Tonight is the 41st game of the season for Steven Stamkos, which graduates him from prospects status according to Bolt Prospects' criteria. Congratulations to the 2008 #1 pick. The change will be reflected on the release of Bolt Prospects' 2008-2009 Midterm Rankings.
A good win for the Lightning and their young netminder.
Karri Ramo stopped 29 of 32 shots for the win in his first NHL start of the season.
03:28 TBL St. Louis (16), (Lecavalier)(SH)
01:41 TB Prospal (9), (Lecavalier, Artyukhin)
08:42 ANA Ebbett (2), (Morrison, Hedican)(PP)
17:51 TB Malone (11), (St. Louis, Meszaros)(PP)
18:28 ANA Montador (3), (Morrison, Ebbett)
18:40 ANA Pronger (8), (Getzlaf, Miller)
10:50 TB Malone (12), (Halpern, St. Louis)
This is the kind of win that helps build psychological toughness for the club. After not showing up for the third period in Phoenix and then giving up two quick goals at the end of the second, it would've been easy for the Lightning to implode in the third against Anaheim. But, they didn't. They can draw on the experience the next time they face some adversity.
Similarly, Ramo rebounded from seeing his soft goal late in the second chased by a quick tying goal 18 seconds later to shut the door stopping 8 of 8 shots in the final frame to take with win. You can't underestimate how important that is for a young netminder like Ramo who has struggled the first half in Norfolk. This is a critical juncture for Karri with a job in Tampa likely open when and if Olaf Kolzig is moved at the trade deadline. Ramo is in the final year of his entry-level deal, and he appeared a lock to move up in March at the start of the year, but confidence in the netminder has flagged slightly. Getting a big win in Anaheim will hopefully help him regain his swagger over the next month and a half once he gets sent back to Norfolk and give him the momentum he needs to seize the backup job in Tampa Bay.
Matt Smaby was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:45.
Paul Szczechura had 2 hits and was 47% on draws in 15:52.
Steven Stamkos was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career. Tonight would've been his graduation from prospect status at Bolt Prospects, but that will have to wait for the game against the Kings.
What a sad, ugly third period.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots in the loss.
08:36 TB Meszaros (1), (Halpern)
12:17 PHX Jokinen (14), (Doan, Michalek)
00:46 PHX Mueller (9), (Reinprecht, Doan)(PP)
14:43 TB Halpern (2), (Prospal, Recchi)(PP)
08:09 PHX Turris (6), (Hale, Reinprecht)
The team just looked like it was skating in quicksand in the final frame.
Matt Smaby had 3 hits in 11:31.
Steven Stamkos had 2 shots and was 50% on draws in 10:49.
That's more like it.
Mike Smith stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win.
02:48 TB Eminger (3), (Jokinen, Hall)(PP)
16:20 TB St. Louis (14), (Lecavalier, Prospal)
01:00 TB St. Louis (15), (Prospal, Eminger)
18:16 TB Malone (10), (Halpern, Mihalik)
19:38 ATL Christensen (2), (Slater, Boulton)
I'll have to investigate who broke code by uttering the "s" word before the game was over to cost Smith the goose egg.
You get a new appreciation for the difference between an NHL defenseman and a minor league defenseman watching what getting Krajicek back in the lineup does for the team. You also have to admire the toughness of Andrej Meszaros and you see that when Eminger's offensive game shows up, along with the MVP line, the Lightning are very potent offensively.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 14:58. I believe when Ranger and Heward come back, that Heward should be sent back to Norfolk of the AHL and Smaby should be the new #7 defenseman. It's time for him to learn his craft at the NHL level.
Vladimir Mihalik got his first NHL assist in 6:52 of ice time. Hopefully this emergency recall will energize Vladimir to reapply himself when he goes back to Norfolk. He pouted a bit when he was sent down at the start of the season. The psychology will be different on an emergency recall, I hope.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and was 20% on draws in 11:35. He's now 2 games away from his Bolt Prospects graduation from prospect status.