Tokarski, Dustin

AHL Game Night: 4/6/11 Admirals at Senators

Norfolk clings to 4th in the East Division by the slimmest of margins.

NOR-1
BNG-2 (OT)

Jaroslav Janus shined making 42 saves in the overtime loss. He's allowed just 5 goals on 86 shots (.953 sv%) since spelling Dustin Tokarski against Hershey when Tic got cut with a skate. All of a sudden, he's playing under control and serving notice to the new organization why the old organization was so high on him. He's also finally justifying that #11 ranking he currently holds here on BoltProspects.

First Period
BNG Benoit, (11) (Daugavins, Smith), 11:46 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Ritola, (8) (Jones, Mihalik), 16:01

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
BNG O'Brien, (24) (Condra, Greening), 3:48

Janus was the game's third star.

Blair Jones has points in 9 straight games. Mattias Ritola has points in 7 straight and 8 goals and 17 points over that span, including 6 multi-point games. Tonight was the first time since 2/26/11 that Ritola didn't have a multi-point effort.

Norfolk climbs to within 2 points of 3rd place Charlotte with 1 game in hand on the Checkers. They also now hold a slim 1 point lead over the 5th place Senators with 1 game in hand on Binghamton. If a crossover scenario were to occur, Norfolk could get the 3rd seed in the Atlantic Division if they finish with more points than the 3rd place Connecticut Whale. They now have a 5 point lead on Connecticut with 3 games left to go for each club, so they could easily clinch no worse than the 3 seed in the Atlantic in their upcoming games against the East Division's 6th place team, Syracuse.

Norfolk draws Syracuse tomorrow night and again on Saturday night before closing out the regular season on Sunday in Hartford against the Whale. Charlotte draws the now eliminated Worcester Sharks on Friday and again on Saturday. Binghamton goes to Rochester (7th in the North Division) on Friday and finishes at home against Adirondack (7th in the East Division) on Saturday. So, Norfolk likely will need 4 out of 6 possible points to hold off Binghamton for 4th, and they may need to run the table and hope Worcester can take at least a point away from Charlotte to get to 3rd place. 2 more points earned or lost by Connecticut will clinch no worse than the 3 seed in the Atlantic via the crossover. In that scenario, Norfolk would face Manchester. Unfortunately for Norfolk, their three most likely matchups (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Hershey, or Manchester) happen to be the 3 best defensive teams in the Eastern Conference in terms of goals allowed. Great.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Tokarski Was Lucky

Norfolk goaltender Dustin Tokarski was pulled from the Admirals' game against the Hershey Bears on Saturday after being cut on he neck by a skate blade. When you hear a goalie getting cut by a skate blade you immediately think of the Sabres' Clint Malarchuk vs. the St. Louis Blues years ago.

Tokarski was a lot luckier than Malarchuk Saturday as he "only" required nearly 30 stitches to close the wound.

Tokarski's teammate and fellow Lightning prospect Stefano Giliati posted a picture of Tokarski's gash on Twitter Tuesday morning, which Giliati referred to as "badass."

AHL Game Night: 4/2/11 Bears at Admirals

Big trouble in Norfolk.

HER-5
NOR-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 16 shots before leaving the game with an injury. With Cedrick Desjardins likely shelved for the rest of the season, any kind of injury to Tic is a big, big problem. The early indication is that Tokarski had his chin sliced open with a skate blade. So, you'd think he should be back, but considerably more ugly, for the road trip.

Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 14 shots for the hard luck loss. It was, by far and away, Janus' best performance of the season, and he may inherit the starter's job if Tokarski is out for any length of time.

First Period
HER Greentree, (29) (McNeill, Fahey), 0:59
NOR Ritola, (5) (Pouliot, Barberio), 3:56
NOR Pouliot, (22) (Jones, Ritola), 6:09 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (23) (Ritola, Milam), 18:53 (PP)
NOR Durno, (19) , 19:17

Second Period
HER Bouchard, (12) (Souray), 2:33
HER Greentree, (30) (Aucoin, McNeill), 3:08 (PP)
HER McNeill, (7) (Perreault), 6:12
HER Gordon, (26) (Aucoin, Fahey), 17:34

Third Period
NO SCORING

Marc-Antoine Pouliot was the game's second star.

Mattias Ritola has 19 points in 12 AHL games this season. Classic case of being too good for the AHL but not quite good enough to stick in the NHL?

Radko Gudas is -9 since the calendar turned to 2011 and he has plummeted from a +20 rating to a +11 rating in a little over 3 months. With an assist tonight, the Lightning's other gifted young defenseman, Mark Barberio now has 28 points and is just 2 shy of the 30 point plateau.

Norfolk finishes their season 19-11-10 at home. There have 5 games remaining in the regular season, and all will be on the road.

Norfolk remains in 4th place in the East Division by 1 point thanks to a loss by Binghamton. The Ads still hold 1 game in hand on the Senators. Unfortunately, 3rd place Charlotte won to take a 5 point lead over the Admrials with Norfolk holding 2 games in hand. It's not impossible for Norfolk to catch the Checkers, but they have to win their next game in Charlotte to have any kind of legitimate chance. Honestly, though, I want no part of Hershey. I'd almost rather play Wilkes/Barre-Scranton or take the crossover into the Atlantic Division and play Portland or Manchester.

Norfolk's remaining schedule: at Charlotte on Monday, at Binghamton on Wednesday, at Syracuse next Friday and Saturday, and the season finale at Connecticut next Sunday. It's a brutal stretch of 5 road games in 7 nights, with uncertainty between the pipes because of injuries.

One bit of good news, with Worcester's 4-1 loss to Providence, the gap on the 4th place team in the Atlantic remained at 6 points. The Sharks have just 4 games remaining, so any combination of Norfolk points earned and Sharks points lost equal to 3 will officially clinch a playoff spot for the Admirals. But, right now, it feels like the team is backing into the playoffs, and that's not good.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4/1/11 Bears at Admirals

The Admirals look like April fools.

HER-6
NOR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 22 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Gordon, (25) (Aucoin, Holtby), 5:14
HER Bouchard, (11) (Kozek, Orlov), 16:02

Second Period
HER Souray, (4) (Orlov, Gordon), 3:09
HER Perreault, (11) , 16:52
NOR Milam, (15) , 17:08
NOR Ritola, (4) (Milam, Pouliot), 18:17 (PP)

Third Period
HER Aucoin, (18) (Greentree, Willsie), 3:26 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (21) (Jones, Ritola), 18:23 (PP)
HER Pinizzotto, (17) , 19:31 (EN/SH)

Tory Milam was the game's third star.

Any designs Norfolk had on 2nd place in the East Division were probably wiped out by tonight's loss. The club got very lucky that both Charlotte and Binghamton got waffled by similar scores tonight, but Worcester did win their game in the crossover. Norfolk is 3 points back of the 3rd place Checkers with 2 games in hand and 1 point up on 5th place Binghamton with 1 game in hand. Their lead over the Sharks is down to 6 points with 1 game in hand, though. The team picked a helluva time for a 3 game losing streak.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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