Crunch crushed by high-powered Marlies.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the loss.
TOR Leivo, (6) (Brennan, Arcobello), 6:24 (PP)
TOR Carrick, (3) (Brennan, Frattin), 4:40
TOR Gauthier, (2) (Campbell, Clune), 7:01
SYR McGinn, (3) (DeAngelo), 4:11 (PP)
Tye McGinn was the game's third star.
Toronto gave several of their stars the day off, including Bolt Prospects Alumni Richard Panik, and the Marlies still hardly looked threatened by Syracuse over the course of the game. Just two teams in a completely different area code in terms of depth.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Caps power play takes Tampa Bay to school.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 37 shots for the loss. I thought he showed a little rust early in the First Period but shook it off quickly and nearly got the Lightning to the Second Intermission with a chance to steal points.
7:09 WSH Ovechkin (12), (Chimera, Kuznetsov)(PP)
18:03 WSH Chimera (6), (Kuznetsov, Niskanen)(PP)
19:18 WSH Johansson (4), (Carlson, Schmidt)
5:16 WSH Oshie (6), (Backstrom, Carlson)(PP)
10:49 TB Boyle (5), (Callahan, Brown)
12:45 TB Hedman (2), (Namestnikov)
Tonight's game should be an object lesson on what an unstoppable weapon a potent power play can be. The Lightning actually weren't that bad at even strength in this game, but Washington completely outclassed the Lightning with the man advantage, creating 4-5 minute surges every time they got a power play, and goals, that tilted the game in their favor. Were I the coaching staff, I don't know that I'd show the team the tape of this game, but I'd set aside a good half a day to dissect the Caps power play and use it to fix the Lightning's.
Unlike the Lightning, who channel everything through Steven Stamkos in a way that often seems forced and telegraphed, the Caps create multiple pressure points away from Ovechkin's spot in the left wing circle that force PK's to lose their shape and lose Ovechkin, allowing him to drift to open ice for goal scoring chances. The Caps can do this because they have a lot of other high quality forwards (which the Lightning can match, both in terms of playmakers and trigger men) and quality power play point men (which is a personnel shortfall because the Lightning's only real scoring threat on D, Hedman, is only really good on the rush and isn't nearly as potent on the PP). The Lightning should at least start trying to work 2 and 3 man games from the right wing circle down with some of the skilled puckhandlers they have like Kucherov, Drouin, Namestnikov, and Palat, sprinkled in with shooters like Johnson. I think the Lightning have tried to do that, at times, but the difference is they don't ever threaten to actually score from those positions, and end up artificially forcing passes through the seam to Stamkos, which doesn't put Steven in a good position to score. The Lightning have to train the guys on the strong side of the ice to be more assertive and look for their own opportunities to score, allowing Stamkos the ability to drift to open ice and for passing lanes to develop more organically. Having a legit power play trigger man or two to add another set of pressure points would be ideal, but right now the Lightning don't have those guys and they need to continue to develop them or find them elsewhere. Put it another way: until the other 4 guys on the Lightning PP can threaten the other team's PK, they've got no reason not to completely overload on defending Stamkos.
Further complicating issues was the mysterious injury of Tyler Johnson, who skated one shift and was done. A Caps player jumped on Johnson's back/neck in the neutral zone early in the shift before Johnson eventually nearly scored off the rush near the end of that shift. He looked fine, but I wonder if the pop to his neck re-aggravated whatever happened when Johnson got elbowed in the head by Bolland against the Panthers. Either way, to lose one of your top two centers a whopping 2 minutes into the game was a heck of a blow to the Lightning, and contributed greatly to what ultimately occurred.
Jonathan Marchessault had 3 shots and 1 hit in 14:58. He got a lot of garbage time ice time to go along with some good shifts early in the game, and I think he continues to build a case to stay with the team.
Joel Vermin was +1 with 2 hits in 9:46. His forechecking popped loose the puck that became Hedman's goal. He's not as far along as Marchessault, but he's done nothing to this point to invalidate himself as an NHL prospect.
KalPa 2 vs. Ilves 1
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 16 GP, 2-1-3, E, 12 PIM
Jonne Tammela had a minor for charging in 11:06 of ice time in KalPa's 2-1 win over Ilves. Ex-Flyers pick Jussi Timonen had a helper in the win for KalPa. KalPa has moved up to 3rd on the 15 team Liiga table with the victory behind just HIFK and Tappara.
Nizhnekamsk 2 vs. Magnitogorsk 3 (OT)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 29 GP, 13-9-6, 0 SO, 2.20 GAA, .920 sv%
Caps first rounder Ilya Samsonov allowed 2 goals on 36 shots in Magnitogorsk's 3-2 OT win over Nizhnekamsk. Ex-NHLer Wojtek Wolski had 1 goal and 1 assist in the win for Magnitka.
Ontario Hockey League
Sarnia Sting 1 @ Peterborough Petes 3
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 2-5-7, +21, 24 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM
D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 25 GP, 3-9-12, +5, 27 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM
Peterborough has now earned at least a point in six straight games after beating visiting Sarnia Thursday. The Petes are 12-9-2-2 and two points behind Kingston for the division lead. Dominik Masin is now alone in third in the OHL in plus/minus.
Togliatti 2 vs. St. Petersburg 3 (OT)
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 8 GP, 3-4-7, +3, 0 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 31 GP, 10-11-21, +9, 4 PIM
Ex-NHLer Dmitri Kalinin scored the OT winner for SKA in their 3-2 win over Lada Togliatti. Fellow ex-NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk had a pair of helpers in the win. Nikita Gusev was scoreless in 19:06 in the match.
Jokerit 2 vs. Sochi 5
Saku Salminen, Jokerit, DNP
Season totals: 9 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Ex-Lightning pick Denis Kazionov had a goal in Sochi's 5-2 win over Jokerit. Dmitri Kazionov, brother of Denis and also a former Lightning pick, got 27 PIM's and a suspension out of the contest. Ex-Lightning first rounder Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 14 shots for the loss before being pulled out of the game.
Greenville Swamp Rabbits 6 at Norfolk Admirals 0
F Brian Hart, GRN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 14 GP, 6-1-7, -2, 2 PIM, 29 SOG
Season totals (AHL): 3 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
G Allen York, GRN, injured reserve
Season totals: 4 GP, 0-4-0-0, 4.98 GAA, 0.858 SV%, 0 SO
D Charlie Dodero, GRN: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals (ECHL): 10 GP, 0-2-2, -5, 12 PIM, 9 SOG
The Swamp Rabbits opened up *the* whole can of whoopass on the Norfolk Admirals tonight to open their four game road trip. Brian Hart got his first assist of the season on Greenville's 2nd goal from a centering pass to the slot from the corner. The Swamp Rabbits remain in the cellar in the South division, but a string of wins on the road could get them back in the thick of it. Greenville moves onto to Reading for a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday night.
The momentum is real.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 37 shots for the victory. He was sparkling tonight. The only regulation goal he allowed was a seeing eye shot through three players and he did get victimized again 5-hole in the shootout, but on balance he was the difference in the game tonight. He's formed the backbone for the resurgence of the team the last 3 games.
5:57 TB Johnson (4), (Marchessault)
14:37 LA Lucic (7), (Toffoli, Carter)
TB- Marchessault, Filppula
Bishop and J.T. Brown were the game's first and third stars. Marchessault may have gotten robbed, IMO.
That's the tightest checking team in the NHL, right there. The Kings apply so much back pressure it's stifling and I think the Lightning really struggled with it because there's not another team that gets back on you that quickly in the league. It's just really tough to get anything other than a greasy goal on those guys because you're not allowed any time and space to do anything of much creativity and they don't turn the puck over much. Credit to the Lightning for manufacturing the win, and now you look at consecutive wins against the Rangers, Ducks, and Kings. Those are three teams with talent levels that scream legit Cup contenders, and tells you the Lightning are earning their way back into the high rent district of the league. They're halfway to the segment goal of 12 points just 3 of 10 games into the segment, so they've got an opportunity to carve away at that 5 point deficit from their stinky performance in the previous 10 games. The schedule doesn't lighten up any, but it's certainly not any worse than the league heavies the Lightning put away these past three contests.
Jonathan Marchessault had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit in 11:05. His coming out party continues. He created the lone regulation goal by picking off a pass at the Kings blueline and showing good awareness to move it quickly to Johnson in open space. And, in the Shootout, he abused one of the best goaltenders in the world with a laser beam top shelf. He's making a case for himself nightly now.
Luke Witkowski had 3 hits in 5:28. Not a chance he was seeing much ice time in a game this tight on the scoreboard. Not a chance for any young d-man in the #7 role coming up from Syracuse. He got in and out of his 7 shifts without much incident, and that'll keep the coach's happy enough for tonight.
Crunch battle back from 2 goal deficit to salvage a point.
Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Not a great stat line, but the defense in front of him was a bit tardy tonight.
RCH Ruhwedel, (1) (Donovan, O'Reilly), 5:26 (PP)
RCH Rodrigues, (1) (Akeson, Dupuy), 9:32
SYR Taormina, (4) (Paradis, Dotchin), 16:04
RCH Carrier, (3) (Bailey, O'Reilly), 17:24
SYR Angelidis, (1) (Blunden), 9:18
SYR Tambellini, (6) (McGinn, Taormina), 19:11
RCH Dupuy, (2) , 1:49
Jeff Tambellini was the game's third star.
The Crunch's veterans pulled the sled tonight with Mike Angelidis keying the comeback by finally getting the monkey off his back with his first goal of the campaign. It's much needed with Marchessault up top in Tampa Bay.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
SaiPa 3 vs. KalPa 4 (OT)
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 15 GP, 2-1-3, E, 10 PIM
Jonne Tammela had a minor for charging in 13:55 of ice time in KalPa's 4-3 OT win over SaiPa. Ex-Flyers pick Jussi Timonen, brother of ex-NHLer Kimmo Timonen, had a pair of goals, including the OT winner, and 3 points for KalPa in the win.