Back on track.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory.
SYR Connolly, (28) (Namestnikov, Korobov), 1:37
SYR Connolly, (29) (Johnson, Palat), 8:28 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (33) (Palat, Taormina), 10:11 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (12) (Angelidis, Cote), 19:33
SYR Connolly, (30) (Paradis, Lee), 2:08
RCH Biega, (5) (Ellis, Mancari), 4:53
The cavalry arrived, and just in time. Brett Connolly threw in a hat trick, his first as a pro, to get to 30 goals. For my money, this guy needs to be in the AHL MVP discussion prominently. He's been the most consistent Crunch player all year long, even more so than Tyler Johnson whose stats sagged a little after coming back from Lightning camp midway through the year. Connolly and Johnson are tied for 8th in the league in scoring at 60 points.
Binghamton absolutely throttled Albany 5-0 to start the day, which put huge pressure on Syracuse to win. Meanwhile, Providence beat Springfield 2-0 in a head-to-head matchup that was advantageous for the Crunch. Syracuse remains 4 back of the Bruins, pulls into a tie with Springfield at 93 points, and remains 2 up on the Senators. All three teams have a game in hand on Syracuse, though. Next weekend, starting Friday, will be a 3-games-in-3-nights set to complete the regular season, all at home: Norfolk, Worcester, and a game against Binghamton that may well decide the East Division title. With Mark Barberio out of the lineup for Tampa Bay tonight and Victor Hedman back in, I would think more reinforcements are on the way, too.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Like Lou Rawls said, "Love is a hurtin' thing."
Ben Bishop allowed 6 goals on 45 shots for the loss. Guessing he's out of gas after spending much of the year in a deep goaltending rotation.
04:07 PIT Jokinen (8), (Morrow, Dupuis)
06:02 PIT Dupuis (20), (Kennedy, Niskanen)(PP)
16:00 TB Purcell (9), (Stamkos, Salo)(PP)
01:48 PIT Kunitz (21), (Iginla, Letang)(PP)
05:46 TB Connolly (1), (Panik, Killorn)
01:24 PIT Malkin (8), (unassisted)
04:45 PIT Jokinen (9), (Murray, Dupuis)
16:40 PIT Glass (1), (Jokinen, Iginla)(PP)
19:42 TB Purcell (10), (St. Louis, Carle)(PP)
I actually thought the Lightning set themselves up well to pull the upset heading into the Third Period, but after Bishop allowed the soft goal to Malkin the wheels started to come off. It's time to face facts, Steve Yzerman pulled the trigger on Boucher about 1 month too late to give Cooper the time he needed to turn this season around. The good news is that most, not all, but most of the Syracuse kids played decent games against the Pittsburgh machine tonight. That bodes well for next season.
Mark Barberio was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 16:47. I wish he didn't play so tentative. Would've loved for him to score and then punch Pierre McGuire in the mush whilst explaining, "Learn to pronounce my name baldy." He was named a Second Team AHL All-Star today.
Alex Killorn had a helper but was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 17:31. He's been logging a ton of ice time lately and I wonder if he's hitting a bit of a rookie wall.
Tyler Johnson was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:29. Looked darned good with the puck on his stick. Looked fast and dangerous. He was also named a First Team AHL All-Star today.
Richard Panik had a helper and was -1 with 3 hits in 11:36. He had the primary helper on Connolly's beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. Connolly was named a Second Team AHL All-Star today, by the way.
Radko Gudas was -1 with 16 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:43. He's getting caught up ice too much. I like the effort level and toughness, but he needs to clean up some of his decision making.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 9:31.
Time to start sending the kids back to Syracuse for the playoffs. With the roster they have right now, the Crunch are in danger of a first round upset. It's too valuable a developmental opportunity and the NHL season is lost. Put Pouliot and Pyatt back in and send a couple key players down. It's the shrewd thing to do.
Bishop smacks down his ex-team.
14:29 OTT Alfredsson (9), (Turris, Phillips)
02:35 TB Labrie (1), (Thompson, Crombeen)
04:28 TB Lecavalier (9), (Purcell, St. Louis)(PP)
00:21 OTT Latendresse (6), (Turris, Wiercioch)
14:56 TB Stamkos (26), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
Vincent Lecavalier, Sami Salo, and The Secret Weapon, Pierre-Cedric Labrie were the game's three stars. Lecavalier is now over a point a game since coming back from the broken foot. It's a shame we'll never know what kind of season he could've had if he hadn't tried to play on a bad wheel for a month.
Old man Alfredsson retiring won't cost me any tears. The man's been cutting our hearts out for years.
Mark Barberio was -1 with 1 shot in 14:12 in his NHL debut. 4 giveaways. Oof.
Alex Killorn had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 22:13.
Tyler Johnson was -1 with 1 shot and was 75% on draws in 11:49.
Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 9:37.
Radko Gudas was +1 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:05.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 6 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:30. Check the man's shooting percentage. Sniper. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)
In the old days of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mark Barberio may be a 2-year veteran at this point in his career.
The Lightning had little organizational depth and if prospects showed flashes of NHL ability, they were called up to the big club and thrown to the proverbial wolves.
When new general manager Steve Yzerman took over, he changed all that, and Barberio is a prime example of his player development philosophy.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled defenseman Mark Barberio from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Additionally, defenseman Matt Taormina has been reassigned to the Crunch
Barberio, 23, has played in 70 games this season with the Crunch, posting eight goals and 40 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating. He ranks third for assists (32) and fifth for points among AHL defensemen. The Montreal, Quebec native leads all Crunch defensemen in goals, assists and points. Of his eight goals this season, five have been recorded while on the man-advantage.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman has skated in 212 career AHL games with the Crunch and Norfolk Admirals, posting 30 goals and 132 points with 111 penalty minutes. Last season, while playing for the Admirals, Barberio won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s top defenseman. He was also part of the Admirals team that won the Calder Cup, registering two goals and nine points in 18 games during the playoffs.
Barberio was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 152nd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.