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BP Mailbag: 4-12-14

The BP Mailbag is back after a little hiatus and there are lots of questions to get to.

Let’s get started:

@GeoFitz4:
@BoltProspects If you had the choice between Dan Boyle of Matt Niskanen to bring in during the offseason, who would you pick and why?

@GurraDahlstrand:
@BoltProspects is it just me or is Dan Boyle destined to go to Tampa? A perfect replacement for Salo as a RD playing with Hedman. But it's a short term solution.. You need a longterm partner for Victor. Do you think Sustr has the potential? ?#BPMailbag

Both Niskanen and Boyle are righty puckmovers, which the Lightning desperately need as part of their core. Gudas is a righty, but is a peoplemover more than a puckmover. As for Sustr, he has potential to be a fine 2-way defenseman. We have had some healthy discussions in the BP virtual staffroom about his offensive potential – over 30 points or under? I think under, Pete thinks over. I don’t see him as having the high end offensive IQ that other players like Hedman and Boyle have, and I think he settles in as a 4/5 in the future with limited power play time. Regardless, Sustr has a ways to go before he hits NHL maturity (250-300 games) and may or may not be an offensive catalyst as a player.

NA Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-11-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ Gatineau Olympiques 1
Mooseheads win best-of-7 second round series, 4-1

C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-2-3, E, 0 PIM, 1 Hit, 4 SOG, 11/30 FO
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 9-18-27, +7, 8 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM

Halifax advanced to the league semifinals with a 4-1 win Friday night in Gatineau. Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin had three more points to maintain his three-points-per-game playoff pace. The Mooseheads gave up the first goal, but had a 3-1 lead by the end of the second period. Drouin’s goal came on the power play. He extended his multi-point game streak to 12 and his point streak to 22 games. No game stars were listed. Halifax will wait to see who they play next. Only 2-seeded Halifax and top-seeded Baie-Comeau have advanced to the semifinals.

Ontario Hockey League

Barrie Colts 1 @ North Bay Battalion 4
Battalion lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 3-2

D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 12 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM

D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP: 3-2-5, +1, 13 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM

The home team won again in the series, this time with North Bay holding serve at home vs Barrie, 4-1. Neither Lightning prospect registered a point in the game. The Battalion can close out the series with a road win in Barrie on Sunday. This is the only series still going in the AHL; Guelph, Erie, and Oshawa have all advanced to the conference finals.

Ikonen Makes Syracuse Debut, Crunch Fall to Penguins in Shootout


By Jeremy Houghtaling

During regulation, it was all about the dueling power plays.

Both Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored a pair of power play goals in the first two periods, but the Penguins pushed past the Crunch in a shootout, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

Although it's late for a playoff push, Syracuse has points in seven of its last eight games.

"I've been pretty happy with our game overall," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We're finding a little more offense lately. We're getting some more pucks to the net, and we've got some more finishers on our team now too, which is a good thing."

NHL Game Night: 4-11-14 Blue Jackets at Lightning

One more to go.

CBJ- 2
TB- 3

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 36 of 38 for the victory in his first NHL shot. He was impressive. His quickness and athleticism are striking, and he showed a competitiveness and unwillingness to give up on plays that is also the hallmark of great netminders.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:55 TB Palat (23), (Killorn)(PP)
13:46 CBJ Jenner (16), (Johnson, Johansen)(PP)
14:54 TB Brewer (3), (Paquette)
18:06 TB Brewer (4), (Kostka, Panik)

Third Period
16:37 CBJ Savard (5), (Jenner, Comeau)

Gudlevskis, Eric Brewer, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars. It wasn't the best effort the Lightning have put forward, but Gudlevskis played well and the team capitalized on some shaky netminding by Columbus' McElhinney at the other end of the rink. It wasn't without a price, as Victor Hedman left the game early with a lower body injury and Ondrej Palat left after getting his bell rung on an open ice hit, but at this hour their absence seems more precautionary than anything else (although that's always subject to change).

The Lightning now have 99 points with 1 game to go. Win and they get home ice against Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. Win and they break the 100 point barrier. Win, and they'll cap off one of the best regular seasons in team history.

Mike Kostka had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 20:35. He was forced into extra ice time with Hedman out of the game early, and he handled it reasonably well, even getting his 3rd point in 2 games since returning. Win if you can, survive if Mike Kostka lets you.

Cedric Paquette had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 12:46. He was also 64% on 14 draws, including several wins while the Lightning were trying to stave off Columbus with their goaltender pulled at the end of the game. Good debut by Dump Truck, and I thought the scorekeepers cheated him out of a few hits because I counted 2-3 more. The young man's got a future on the team's fourth line.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-11-14 Penguins at Crunch

Playing out the string, Crunch still sorting out themselves for next season.

WBS-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 2 of 5 to convert in the penalty shot session for the Shootout loss.

First Period
WBS Kobasew, (9) (Ebbett, Dumoulin), 4:46 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (19) (Korobov, Connolly), 8:18 (PP)
SYR DiSalvatore, (11) (Marchessault, Mormina), 16:09 (PP)

Second Period
WBS Kobasew, (10) (Machacek, Dumoulin), 7:28 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WBS- Zlobin, Machachek
SYR- NONE

Yanni Gourde and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's second and third stars. Henri Ikonen made his North American pro debut with 2 shots and he was also unsuccessful in his shootout attempt.

Syracuse remains stuck at 1 game under .500 with 5 games left in their season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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