I'd almost rather lose a game 4-2 then cough up a winning goal in the last minute. Almost.
Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss. It's been an alarming trend over the last week and a half where the Lightning haven't been getting quite the same level of goaltending they were getting, and the results have very quickly turned sour because of it. That's not to say Niitty was terrible, but 3 goals on 19 shots isn't a pretty number.
TB 1:26, Lecavalier 6 (Halpern)
NJ 1:15, Rolston 9 (Niedermayer)(PP)
NJ 5:14, Bergfors 8 (Zharkov)(PP)
TB 17:00, Downie 4 (Stamkos, Malone)(PP)
NJ 19:21, Langenbrunner 6 (Greene, Rolston)
Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 7:18.
Paul Szczechura played just 4:12 in the game.
James Wright got in his first NHL fight and had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 9:23.
Blair Jones had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:27. Let me be one of the first to say how proud I am of Blair to work his way into this opportunity. He has always had a lot of promise since his days in junior, but he's fluctuated between the penthouse in his rookie season and the doghouse for the past couple of seasons because he's a bit of a laid back Western farm boy, as Steve Stirling once put it to me, so the physical and defensive intensity hasn't always been there night in and night out. He's really started to understand more about being prepared to go every night and he's earned this chance. Let that be a lesson to all the youngsters in Norfolk: even in your fourth season of pro you've got a chance if you work hard, prepare like a professional, and put it together at the rink.
Victor Hedman was +1 with 1 hit in 19:32.
Love that headline on the press release from the Admirals. Move over Iverson.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 22 of 23 to get a win the Admirals absolutely needed to have.
ADK Kolanos, (4) (Dingle, Bellamy), 3:42
NOR Smolenak, (3) (Lundin, Mihalik), 17:47
NOR Craig, (9) (Smolenak, Jackson), 1:32
Ryan Craig (aka The Answer) and Radek Smolenak were the game's first and second stars. That's what you have to love about this year's version of the Admirals: sweet, sweet depth up front. Blair Jones has been hot as a firecracker and earned his callup. Last season that would've crushed the Ads. This season you've got a 20 goal, 50 point capable guy like Smolenak just waiting to pick up where Jones left off.
Vladimir Mihalik snapped a five-game pointless streak with a helper and pulled himself back to even in plus-minus for the season. Kudos to Scott Jackson for keying Craig and Smolenak's winning 2-on-1 in overtime. Jackson's posted a very respectable +8 rating so far this year.
Norfolk outshot Adirondack 36-23 in the game. I'm still waiting for when these shot imbalances are going to turn into some nice blowouts in the Admirals' favor rather than these nail biters. Norfolk's played so many close games this year. Norfolk can get back to .500 tomorrow night, but they'll have to do it in Hershey, which may be the toughest place in the AHL to go win a hockey game as a visitor.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
No.19 Vermont Catamounts 3 @ Boston University Terriers 3
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 13 GP, 1-1-2, -1, 2 PIM
Vermont moves one game over .500 at 6-5-2. Former Lightning prospect Justin Courtnall did not play in the game for BU.
No.12 Alaska Nanooks 1 @ Western Michigan Broncos 4
D Luke Witkowski , UWM: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 14 GP, 1-3-4, -9, 16 PIM
WMU moved to 6-7-2 on the year with the upset over the Nanooks.
Dynamo Moscow 3 @ KHK MVD 2 (SO)
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 3-5-8, -6, 24 PIM
After a long drought, Harju finally scored his third goal of the season, while his lifelong teammate Linus Omark chipped in a goal and an assist. However, it took a game winning shootout goal by former NHLer Mattias Weinhandl for Dynamo to finally knock off KHK MVD 3-2. Harju played 15:36 in the match and was 63% on draws. He failed, however, on his shootout attempt in the penalty shot session. Dynamo Moscow sits in fourth place in the KHL's Western Conference.