Tokarski got Canada's first start in the tournament and responded with a series of huge saves in the opening period to keep the game scoreless before Canada's onslaught began. After Canada had a snowman on the board, the only question would be if Tokarski got his shutout. He was beaten late to nullify that, but his big-game play came through once again - this time on the international stage in what he called the biggest start of his young career.
Canada plays Borat's homeland on Sunday. Chet Pickard will likely get the start in that game.
Florida's luck finally ran out in the shootout.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 28 shots before stopping 2 of 4 shooters in the penalty shot session for the shootout win.
11:24 TB Eminger (2), (Ranger)
18:28 FLA Ballard (4), (Boynton, Dvorak)
16:53 TB Recchi (8), (Eminger, Pettinger)
18:27 TB Artyukhin (2), (Malone, Eminger)
13:37 FLA Stillman (8), (Bouwmeester, Ballard)(PP)
19:46 FLA McCabe (6), (Weiss, Stillman)
TB- Hall, Jokinen, Malone
FLA- Stillman, Horton
Interesting message sent by Tocchet to Lecavalier and St. Louis by going with shooters like Hall and Artyukhin in the shootout session. Considering the Lightning have won the past two games on the road without any meaningful contributions offensively from the top line, one could interpret this as a wake-up call. If Lecavalier and Marty ever do get it cooking along with the secondary scoring the team has, they could reel off a winning streak here. Taking both ends of a home-and-home away from that vile cesspool of a franchise down in South Florida by winning tomorrow night at home would be an outstanding morale booster for the team and the fanbase alike.
Paul Szczechura was +1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 14:30. He got a fair amount of ice time but wasn't terribly noticable.
Steven Stamkos was +1 with 5 shots and 3 hits in 13:17. He was really flying tonight, and he had a point blank chance in the third period that could've been the dagger in Florida's heart. He's still struggling anywhere below the circles because of his lack of strength, but his jump was good tonight and he seemed more aggressive. If they can get that effort from Stamkos every night for the next little while, they'll take it, I'm sure.
Best performance of the year by the Lightning.
Mike Smith stopped 15 of 15 shots faced for the big shutout win. He was on tonight. No rebounds.
05:15 TB Pettinger (2), (Szczechura, Recchi)
11:14 TB Szczechura (2), (Jokinen, Recchi)(PP)
Paul Szczechura, Matt Pettinger, and Mark Recchi were your three stars, and let me tell you, Szczechura played an awesome game at both ends of the ice. #38 seems to live in the opposing team's passing lanes, and when the Lightning went into the trap in the third period he drove the Pens crazy by picking off pass after pass. He set up the first goal. He scored the insurance goal. And he was all up in the Pens business to protect what he helped build. Great game by Szczechura. He's a revelation. Quite possibly the smartest prospect in Lightning history.
Szczechura had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 with 4 shots, 1 hit, and he was 29% on draws in 13:28. He tortured Pittsburgh in those 13:28.
Steven Stamkos was a non-factor in 7:47 of ice time.
Tokarski got the full game for Canada, but was beaten early when Finland's Nestori Lahde caught St. Louis Blues super-prospect Alex Pietrangelo flat footed resulting in a semi-breakaway. Lahde put a high wrister over Tokarski's shoulder. Tokarski had little chance on the second goal as a Finn was left alone in front and after taking a pass from behind the net, potted a wrister over Tokarski's arm as Dustin tried to square to the shooter and eliminate space.
Tokarski will watch as Chet Pickard gets the next exhibition start for Canada against Slovakia.
Team Russia won the Swedish leg of the Euro Tour this week going 3-0-0 in the Channel One Cup.
Defenseman Janne Niskala appeared for Finland (1-1-1) in the tournament, registering a pair of goals in his team's tournament closing 5-2 win over the Czech Republic. Niskala also had 4 penalty minutes and was -1 for the week.
Johan Harju was a late addition for Sweden after an injury to one of the Tre Kroner's forwards. Harju had a power play assist in garbage time of Sweden's 6-2 loss in Russia. Harju also had 2 penalty minutes and was -1 in the tournament.