Norfolk has a date with history this weekend.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 13 shots (no, not a typo) for the win. Janus is now 16-8-2 on the season, which puts him at the door step of the top-20 in the league in wins. Dustin Tokarski still rules the roost with 27 wins despite being out of the league for the last week. Two good young goaltenders = good problem to have.
WBS Lerg, (23) (O'Reilly, Strait), 8:47
NOR Panik, (16) (Barberio, Johnson), 11:28 (PP)
NOR Gudas, (7) (Jackson, Hutchings), 11:59
NOR Johnson, (25) (Panik, Picard), 0:10 (PP)
NOR Oberg, (6) (Palat, Johnson), 2:37
Halfway through the month of March, Johnson's got to be the runaway favorite to win the league's Player of the Month award. He has 7 goals and 14 points in 6 games, which already matches what he put up in February. That's pretty amazing considering last month was no slouch for TJ, who put up 14 points in 13 games. He's now tied with Gustav Nyqvist at 55 points for 2nd among league rookies in points, and he's moved into a tie for 9th in the AHL in points, overall.
Johnson's linemate, Richard Panik, continues to quietly ramp up his play after a quiet first half of the year. He's within 1 point now of breaking into the top-20 in the league in rookie scoring himself, and the Panik attack shows no signs of letting up.
Mark Barberio is 5th in the AHL in assists. Discuss.
What I take away from tonight's game, given the Admirals outshot their nearest division rivals 33-13, is that they're going for it. And, I'm not talking about winning the division (now a 10 point lead over the Pens), or the conference (6 point lead over the IceCaps). This team wants the record, and they can tie the single-season win streak record of 17 on Friday in Charlotte. The Checkers are no slouches, mind you. They lead the Midwest Division and Norfolk will have to beat them on Friday and Sunday to set the record. And, despite the challenge, Norfolk's going for it. When a team holds another to 13 shots on goal, that's complete team buy-in at playoff level intensity. They just threw the keys to the tractor and the deed to the farm in the middle of the table. They're going for it, and it's going to take a team playing a playoff-level game to stop them.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 33 of 34 shots for his first NHL victory. The young fella got it done against two goaltenders tonight who averaged 36.5 years of age. And, it wasn't a circus act. He was very calm and very under control in net. If you're not out of position, you don't have to breakdance like Hasek in net. Got his first NHL assist, too. Nice night for a young man who has worked hard to get where he is.
TB Pyatt (8), (Malone, Connolly), 1:56
TB Thompson (9), (Hall, Wyman), 2:26
TB Shannon (4), (Hedman, Tokarski)(PP), 4:31
TB Hedman (4), (unassisted), 15:38
TB Stamkos (49), (Purcell, Lee), 3:06
BOS Caron (7), (Boychuk, Chara), 1:55
TB Stamkos (50), (St. Louis, Lee), 3:06
Keith Aulie had 1 shot and 3 hits in 11:16.
Tim Wallace had 1 hit in 10:10, and looked dazed and confused with the puck on a 2-on-1 late in the third period. I don't think he expected a chance that good in that situation.
J.T. Wyman had a helper and was +2 in 14:56.
This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques, but itâ€™s possible a street may be named after him â€“ at least in SimCity.
We wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
This weekâ€™s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to â€¦ Tyler Johnson, C, Norfolk Admirals (AHL).
Jaroslav Janus started his third game in three nights and stopped 27 of 30 for his 7th consecutive victory.
NOR Smith, (22) , 15:00
BRI Frischmon, (8) , 1:17 (SH)
NOR Barberio, (10) (Conacher, Johnson), 17:16 (PP)
NOR Panik, (14) (Smith, Johnson), 19:28 (PP)
BRI Mouillierat, (7) (Riley, Oleksy), 7:50
BRI McNeely, (7) (Sinkewich, Rakhshani), 11:14
NOR Barberio, (11) (Johnson, Ouellet), 13:12 (PP)
NOR Panik, (15) (Labrie), 15:52
NOR Johnson, (24) (Panik, Ouellet), 17:32 (PP)
Barberio's 2 goals moved him to 11 on the season, which is 2 better than his rookie campaign last year. He holds an 11 point advantage on St. John's defenseman Paul Postma for the league lead in scorers amongst blueliners.
Tyler Johnson has moved into 3rd amongst all AHL rookies in scoring, 3 points back of Gustav Nyqvist of Grand Rapids and 16 points back of teammate Cory Conacher.
Panik is enjoying the month of March so far with 3 goals and 8 points in 5 games. Today's Panik attack was his first 3-point game of his career.
Wednesday night in Norfolk becomes a big game for two reasons now. It was always going to be a big game with the rival Pens in town lurking 8 points back with a game in hand. But, now, it becomes even bigger with the Admirals' ridiculous, video game-like winning streak hitting 15 with a chance to run to 16. If the Admirals pull of the win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, they hop a bus to Charlotte on Friday with the opportunity to tie the all-time AHL record for consecutive victories at 17. If they pull that off, the rematch is in Charlotte at 3 pm on Sunday, with a chance to make history. It will not be easy. The Pens currently are the 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Checkers are the 3 seed in the West. But, at least its not another 3 games in 3 nights marathon like this weekend was.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk harpoons its 14th win in a row.
Jaroslav Janus stopped 26 of 27 shots for the win. Janus has now reeled off 6 straight wins and moved his save percentage to .905, just 1 point back of Dustin Tokarski's .906 save percentage before he Oberg'ed off to join the Lightning.
CT Grant, (8) (Tanski), 8:11
NOR Angelidis, (14) (Hutchings, Devos), 12:17
NOR Kostka, (9) (Johnson), 1:56
NOR Johnson, (23) (Conacher), 19:18
Janus and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars, as TJ continues to progress toward becoming an AHL superstar.
Now, as the Admirals attempt to chase down history, they have a big challenge tomorrow afternoon in Bridgeport. We may well see the season debut of Pat Nagle with a shot at a page in the record books on the line. Bridgeport currently leads the Northeast Division, so they're no pushovers and the Admirals may well see them in the playoffs. Now it gets even more interesting.
Box score from TheAHL.com.