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NHL Game Night: 10-18-18 Red Wings at Lightning

Lightning win ugly... but they do win.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. Played really well in the Second Period, in particular, while the team in front of him slumbered.

First Period
7:33 TB Point (4), (Gourde, Palat)

Second Period
6:20 DET Glendening (1), (Daley, Abdelkader)
15:19 TB Stamkos (1), (Kucherov, Sergachev)

Third Period
18:53 TB Killorn (2), (McDonagh)(EN)

Vasilevskiy and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars.

That game was not artistic, and at times had the feel of the debacle against Vancouver. The team came out and played an assertive 20 minutes to get the 1-0 lead and then took their foot off the gas in the Second Period. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard and the Lightning were very lucky to emerge from the middle frame with a lead. My guess is Jon Cooper may have made his team aware of that fact, because the first ten minutes of the Third Period they came out a house of fire and only Howard's goaltending kept the game close. In the end, the Lightning get out of the barn with the W against an inferior club. It's a result-oriented business, so that's good, especially considering the team finished this season-opening homestand 4-1-0. But, there's room for improvement in terms of consistency of effort, suffice it to say.

I think the Monstars have stolen Nikita Kucherov's game, but I'm not 100% certain.

Mathieu Joseph was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:52.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 12:21 and a gaudy 77% on 13 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Acquire F Mitch Hults from the Ducks

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Mitch Hults from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for future considerations, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Additionally, the team announced that Hults will be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch.

Hults, 23, has appeared in two games with the San Diego Gulls this season, posting one assist and five shots on goal. He skated in 53 games during the 2017-18 regular season with San Diego, recording 10 goals and 24 points to go along with eight penalty minutes. Five of his 10 goals last season were scored on the man-advantage.

The 6-foot-2, 207-pound forward has appeared in 61 career AHL games, all with the Gulls over three seasons, registering 11 goals and 29 points. Hults skated in two Calder Cup Playoff games in 2017, scoring one goal. Prior to signing a two-year entry level contract as a free agent with the Ducks on March 20, 2017, Hults played two seasons at Lake Superior State University, collecting 20 goals and 54 points in 76 games.

Lightning Extend Conacher; Place Him on Waivers

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cory Conacher to a one-year, one-way contract for the 2019-20 season worth $700,000 AAV, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Conacher, 28, has skated in one game with the Lightning this season, the Bolts’ 2-1 shootout victory against the Florida Panthers on opening night. He appeared in 36 games with the Lightning during the 2017-18 season, notching eight goals and 12 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes. The Burlington, Ontario native also played in 18 games with the Crunch last season, recording seven goals and 15 points.

The 5-foot-8, 182-pound forward has skated in 189 NHL games, posting 28 goals and 74 points to go along with 114 penalty minutes. Conacher’s eight goals last season were the most he’s notched since the 2012-13 season when he recorded 11 while splitting time between the Lightning and Ottawa Senators. Conacher has also skated in 240 AHL games, registering 91 goals and 228 points.

Conacher was undrafted out of Canisius College and was originally signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay on July 5, 2011.

Note: According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the Lighting placed Conacher on waivers today although he was at practice today which means a reassignment to Syracuse (AHL) might not be imminent.

NHL Game Night: 10-16-18 Hurricanes at Lightning

Opportunistic Lightning edge upstart 'Canes.

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Louis Domingue shined, allowing 2 goals on 40 shots for the victory. There was no dropoff with Vasilevskiy getting the night off, and just like Vasilevskiy the Dominguenator was the team's best penalty killer tonight.

First Period
10:25 CAR Ferland (4), (Teravainen, Aho)
12:42 TB Johnson (1), (Joseph, Girardi)(SH)

Second Period
6:07 TB Johnson (2), (Erne, Miller)
12:48 CAR Necas (1), (Foegele, Zykov)

Third Period
7:02 TB Gourde (2), (Palat)(PP)
18:04 TB Johnson (3), (Kucherov, Girardi)(EN)

Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, and Domingue were the game's three stars.

Make no mistake, the Lightning were not as sharp as their opponent. Carolina looks in March form, particularly in their transition game, and they gave the Lightning fits for much of this game. Tampa Bay manufactured a win with excellent goaltending and by capitalizing on their lone power play of the night in which they cashed in on a blown Calvin DeHaan clearing attempt. Once they got the lead, they put the stranglehold on the young Canes to keep it, defensively, and that's how an elite team staves off a team like Carolina when they aren't exactly in midseason form.

Four games into the schedule the Lightning have six points, meaning they need six points in the next six games to hit the initial ten game segment goal.

Mathieu Joseph had a helper, his first NHL point, in 12:15. Blew past old man Justin Williams like he was standing still to create a shorthanded 2-on-1.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:50. He was also 47% on 15 draws.

Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 9:37. Feathered a nice pass in transition to spring Johnson on Tyler's second goal. It was probably Erne's most impactful game of the season thus far.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Game Night: 10-14-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Baie-Comeau Drakkar 1 @ Rimouski Oceanic 4

C/W Gabriel Fortier, BC: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 3/7 FO, 3 Hits
Season Totals: 11 GP, 5-9-14, +9, 7 PIM
17-18 Totals: 66 GP, 26-33-59, -11, 59 PIM

D Radim Salda, RIM: Did not play
17-18 Totals (SJ): 62 GP, 10-31-41, -37, 78 PIM

Fortier scored his fifth goal of the year to open the game’s scoring, but Rimouski — still without Radim Salda — eventually ran away with the contest.
Ontario Hockey League

Kitchener Rangers 1 @ Saginaw Spirit 2

C Alexey Lipanov, KIT: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 7/14 FO
Season Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (BAR, SBY): 55 GP, 14-25-39, -14, 10 PIM

Lipanov is still looking for his first point as a member of the Rangers. Kitchener dropped a close 2-1 decision in Saginaw Sunday. Minnesota fifth rounder (2018) Damien Giroux had the game-winner for the Spirit.

NCAA Game Night: 10-13-18

#6 Minnesota Gophers 7 @ USA U18 Team 1 (Exhibition)

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, MINN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
’17-‘18 Totals: 38 GP, 0-9-9, +1, 40 PIM

F Sammy Walker, MINN: 0-0-0, +3, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM

A week after toppling top-ranked Minnesota-Duluth going 1-0-1 in their weekend series, the Golden Gophers took the weekend off for exhibition play against the U.S. National U18 Team. After holding the high-powered Gophers to just 2 goals in the first 40 minutes, Team USA couldn’t hold off a 5-goal 3rd period by Minnesota. Rem Pitlick (NAS, 2016 3rd round pick) scored twice and added an assist to lead the Gophers offensively along with a two-goal performance by Joey Marooney (undrafted). Judd Caulfield (2019 draft eligible) scored early in the 3rd for Team USA to close the Minnesota lead to 2-1, but the Gophers exploded for five unanswered. Eric Schierhorn (undrafted) made 29 saves on 30 shots. Zuhlsdorf and Walker and the rest of the Golden Gophers will play another exhibition next Saturday against Western Trinity University.

#3 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 5 @ #19 Michigan Tech Huskies 2

F Cole Koepke, UMD: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 4 GP, 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM

Bolt prospect Cole Koepke picked up his 2nd assist of the season as the Bulldogs completed the weekend sweep of Michigan Tech. After a scoreless 1st period, the two teams combined for six 2nd period goals, including a pair by Bulldog freshman forward Tanner Laderoute (undrafted). UMD returns home next weekend as the visiting Maine Black Bears roll into AMSOIL Arena for a two-game series.

Alabama-Huntsville 0 @ #10 Denver Pioneers 6

F Cole Guttman, DEN: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG, 9/10 FO
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +3, 4 PIM

I grew up watching Chargers hockey, but UAH was outmanned and outgunned against the #10 Pioneers, as Denver blanked Alabama-Huntsville 6-0. Lightning prospect Cole Guttman was 90% on draws and threw a game-high seven shots at Charger netminder Jake Theut (undrafted), but was held off the scoresheet. Liam Finlay (undrafted), however, was not held pointless, notching a hat trick and four points to lead the Pioneers offensively. Denver goaltender Devin Cooley (undrafted) earned his first collegiate shutout, stopping all 16 Charger shots. Alaska-Fairbanks rolls into the Mile High City next weekend for a two-game series.

RIT Tigers 5 @ UMass-Lowell River Hawks 4 OT

F Ryan Lohin, UML: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 7/18 FO
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM

RIT’s Alden Dupuis (undrafted) spoiled the River Hawks’ Homecoming 46 seconds into OT to defeat UML 5-4. The River Hawks led 2-0 at the 1st intermission, but allowed four Tiger goals in the 2nd, including a pair from Abbot Girduckis (undrafted) short-handed and on the power play. UML fought back in the 3rd, scoring twice on the power play including Kenny Hausinger’s (undrafted) 2nd of the night and Reid Stefanson’s (undrafted) marker with 90 seconds left to force OT. UMass-Lowell travels to Oxford, Ohio next weekend for a pair of games against Miami (Ohio).

#5 St. Cloud State Huskies 6 @ Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks 2

D Nick Perbix, STC: 0-0-0, +3, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, +4, 2 PIM

The Huskies and Nanooks swapped a couple of goals until Patrick Newell (undrafted) broke open a 2-2 game in the 2nd period with his 3rd goal of the season to give St. Cloud State a 3-2 lead at the 2nd intermission. The Huskies scored three times in the 3rd, including a pair of goals from Robby Jackson (undrafted). Lightning prospect Nick Perbix was held pointless despite being on the ice for four Husky goals. St. Cloud returns home next weekend to the Herb Brooks Center for a two-game series against Northern Michigan University.

New Hampshire Wildcats 1 @ Colgate Raiders 2

G Ty Taylor, UNH: L, 57:30 mins, 2 GA, 22 SV
Season Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 2.09 GAA, 0.917 SV%

Déjà vu all over again. Bolt prospect Ty Taylor got the start and made 20 saves on 22 shots in his collegiate debut for the Wildcats as Colgate duplicates Friday night’s 2-1 win over New Hampshire. Bobby McMann (undrafted) and Adam Dauda (undrafted) both had a goal and an assist for the Raiders, while Brendan van Riemsdyk (undrafted) scored the lone goal for UNH. Freshman netminder Mitch Benson, making his collegiate debut as well, made 35 saves for the Colgate win. UNH play Colorado College next weekend in a pair of games for their 2018-19 home opener.

Laurentian Voyaguers 1 @ #7 Cornell Big Red 6 (Exhibition)

D Alex Green, COR: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

Cornell’s season opener is still weeks away, but the Big Red kicked off exhibition play Saturday night with a 6-1 victory over Ontario-based Laurentian University. Lighting prospect Alex Green had a 1st period goal and assist to lift Cornell to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. The Big Red continue exhibition play next weekend with the annual Red/White scrimmage game followed by the University of Guelph visiting for the final warm-up before the beginning of their 2018-19 campaign.

*USCHO poll used for rankings

NHL Game Night: 10-13-18 Blue Jackets at Lightning

An imperfect snowman built by a resurgent power play.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory. The team's PK, in particular, is not passing the eye test right now, but Vasilevskiy's been so sharp he's smoothing out the imperfections.

First Period
1:00 TB Hedman (1), (Johnson, Kucherov)
11:17 TB Paquette (1), (Gourde)
18:37 TB Gourde (1), (Sergachev, Johnson)(PP)

Second Period
8:14 CBJ Anderson (3), (Wennberg, Murray)
15:51 CBJ Bjorkstrand (1), (unassisted)
19:15 TB Point (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
1:40 TB Point (2), (Miller, Sergachev)(PP)
7:12 TB Killorn (1), (Stamkos, Miller)(PP)
13:02 TB Kucherov (1), (Palat, Coburn)
19:59 TB Miller (1), (Point, Stralman)(PP)

Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and J.T. Miller were the game's three stars.

After a couple of less than inspired efforts, the Lightning looked like they knew something had to change going into a game against Columbus. You better play hard against a John Tortorella coached team because you know they will out of fear of going to the hospital for having a fine Italian loafer removed from their nether-regions if they don't. Jon Cooper pulled the right strings with reconstituted lines that included re-assembling the old Triplets line, and with a little luck and some strong work by Vasilevskiy when called upon the team built a big 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately, the team reverted to sleep walking in the Second Period and were dominated by Columbus much of the frame. Thanks to Vasilevskiy, they were still clinging to a lead with under a minute before intermission when Brayden Point got a big breakthrough to re-establish a little breathing room. A Point power play goal after the intermission re-established the three goal cushion, and it was on to garbage time. In the end, the bulk of the Lightning's fireworks came from a power play that finally showed the needed urgency and ended up with four power play markers to show. Several Lightning players got some feel-good stats in this game, including Gourde, Point, Kucherov, and Miller all breaking the goal scoring tape on their 2018-2019 seasons.

Still plenty to work on as the team continues to strive toward a full sixty minute effort, but pinning a snowman on a team beats a punch in the face... or a backdoor 4-1 loss.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 13:06.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 3 hits and he was 33% on 12 draws in 13:53.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:23.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Game Night: 10-13-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 @ Rimouski Oceanic 2

D Radim Salda, RIM: Did not play
17-18 Totals (SJ): 62 GP, 10-31-41, -37, 78 PIM

The Salda watch continues. While fellow Bolt prospect Alexey Lipanov got his paperwork cleared in less than a week, Salda is nearly a month into his wait to be eligible for play this season. Saturday night his Rimouski Oceanic blew a 2-0 lead to lose at home, 3-2, to the Eagles.

Ontario Hockey League

Kitchener Rangers 6 @ Flint Firebirds 3

C Alexey Lipanov, KIT: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2/4 FO
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
17-18 Totals (BAR, SBY): 55 GP, 14-25-39, -14, 10 PIM

Kitchener overcame a 2-0 deficit and later broke open a 3-3 game to beat Flint in Michigan, 6-3. Lipanov was held scoreless in his second game with his new team. Riley Damiani (Stars, 5th round 2018) had two goals for the Rangers Saturday.

AHL Game Night: 10-13-18 Checkers at Crunch

Crunch inexperience exposed.

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Connor Ingram allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss. Actually played better than the stat line indicates, including stopping a penalty shot.

First Period
4:46 CHA Gauthier (1), (Maenalanen)
17:57 CHA Kuokkanen (3), (Poturalski, Carrick)(PP)

Second Period
11:10 CHA Bishop (1), (Saarela, McKeown)(PP)
16:25 CHA Brown (1), (Bishop, Cajkovsky)(SH)

Third Period
4:42 SYR Sosunov (1), (Tammela, Katchouk)

Ingram was the game's third star.

Syracuse took about a month last season to work out the kinks with a young lineup, and we may see a bit of that to start this season, too. It was a pretty ugly, mistake-pocked game for Syracuse tonight and Ben Groulx will have plenty to work on correcting. Silver lining: big Oleg Sosunov did pot his first pro goal.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

J20 Superelit Game Days: 9-30-18 through 10-13-18

More of the ongoing adventures of Magnus Chrona...

9-30-18
Skelleftea J20 1 vs. Lulea U20 8
Magnus Chrona, Skellftea J20, Loss, 40/48, 8.00 GAA, .833 sv%

Chrona surrendered goals to eight different Lulea skaters as Skellftea was embarrassed 8-1.

10-5-18
Vasteras J20 3 vs. Skelleftea J20 4 (OT)
Magnus Chrona, Skelleftea J20, OT Win, 49/52, 2.99 GAA, .942 sv%

Albin Sundsvik scored the GWG just 17 seconds into OT as Skelleftea rebounded with a 4-3 win over Vasteras J20.

10-6-18
Vasteras J20 3 vs. Skelleftea J20 4
Magnus Chrona, Skellftea J20, DNP

Chrona got the night off as Skellftea was able to pull off another 4-3 win over Vasteras, this time in regulation. Skelleftea's GWG was scored on the PP by Liam Nilsson (he has a particular set of skills).

10-7-18
Brynas J20 7 vs. Skellftea J20 3
Magnus Chrona, Skelleftea J20, Loss, 26/33, 7.00 GAA, .788 sv%

Chrona and Skelleftea took another ugly loss, surrendering a touchdown and extra point to Brynas in their 7-3 loss. Brynas got 2 goals and 3 points from Pontus Andersson.

10-12-18
MODO J20 6 Skelleftea J20 2
Magnus Chrona, Skelleftea J20, DNP

Linus Hedman (no relation) had his first goal of the season for Skelleftea in their 6-3 humiliation at the hands of MODO J20.

10-13-18
MODO J20 6 vs. Skelleftea J20 3[b]
Magnus Chrona, Skelleftea J20, Loss, 29/35, 6.00 GAA, .829 sv%

MODO scored four unanswered goals from the 6:27 mark of the Second Period on to again humble Skelleftea, this time by a 6-3 margin. Anton Gradin had a pair of goals from MODO to help his club pull away with the win.

The sum total of Chrona and Skelleftea's season to date is a little unsightly to look at. The club sits at 2-7-4, which is third to last in the ten team North Division. Chrona's personal stat line is equally ugly. In 8 appearances he has 3 wins and 5 losses, 0 shutouts, and a 4.76 GAA with a .874 save percentage.

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