Lightning dominance overshadowed by centerman attrition.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 33 shots for a dominating victory. He gave Minnesota nothing. He was in absolute command and it took a goofy bounce for Minnesota to stave off his shutout bid. That's two straight games where Vasiy has only allowed a single goal. Hard to lose when you do that.
6:53 TB Kucherov (29), (Hedman, Palat)(PP)
11:01 TB Hedman (13), (Drouin, Dotchin)
4:37 TB Sustr (2), (Kucherov, Johnson)
16:02 MIN Scandella (4), (Brodin, Koivu)
18:51 TB Kucherov (30), (Gourde)(EN)
That was probably the most dominant game the Lightning have played against a quality opponent all season. The end result was never really in doubt and even as the Lightning were seeing their players drop like flies, their lower liners stepped up and continued to keep the game under total control. Unfortunately, it's dubious whether that kind of "next man up" success is replicable over the rest of the course of the season. Vladislav Namestnikov was the first to go down after going skates first into the board on a play that could be anything from a broken ankle to a knee. To my eyes, that looked like a season ender. Tyler Johnson was the next to go on a knee to knee hit from Nino Niederreiter. Johnson when down like a dropped sack of potatoes, and I'm hopeful he's the one of the three that can get back faster, but it didn't look great. Third to go was Cedric Paquette, who appeared to give himself a high ankle sprain tackling a Wild forward in the slot on a defensive zone play. That may come pretty close to ending his season given the slim number of games the team has left on the schedule. So, the Lightning are going to have to scramble just to find bodies at that position. McKegg can go back into the lineup and they'll probably immediately recall Matthew Peca. Ultimately, though, it may take Steven Stamkos donning the Superman cape and coming back from IR in the next 2 weeks and playing well just to keep the team's slim playoff hopes alive. It's either that or get Brian Bradley off the buffet line.
Luke Witkowski had 4 hits in 9:11.
Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 16:33.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 8:21. He was also 63% on 8 draws.
Yanni Gourde had a helper in 16:35 and was on the ice defending the 6 on 5 at the end of the contest.
Adam Erne had 2 shots, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 14:20. He had a really strong First Period, drawing the penalty that led to Kucherov's opening goal, but once the carnage started in the Second Period, it seemed like the line shuffling hurt the continuity Erne was forming with his linemates.
SaiPa 1 vs. KooKoo 7
Saku Salminen, SaiPa, DNP
Season totals: 39 GP, 3-4-7, -9, 41 PIM
KooKoo scored the first 7 goals on the game in a 7-1 slaughter that pitted the worst team in the league (SaiPa) against the second worst (KooKoo). Saku Salminen remained out with an injury. SaiPa dropped further into the basement, now 6 points behind KooKoo with just 2 remaining regular season games.
The Syracuse Crunch’s power play adjustments paid off.
The Crunch scored three times with the man-advantage against the IceCaps, as Syracuse topped St. John’s, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.
“Tonight was a five-player effort, but we decided to put Taormina and Conacher together on the power play,” Groulx said. “They hadn’t played together in quite a bit, because we were trying many different things. I thought the two of them were very good on the power play — like (Matthew) Peca, like (Tye) McGinn, like (Erik) Condra.”
KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(2) St. Petersburg 2 vs. (3) Dynamo Moscow 3 (OT)
Dynamo Moscow Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 9 SOG
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 3-3-6, +3, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM
Nikita Gusev had an even strength goal and a game high 9(!) shots on goal in SKA's 3-2 OT loss to Dynamo Moscow. Gusev played 23:00 in the contest. Undrafted 25 year old forward Maxim Karpov had a hat trick to lead Dynamo to the upset Game One win.
Lightning Raanta'ed again.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 34 shots for the painfully hard luck OT loss. He was overshadowed by Raanta at the other end, but Vasiy was equally brilliant in a high pressure goaltending duel.
3:56 NYR Zibanejad (9), (McDonagh)
Vasilevskiy was the game's first star.
The Lightning played very hard wire to wire and just lost to a hot goaltender. You can complain about decision-making with the puck late in the Third Period and into Overtime, but many nights you blow doors off with a 3:2 shot attempt/possession advantage and Vasilevskiy playing that well. The shame is the Lightning are in a spot where they just can't surrender the odd point on a night like this and realistically stay alive for the playoffs.
Luke Witkowski had 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 7:54. That fight was an epic. We're talking about one that rightfully should go alongside some of those old Rudy Poeschek v. Paul Laus brawls.
Jake Dotchin had 3 shots and 2 hits in 20:25.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 penalty minutes for a nasty boarding call, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 7:15. He was also 43% on 7 draws.
Yanni Gourde played 10:09. Blank stat line doesn't tell the tale, because he was active at both ends of the rink. This was probably his best NHL game in his time in the Lightning organization.
Adam Erne had 2 penalty minutes, 6 shots, and 2 hits in 11:32. 6 shots in under 12 minutes tells you what you need to know. He was very active tonight. Looked really good.
Another inauspicious McKenna outing.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss.
5:59 BNG Bailey (17), (Carlisle, Flanagan)
10:59 BNG Mike Blunden (13), (Varone, Bailey)(PP)
11:47 SYR Walcott (4), (Peca)
6:43 BNG Akeson (11), (Varone, Perron)
14:54 SYR Peca (8), (Conacher, Thomas)
19:07 BNG Bailey (18), (Akeson, Paul)(PP)
16:23 BNG Akeson (12), (Varone, Harpur)(EN)
18:04 SYR Kurtz (1), (Halmo, Ikonen)
18:18 SYR Halmo (15), (Condra, Taormina)
19:35 BNG Akeson (13), (Varone, Sieloff)(EN)
Matthew Peca was the game's third star.
Deduct the garbage time foolishness at the end of the contest and it's a 4-2 game, which looks less bad but is still not entirely inspiring.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Adirondack Thunder 3 at Kalamazoo Wings 6
F Brian Hart, KAL, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 20 GP, 2-2-4, -2, 4 PIMs, 35 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs
F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 1-2-3, +2, 0 PIMS, 2 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 7 GP, 2-7-9, +7, 2 PIMs, 16 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs
G Nic Riopel, KAL, W, 60:00 MINS, 25/28
Season Totals: 25 GP, 14-9-0-1, 2.82 GAA, 0.904 SV%, 1 SO
One streak that didn't end in Toledo last night was Nic Riopel's red hot surge between the pipes. The K-Wings returned home Sunday for the final frame of a weekend three-in-three, and crushed one of the best teams in the league 6-3. Riopel received some of that sweet, sweet goal support, allowing three Thunder markers, but winning his 10th game in his last 11 starts. Cam Darcy scored and added two assists for his first three point game since joining Kalamazoo. His goal was a nice forehand-to-backhand move in front of the goalie. Fellow Bolt Prospect Brian Hart scored his 2nd K-Wing goal of the season late in the 3rd period, when he rocketed a empty netter from within his own zone. Kalamazoo now sits just 3 points behind Quad Cities for 3rd in the division, and it's advantageous to slip into that 3rd place slot to avoid having to play Toledo in the first round of the playoffs. The team gets a week off before another big weekend hosting those league-best Toledo Walleye for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.
Syracuse had an emphatic answer to Binghamton’s game-tying goal early in the third period.
The Crunch surged to score three goals in a span of 2:06 and continued to push the Senators to the final horn, as Syracuse beat Binghamton, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
“We got scored on — a missed assignment — but we bounced back right away,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we played a strong game tonight. We didn’t give them much. Kristers (Gudlevskis) was very solid when needed. Our (penalty kill) was strong. I thought tonight we were a structured team and we worked hard, and it showed.”
By any means necessary.
Andrei Vasilvskiy allowed 1 goal on 32 shots before stopping 2 of 2 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. I thought Vasilevskiy fought it a little at times in this game, but got stronger as it went on and really grinded out the W. He had to, because Lehner was standing on his head part of the night at the other end of the rink. That's another quality start now that he's "the man". Encouraging.
19:48 BUF O'Reilly (15), (Ristolainen, Eichel)(PP)
2:37 TB Johnson (19), (Hedman, Kucherov[/b]
TB- Point, Kucherov
Vasilevskiy and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.
It was another disappointingly flat First Period for the Lightning, their 3rd in the last 4 contests, but the team got stronger as it wore on. All in all, this was a classic road win where the team really grinded out the victory. Pretty? No. Effective? Yes. Brayden Point continues to be money in the Shootout and Nikita Kucherov sent the Buffalo faithful to the exits with a gutsy fake whiff on a deke that he slid harmlessly through Lehner's five hole to secure the second point. If you make a move like that, you either score or get choked out by Jon Cooper. There's probably no in between.
68 points now for Tampa Bay puts them 3 points out of the final wild card spot and 6 points out of the final divisional spot with a game in hand on Boston. They're 28 points shy of 96 with 36 points still available. That'd be a .778 win percentage to get there. Still a tough road to go with very little margin for error.
Luke Witkowski had 3 hits in 9:51... playing forward. My scouting report on Witkowski as a forward? Well, he's definitely a north-south kind of winger, that much is for sure.
Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 18:18. His night's work included accidentally knocking Kulikov out of the game when the two ran into each other inadvertently behind the net. That should give you an idea how big and strong Dotchin is. His upper body strength is pretty impressive. He barely had any time to brace himself and he did that.
Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot and 4 hits in 8:03. He was also 29% on 7 draws.
Adam Erne had 1 hit in 11:32. Mixed bag tonight, but he nearly set up a key goal with some creativity behind the Buffalo cage that got Namestnikov a wide open chance that Vladislav probably should've buried.
Crunch redeem themselves with late whipping of Bingo.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory. Strong performance for Kristers on a night the Crunch needed it after getting collectively shelled the previous game.
6:24 SYR Gourde (21), (McGinn, Conacher)
1:52 BNG Bailey (16), (Sieloff, Rumble)
2:27 SYR Walcott (3), (Condra, Koekkoek)
2:53 SYR Gourde (22), (Conacher)
4:33 SYR Brodeur (3), (Condra, Walcott)
Syracuse bested Binghamton 40-29 on the shot clock and by an even worse proportion on the scoreboard.
The Crunch pull 2 points ahead of Albany in the North Division with 2 games in hand.
Box score from TheAHL.com.