This just in: Niitty still owns the Thrashers.
Antero Niittymaki found Atlanta to be the perfect elixer for his ills, stopping 29 of 31 shots to move to 17-0-0 lifetime against the Thrashers. It's hilarious.
ATL 3:22, Bergfors 18 (Little, Antropov)
TB 8:47, St. Louis 23 (Stamkos, Downie)
TB 13:06, Stamkos 39 (Foster, St. Louis)(PP)
TB 17:00, Szczechura 3 (Bochenski, Tanguay)
ATL 13:37, Armstrong 11 (Artyukhin, Peverley)
TB 16:36, Purcell 4 (PS)
TB 4:01, Lecavalier 18 (St. Louis, Purcell)
TB 16:19, Stamkos 40 (Szczechura, Bochenski)
It may have been a costly win with Martin St. Louis getting waffled in a third period scrum. It sure looked like a concussion to me. Hopefully he'll only miss a game or two, but a game or two may be the difference between being a playoff team or a lottery pick.
By the way, huge demerits to Darren Eliot and the Thrashers' broadcasters, who claimed St. Louis' injury was fair retribution for a hit that Steve Downie put on Marty Reasoner. No, Darren, one of Downie's skates was still on the ice. You need to seek counseling for the world class hate-on you have for #9. Give the devil his due, Darren. Downie's got a good chance to be a 20 goal, 50 point, 200 PIM player by season's end. Those don't grow on trees, and if he were to be on the open market tomorrow there would be 29 teams lining up to get his services, including the same Atlanta Thrashers your sanctimonious rear end broadcasts for. Don't believe it? Ask your buddy Don Waddell about that class act Patrice Cormier he picked up in the Kovalchuk trade.
Say what you want about Downie, he's never almost killed a young man whilst cheap shotting him. No, wait, let me guess: Cormier's hit can be rationalized away as fair retaliation too, right? You have no right to lecture people about dirty play when you celebrate talentless clods like Eric Boulton and suck up to a GM who acquires a guy who should be behind bars like Patrice Cormier (And, Waddell still doesn't have a playoff win in the roughly dozen years he's been on the job. Don't you wish you could stink out loud at your job for over a decade and still draw a six-figure salary?). Seriously. The Thrashers organization and an emphasis on acquiring players with character have never been in the same room together, much like Eliot and objectivity and/or humility have never been in the same area code.
Stepping down from my soapbox: I'm liking the Teddy Purcell pickup. If they can get him on the same weight training program as Stamkos and Downie, he could be an awesome pickup. That penalty shot goal was stylish. Speaking of Stamkos, I joked at the start of this week he might have 40 goals by the end of the week. 5 goals later, he sits at 40 goals, which is a plateau only Sid Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have reached so far this season. And yes, as a goal scorer, Stammer is absolutely in that class. I was also asked if I thought Stammer could hit 50. Yes, in all seriousness, I think he can.
Oh look, we have a prospect again! Paul Szczechura had the game winning goal, a helper, and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He was also 64% on draws in the 13:20 he played. That may have been his second best game as a pro, bested only by that game last year where he essentially beat the Pittsbugh Penguins by himself. He's 10 games short of graduation on Bolt Prospects, and if he keeps playing like that, he'll get his cap and gown before season's end.
A golden opportunity goes by the boards, and we're reminded how incredibly difficult it is to beat a good team on back-to-back nights.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss. The young netminder has back-to-back losses for the first time since early January.
NOR Tyrell, (6) (Hall, Craig), 10:44
ALB Samson, (29) (Osala, McBain), 17:23
ALB Bowman, (15) (Micflikier, Rodney), 18:47
ALB Samson, (30) (Dodge, Terry), 1:55
ALB Chaput, (10) (Osala, Samson), 5:21
NOR Jones, (9) (Lashoff), 14:01
Albany moves out to a 3 point lead with 1 game in hand on the Admirals for 2nd place in the East Division. 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was idle and remains 7 points back with 3 games in hand. 5th place Adirondack was blanked 1-0 by Binghamton and will fall into 6th place, 12 points behind Norfolk with 4 games in hand. They'll be passed by Syracuse, which bumped off Portland 4-3, and will now be 10 points back with 3 games in hand.
In the crossover, Bridgeport, which is 5th in the Atlantic, thumped Providence 4-1, so the Sound Tigers are 5 points back of the Admirals with 1 game in hand. Providence is 7 points back with 2 games in hand. Hartford is 10 points back with 3 games in hand. If the Admirals fall to 4th in the East, they must finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to make the postseason.
Norfolk will be scoreboard watching until Friday when they finally get back into action hosting the Sound Tigers at The Scope. Norfolk has 10 games remaining at home and 4 on the road. Albany has 6 at home and 9 on the road. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has 8 at home and 9 on the road.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Sodertalje 2 @ Skelleftea 7
Riku Helenius, Sodetalje, DNP
Season totals: 7 GP, 2-2-2, 0 SO, 2.68 GAA, .914 sv%
Helenius must be relieved he avoided the bombing suffered by starter Pontus Sjogren in the match. Both teams managed 29 shots on goal, but the save percentages weren't.
Moncton Wildcats 4 @ St. John Sea Dogs 3 (SO)
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, *First Star*
Season Totals: 59 GP, 14-42-56, +39, 64 PIM
A big, confidence-building win for the Wildcats over the CHLâ€™s second-ranked team on the Sea Dogâ€™s home ice. Moncton is ranked No.4 in the CHL. Barberioâ€™s goal came in the first period on the power play to tie the game at two for Moncton. He has goals in two straight games and is one off his career high with five games left. He did not participate in the shootout.
Belleville Bulls 3 @ Sudbury Wolves 4
C Richard Panik, BEL: 1-0-1, -2, 4 PIM (spearing double-minor)
Season Totals: 56 GP, 19-16-35, +4, 47 PIM
With Bulls: 23 GP, 10-7-17, -11, 28 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: Did not play.
Season Totals: 57 GP, 19-14-33, -19, 51 PIM
With Bulls: 44 GP, 17-13-30, -17, 31 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-4-4, +2, 2 PIM (holding opponentâ€™s stick), *First Star*
Season Totals: 46 GP, 7-19-26, -4, 18 PIM
With Sudbury: 24 GP, 4-12-16, -9, 12 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM
Sointu (pictured) has six points in his last two games. The four points in a game were a career high for the young Finn. Panik scored for the second game in a row, but took a double-minor for spearing as the game ended.
Barrie Colts 3 @ Ottawa 67â€™s 6
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 45-29-74, +38, 54 PIM
A rare loss for the CHLâ€™s top-ranked team from Barrie. Hutchings saw his point streak end at 12 games and his goal streak end at seven. Heâ€™s five goals short of 50 with four games remaining.
Oshawa Generals 5 @ Kingston Frontenacs 2
G Michael Zador, OSH: Did not play.
Season Totals: 45 GP, 14-24-2-1, 4.07 GAA, .886 sv%, 2 SO
The Gens are two points behind Niagara for the Eastâ€™s last playoff spot with five games remaining.
Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ Regina Pats 4
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 61 GP, 24-26-50, -5, 100 PIM
With Regina: 33 GP, 11-13-24, +3, 48 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
The Pats get a win despite being out of the playoff race. Ashtonâ€™s goal, which came on the power play, was his first in eight games. He tied his career high for points in a season at 50, set in 70 games last year with the Hurricanes (30 goals).
Vancouver Giants 1 @ Kamloops Blazers 6
C/W James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (hooking)
Season Totals: 16 GP, 4-10-14, -1, 6 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM
The Giants have now lost three in a row. Wright hasnâ€™t registered a point in his last four games and is minus-six during that time.