Vancouver gets a bounce and the Lightning don't.
Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss. No complaints tonight. He made a handful of key saves to give the Lightning a chance in the third period, not the least of which was a huge save moving right to left on a 2-on-1 that became a partial break for one of the Sedins.
11:41 VAN Edler (7), (Kesler, Demitra)(PP)
14:36 TB Stamkos (12), (St. Louis, Recchi)
09:26 VAN Bernier (13), (Demitra, Johnson)
With 20 games left to go in the season, Steven Stamkos is suddenly en fuego despite not having a steady set of linemates. It's a very positive sign. I think people are going to be shocked how good Stamkos is going to be next season.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 22:57. Despite having one bad wheel, he's consistently making plays for this club. He's taking the body. He's breaking up plays with the stick. He's blocking shots at key times. He's playing around 22 minutes a night lately and he looks good doing it. That tells me this guy may have top-four potential after all.
David Koci played 7:33.
In case anyone is wondering, Smaby is 17 games away from graduating from prospect status by Bolt Prospects criteria. Ramo is now 11 decisions away from graduating by site criteria, as well. Both look achievable, and the top-5 of our rankings look destined for some major changes at year's end.
Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 32 shots in the loss. Norfolk outshot Providence 42-32 in the game.
NOR Keller, (12) (Konopka, Helenius), 5:41
PRO Marchand, (14) , 0:28
PRO Lehtonen, (20) (St. Pierre, Schaefer), 2:16
PRO St. Pierre, (13) , 2:51
NOR Smolenak, (17) (Mihalik, Segal), 9:58
Radek Smolenak was the game's third star.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 5 @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan 4
D Michael Ward, CB: 0-1-1, +3, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 59 GP, 6-26-32, +4, 93 PIM
With Cape Breton: 24 GP, 2-13-15, +3, 41 PIM
DeCoste scores again ... stars for Jung, Fadden, and Wright ... Tokarski gets a night off.
Spokane Chiefs 2 @ Vancouver Giants 5
G Dustin Tokarski, SPO: Loss, 34 saves on 39 shots
Season totals: 45 GP, 29-14-0-2, 1.94 GAA, .937 sv%, 6 shutouts
C James Wright, VAN: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, +17, 41 PIM
A big game for both of these WHL heavyweights and it was not one of the best for Dustin Tokarski. The WHL MVP candidate allowed five goals in the loss, including another early goal that put his team down in the first period. James Wright fed a soft pass at the blueline to Andrej Kudrna, who broke in on a partial breakaway before fanning on his attempt at a slap shot. The off-speed puck fooled Tokarski, sliding under his pads as he sat in the butterfly. It was Vancouver's second shot of the game. Mitch Fadden beat him on the game's first shot in the Tri-City matchup on Sunday.
Evander Kane beat him on the power play to tie the game at 2 for Vancouver when he deftly deflected a point shot up and over Tokarskiâ€™s leg into the top of the net. Adam Basford beat Tokarski mid-way through the second on a backhanded shot from the bottom of the cirle â€“ much like Sidney Crosbyâ€™s vs. the New York Rangers recently (except not on the rush) â€“ that Tokarski had no chance on and Basford looked as surprised as anyone it went in. That goal gave the Giants a lead they would never relinquish.
Vancouver moved to 50-7-1-3 on the year. They are 15 points ahead of Tri-City for the top spot in the West. Spokane sits in third at 39-19-0-3, one point ahead of Kelowna and eight back of the Americans.