KooKoo.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Episode 81

This week’s “Jonathan Marchessault Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:

· The No. 81
· Marchessault vs Norfolk, Syracuse
· Young players and ice time
· Pinpointing the Lightning’s holes so far this year
· Big contracts don’t equal big production
· Yzerplan not working (or being allowed to work?) on D
· How to fix things and who/what could be expendable
· Holes in D depth, though positives rising
· Interview with and about Jake Dotchin
· World Juniors watch
· MacLeod rumors

(Note: The #BPMailbag will be in a separate edition this week.)

CHL Game Night: 12-14-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Acadie-Bathurst Titan 5 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 21/34 FO, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 27 GP, 6-13-19, -4, 18 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 59 GP, 13-33-46, -15, 25 PIM

Somppi took nearly three times the amount of faceoffs as anyone else on the team, but despite the ice time went scoreless in a loss to the Titan. He has failed to register a point in six of his last eight games. Somppi was passed over for Finland’s selection camp in preparation for the World Junior Championships despite his U17 and U18 international experience.

Ontario Hockey League

Sudbury Wolves 4 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 (OT)

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season: 30 GP, 13-12-25, +5, 22 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 63 GP, 24-27-51, +7, 61 PIM

Katchouk broke a four-game scoreless streak with an assist in the Soo’s overtime loss to Sudbury.

Western Hockey League

Prince Albert Raiders 1 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 4

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 18 GP, 14-13-27, +6, 13 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 68 GP, 24-40-64, -7, 61 PIM

Howden was back in the Warriors’ lineup quickly after being released from Team Canada earlier in the week. He had an assist in Moose Jaw’s 4-1 win over Prince Albert Wednesday. Howden is a very strong candidate to be on Canada’s WJC entry next Christmas.

NOTE: The following players are with Team Canada in preparation for the World Junior Championships: Anthony Cirelli, Taylor Raddysh, Mitchell Stephens, Connor Ingram, Mathieu Joseph. Libor Hajek is with Team Czech Republic.

NHL Game Night: 12-14-16 Lightning at Flames

Lightning close clunker of a season segment with a critical win.


Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the victory. That's not a sexy stat line and it wasn't a flawless night from Bishop in terms of positioning and rebound control, but he had 2-3 really crucial situational saves that helped the team earn the win. At this juncture, those are way more important in the grand scheme of things.

First Period
3:06 CGY Brouwer (7), (Monahan, Brodie)(PP)
10:04 TB Boyle (5), (Hedman, Johnson)(PP)
13:42 TB Boyle (6), (Filppula, Hedman)

Second Period
4:40 TB Coburn (1), (Killorn, Namestnikov)
18:47 TB Sustr (1), (Filppula, Hedman)

Third Period
0:37 TB Killorn (9), (unassisted)(SH)
3:59 CGY Brodie (2), (Gaudreau, Brouwer)(PP)
4:20 CGY Ferland (5), (Stajan, Bouma)
19:15 TB Killorn (10), (Filppula)(EN)

Brian Boyle and Victor Hedman were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning desperately needed this game, and even with Nikita Kucherov out of the lineup they handled Calgary in fairly convincing fashion. The penalty kill is still not fully well having allowed 2 more power play markers in this contest, and Bishop wasn't textbook in net, but overall a lot of players started to get well in this game and the team carried the balance of 5 on 5 play by a reasonable margin. In particular, the most hopeful sign to me was a rebound performance by Victor Hedman in all three zones. Assists in triplicate stand out on the scoresheet, but some key situational defensive plays were equally as important. Hedman hasn't been making those plays consistently during this slump and has been handing out some bad turnovers. That was cleaned up in this game and it's no coincidence the team plays a lot better when Victor's playing his A game.

With the third 10-game segment of the season in the books, the Lightning sit at 32 points, which is 4 points off the pace you'd like them to be at for the season (technically, 3 points back of Boston for the closest playoff spot in the actual standings with 1 game in hand). They had just 7 of the preferred 12 points in this last segment after being a point ahead of pace through 20 games. Being 4 points behind isn't great, but it's manageable provided the Lightning start to put together successful 10-game segments from here on out. Last season they went on a long winning streak to cancel out a mid-season deficit, but you can't always count on those kind of tears to get you out of trouble. A more reasonable strategy is to aim at seeing if they can get 13-14 points out of this next 10-game stretch and start to whittle that number down until they get back on pace after another 20-30 games. Bottom line: if they had lost this game it might've been time to get panicky. The win tonight puts them in a position to weather the storm if they keep tightening up their game without too much undue hardship.

Brayden Point was +1 with 1 shot and was a gaudy 78% on 9 draws in 15:40.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 3 shots and 3 blocked shots in 13:38.

Joel Vermin had 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 13:52.

Box score and extended statistics from

Five Bolt Prospects Secure Spots on Team Canada

Hockey Canada made its final cuts tonight for their 2017 World Junior Championships entry, and five Lightning prospects will wear the red and white.

Goalie Connor Ingram will share the nets with Flyers prospect Carter Hart, though reports so far from selection camp say Hart is in the lead for the top spot.

At forward, C/W Mitchell Stephens returns for Canada and welcomes first-timers and fellow Bolt prospects Mathieu Joseph (W), Anthony Cirelli (C), and Taylor Raddysh (W).

Lightning 2016 first rounder Brett Howden was cut from Canada's camp earlier this week. He's eligible for the team next year and will likely be a participant.

Stephens may wear a letter this year for Canada. Cirelli will be counted on as a defensive center and Joseph will likely be on the bottom two lines as an energy guy with scoring ability. Raddysh could be the 13th forward dressed and fill in on a scoring line when needed. Brayden Point started the tournament two years ago as the 13th forward and ended up a big part of Canada's run. He was captain last year.

Wednesday night against the Czechs, Raddysh had two goals and Stephens and Cirelli each added one. Ingram stopped every shot he faced in half-a-game of action.

This is by far the most Lightning prospects to play for one Canadian team. The previous high was two when Dustin Tokarski and Dana Tyrell made the team in 2009. Tyrell, who had a huge hit on Sweden's Victor Hedman in a pre-tournament game, never made the tournament due to an injury.

Recent Lightning prospects to play for Team Canada include Point (twice - last year as captain), Jonathan Drouin (twice), and Brett Connolly.

This year's tournament runs from December 26 to January 5, hosted by Montreal and Toronto, Canada.

It's not uncommon for the Lightning under Steve Yzerman to reward WJC participants with contracts, and Joseph is due one by spring. If one is signed, it may be Joseph, though Ingram was passed over in the draft last year and could be signed now for Syracuse next year. Raddysh, who's had a tremendous season for OHL Erie, could get a contract, though he'll return to juniors next year. Stephens and Cirelli are already signed.

Libor Hajek is currently in the Czech Republic's camp. Otto Somppi did not make Finland's. Jonne Tammela (Finland) remains injured and therefore isn't an option for Finland as expected.

(Graphic by @thegrlonthewall)

Liiga Game Day: 12-14-16

Jukurit 1 vs. SaiPa 3
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 2-3-5, -5, 39 PIM

Saku Salminen was scoreless in 8:44 of ice time in SaiPa's 3-1 win over Jukurit. Ex-Canadiens farmhand Brock Trotter had a pair of helpers in the win for SaiPa.

Dotchin Working To Be More Than Stay-At-Home Defenseman

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jake Dotchin is adding more facets to his game in his third pro season.

Despite being known more as a physical people-mover than a flashy puck-mover, the Crunch blueliner is coming off a career week statistically. Dotchin registered five points and was a plus-five on Syracuse’s three-game homestand last week.

Dotchin is working to become more than a traditional stay-at-home defenseman.

“I think I’ve come a long way in the defensive zone, and I’m just bringing more aspects to my game now,” Dotchin said. “Bringing more offense will not only help me, but help the team win as well.”

MHL Game Day: 12-13-16

Yaroslavl Jr. 7 vs. Dynamo Moscow Jr. 4
Oleg Sosunov, Yaroslavl Jr., 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 0-0-0, -4, 50 PIM

Loko Jr. flipped the results of yesterday's match by defeating Dynamo Jr. by a score of 7-4.

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