The Good News = Lightning move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division
The Bad News = Tampa Bay fails to get both points, and possible injuries to Ranger and Fedotenko.
Tampa Bay-4 (Overtime)
With Atlanta's loss in Ottawa this afternoon, the Lightning needed just one point to move into a first place tie with the Thrashers. The held on for the point, but fell in overtime in South Florida 5-4 to the Panthers. Tampa now leads the division by tiebreaker with 69 points and hold the No.3 seed. Atlanta also has 69 and the Hurricanes, who won tonight in Montreal, are 2 back at 67. The Lightning has a game in hand on both division rivals.
The Panthers won their first game in extra time this year and move to 57 points, 2 ahead of Washington for 13th place in the conference. They are 9 points out of a playoff spot.
Back to the game â€¦ Johan Holmqvist struggled at times in net for Tampa, stopping 25 of 30 shots. The Lightning only put up 20 shots on Ed Belfour, including just 3 in the final period. Part of the reason for the low shot total was the absolutely horrific ice conditions that both teams battled. No less than three goals were the direct or indirect result of the puck jumping over or off of a stick. With 6 minutes left in the third period, the teams had combined for 5 shots and what seemed like 2 dozen giveaways. It was awful to watch, but both teams had to deal with it.
The â€œLightnings,â€ as they were referred to by Panthers analyst Denis Potvin at one point, got goals from Martin St. Louis (2), Dan Boyle, and Eric Perrin. Assists were compiled by Vaclav Prospal (2), Vincent Lecavalier (2), Boyle, Perrin, and Brad Richards.
Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a thigh or knee injury when he was hit by Bryan Allenâ€™s raised knee late in the third. No penalty was called on the play. Paul Ranger also left the game with an injury, but the Panthers broadcast never addressed it. They were too busy fawning over Allenâ€™s hit on Fedotenko.
Blair Jones was a scratch for the Lightning and Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune speculates he could be sent back to Springfield on Monday.
Florida 1:47, Ruslan Salei 6 (power play) (unassisted)
Florida 4:02, Stephen Weiss 12 (Nathan Horton, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 6:09, Martin St. Louis 34 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 11:03, Eric Perrin 10 (Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 16:28, Martin St. Louis 35 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Florida 6:48, Bryan Allen 2 (Stephen Weiss, Martin Gelinas)
Tampa Bay 11:11, Dan Boyle 13 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Vaclav Prospal)
Florida 11:28, Ville Peltonen 10 (power play) (Olli Jokinen, Steve Montador)
Florida 0:29, Nathan Horton 19 (Jay Bouwmeester, Stephen Weiss)
Gamesheet from NHL.com
Mississauga 5 @ Brampton 0
Chris Lawrence had an assist in the IceDogs win and also finished plus-2. A relatively quiet night for Lawrence considering his recent hot streak.
Erie 2 @ Owen Sound 7
Do you criticize Kevin Beech for letting in 7 goals, or praise him for making 72 saves? Judging from the fact he was named the game's third star as the visiting goalie, it's the latter. It also turns out Beech was the "lucky" goalie to be in net when Marek Bartanus finally scored. Bartanus had a goal and was plus-2. Bartanus had gone 24 games without scoring a goal. It was his fifth of the year.
Vancouver 1 @ Prince George 3
Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless and plus-2 with 4 PIM as Prince George beat Vancouver 3-1 Friday. Mihalik had tripping and holding calls against him.
Kelowna 5 @ Everett 6 (Shootout)
Dane Crowley was plus-1 and scoreless for the Silvertips in their 6-5 home shootout win over Kelowna.
Mike Lundin was scoreless in #7 Maine's 5-2 loss to #13 Boston College. The Eagles were able to gain a little ground in the HEast standings as the two teams came into the two-game series tied for third. The win puts Boston College two points ahead of the Black Bears for third and two points behind Boston University for second. The teams play again tonight at Boston College.
HEast Standings as of 2/15/2007
Standings key: Games played, Wins-Losses-Ties Points
1. New Hampshire 21, 17-3-1 35
2. Boston University 22, 11-4-7 29
3. Boston College 22, 13-8-1 27
4. Maine 22, 12-9-1 25
5. Vermont 21, 10-7-4 24
6. Massachusetts 21, 10-8-3 23
7. Northeastern 22, 7-11-4 18
8. Providence 21, 6-13-2 14
9. Mass.-Lowell 21, 4-14-3 11
10. Merrimack 21, 3-16-2 8
The Lightning made up one of the two games in hand they had on Southeast Division leading Atlanta and took a somewhat difficult two points from Washington with a 3-2 shootout win. The Lightning pulled within just one point of the Thrashers. The Bolts improved to 8-1 on the year in the shootout, making me a fan of it for as long as this continues.
Marc Denis got a rare start in net and flashed a little glove and little attitude in stopping 36 shots in regulation and overtime and all three shootout attempts to get the win. After making an rubber-arm glove save on Alexander Ovechkin in the third, Denis turned his head and glared at the superstar.
Vincent Lecavalier increased his league-leading goal total to 39 with both of Tampa Bayâ€™s goals in regulation (one PPG, one SHG). Martin St. Louis had the shootout winner as the third shooter for the Lightning. Denis had to make a Hasek-like sprawling save on a deking Matt Pettinger to secure the win. Kudos to Denisâ€™ armpit for that one. Assists on the night went to Dan Boyle, who became the all-time Lightning leader in points for a defenseman, Brad Richards, and St. Louis.
Kudos to Sun Sportsâ€™ Rick Peckham for pointing out Washingtonâ€™s Eric Fehr is the former linemate of Ryan Craig from their WHL days in Brandon. Those guys, along with the Predators' Jordin Tootoo, were dynamite for the Wheat Kings. The Caps also featured Jeff Shultz, a former Calgary Hitmen teammate of Springfieldâ€™s Mike Egener. Shultz was taken in the late first round of the 2004 draft; Egener at the top of the second round in 2003.
Washington 9:07, Alexander Semin 30 (power play) (Dainius Zubrus)
Tampa Bay 2:44, Vincent Lecavalier 38 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 7:05, Vincent Lecavalier 39 (shorthanded) (Martin St. Louis)
Washington 19:45, Dainius Zubrus 20 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay misses: Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards
Tampa Bay goals: Martin St. Louis
Washington misses: Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Pettinger
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Chris Lawrence scored the first two goals of the game as the Mississauga IceDogs clinched a playoff birth with a 4-1 win over fellow Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus and the Owen Sound Attack. Lawrence was also plus-1 and was named the game's third star. Lawrence is now on the cusp of 40 goals for the year, sitting at 39. He is alone in fourth in the league for goals scored, behind John Tavares of Oshawa (55), Patrick Kane of London (51) and Tyler Donati of Belleville (50). Bartanus did not register a point in the game and was minus-1 with a slashing minor. Bartanus has not scored a goal in 24 games.