I'm starting to believe in James Wright.
Mike Smith was in net and stopped 28 of 31 shots for the victory.
TB - Malone 3 (Stamkos, St. Louis) 04:13
TB - St. Louis 2 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)(PP) 17:21
EDM - Nilsson 1 (Gagner, Gilbert)(PP) 15:52
EDM - Cogliano 1 (Grebeshkov) 19:32
EDM - Gilbert 2 (Brule) 04:13
TB - Foster 1 (Hedman, Wright) 18:23
TB - St. Louis 3 (Malone, Lecavalier)(PP) 4:53
Kind of like last night, I felt this game was more an affirmation of what the Lightning have than an answer to any questions about what they need or don't have. The team is going to have two good scoring lines and a very good power play, as expected. Vinny hating TSN commentator Ray Ferraro went out of his way to complain about what a bad night Vincent Lecavalier was having, and then he goes and assists on the winning goal off the faceoff late in overtime to cap a multi-point night. Yeah Ray, he stinks.
James Wright continues to shine in this marathon week of games that will finally, mercifully, come to an end tomorrow night with the scrimmage in Norfolk. He got an assist on the tying goal by Kurtis Foster where he won a key assist late and set a nice screen in front. He's played better than some guys who are three year AHL pros who should be knocking on the door for NHL jobs.
On the down side: Lukas Krajicek is awful. He just stinks. Turned the puck over on Gilbert's go-ahead goal and took a penalty in overtime that took one or two really big saves by Mike Smith to erase. He just stinks. I spent the last 25 minutes of play hoping that thing on Tocchet's chin would leap out and strangle Lukas. If Brian Lawton doesn't jettison Krajicek, well, I may pull my hair out this season.
Box score from Yahoo Sports.
Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 18 shots in Omsk's 2-1 loss to Nizhnekamsk.
Vasily Koshechkin allowed 1 goal on 35 shots and had 2 penalty minutes in Togliatti's 3-1 win over Yulayev.
Dimitry Kazionov was -2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal in 8:51 in Kazan's 5-4 shootout win over Astana. Former NHLer Alexei Morozov scored the shootout winner for Ak Bars.
Johan Harju had 3 shots and was 65% on draws in 14:09 in Dynamo Moscow's 2-1 loss to Chekhov. Harju has just a lone assist in his first 6 games in Russia since leaving the Swedish Elitserien.
Erie Otters 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 8
C Richard Panik, WSR: 2-0-2, , +2, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Panik scored his first OHL goal as the second period was coming to a close, then opened the scoring for the third period. He earned Third Star honors for his efforts. With all the stars in the Windsor lineup at last, including the surprise return of Scott Timmons (Panthers), it was undrafted Justin Shugg with a hat trick, two assists, and a plus-four rating for Windsor to lead the offensive show.
Guelph Storm 4 @ Barrie Colts 6
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, *Second Star*
Season totals: 3 GP, 2-3-5, +2, 0 PIM
Hutchings, who had 34 goals last season, scored his first two of the year to help Barrie to a 6-4 win over Guelph. Hutchingsâ€™ second goal came while shorthanded.
Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Peterborough Petes 3
RW Kyle DeCoste, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
After being the worst team in the OHL last season, the Greyhounds are off to an impressive 3-0 start. DeCoste was back in the lineup for the Soo (still no report as to why he missed the second game), but did not register a point. SSM overcame a 2-0 deficit starting the second period to take the win.
Radim Vrbata's revenge!
Antero Nittymaki took the shootout loss while going the distance.
TB - Malone 2 (Hedman, Ohlund) 04:16
PHO - Vrbata 1 (Aucoin)(PP) 04:10
PHO - Mueller 3 (unassisted)(PP) 04:53
TB - Stamkos 1 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP) 10:17
TB - Lecavalier 1 (Downie, Lundin) 03:16
PHO - Upshall 2 (Fiddler, Michalek) 03:50
PHO- Vrbata, Mueller
Seemed to be a game that confirmed what the Lightning have more so than answering questions about what they don't have. This just in: Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos are good. In related news, water is wet.
I liked the look of the Lightning first team power play. They're showing a very meat and potatoes setup right now with four world class shooters and Malone to take out the garbage. That's the kind of power play that doesn't fall into long slumps like the finesse schemes do.
Lecavalier's goal from Downie came on an assist from the Downie's knees. That's why I think Steve Downie eventually wins this job. Stephane Veilleux doesn't have the skill level to make a play like that. At the end of the day, his upside is capped very low and he'll never be more than a Band Aid for that line. They're better off putting Downie out there and seeing what they've got. If he scores 20 goals and 45-50 points and keeps his nose clean, you re-sign him. If not, I think you've got enough defensive depth you can move a chip like Paul Ranger at the deadline to get another solution on Vinny's wing. You may have to do that anyway with Tanguay being a temporary solution on the other side.
Box score from Yahoo Sports.
Smitty in regular season form.
Mike Smith, unofficially, with 32 saves on 33 shots, and the one he let in was somewhat controversial.
TB - Halpern 1 (Wright, Meszaros)(PP) 02:32
TB - Halpern 2 (Wright, Miller) 05:18
PHO - Prucha 1 (Vrbara, Hanzal) 10:34
What a boon it would be for the Lightning if Jeff Halpern could get back to 20 goal form on the third line. It'd make the Lightning one of the best offensive teams in the conference, easily.
Two straight strong games by James Wright. He can't be JF Soucy redux, though. He needs to follow this up with a strong 30 goal campaign in the WHL.