Szczechura, Paul

NHL Game Night: 3-14-10 Penguins at Lightning

The Pens get the benefit of the bounce.

PIT-2
TB-1

Antero Niittymaki allowed 2 goals on 39 shots for the loss. He certainly did everything he could to give the Lightning a chance to win and seems to be getting hot again. A hot Niitty is probably the only chance the Lightning have down the stretch.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB 8:09, Lecavalier 20 (Fedoruk, Hedman)

Third Period
PIT 2:20, Dupuis 17 (Staal, Cooke)
PIT 5:17, Gonchar 10 (Crosby, Ponikarovsky)(PP)

The difference in the game was the goofy bounce Pittsburgh got on their first goal and the solid goaltending of Fleury in the first period. It makes you wonder though why this team could play poorly and lose in overtime against the worst team in the conference (Toronto) and then turn around and beat the best (Washington) and take the defending champs (Pittsburgh) to the brink. If they played with the same intensity they did in the first period of this game, they'd be sitting on 80-90 points in the standings already. That's frustrating in the near term, as this team's playoff chances are becoming slim. In the long term Lightning fans should take heart. A young team like this is going to figure that out, and have the chance to be an elite team when they do.

Congratulations to Vincent Lecavalier on his 10th straight 20 goal season. That's 10 straight seasons of excellence, no matter how you slice it.

Also, congratulations to Steven Stamkos for making Matt Cooke a stain on the ice during a third period power play. Now that's young leadership you can believe in.

Paul Szczechura had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 13:01. He was also 56% on draws and almost had the first goal of the game on a 2-on-1 feed from Lecavalier that was turned aside by Fleury. I must apologize to Szczechura for missing that his last game against the Caps (3-12-10) marked his graduation from prospect status on Bolt Prospects. So, he got an extra night of coverage tonight so that we can extend congratulations to him on becoming a full-time NHLer with 41 and now 42 games played this season. He'll likely be the last graduate of the 2009/2010 class that included Downie, Hedman, and Wright already.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-12-10 Lightning at Capitals

The patient has a pulse.

TB-3
WSH-2

Antero Niittymaki allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory. It's amazing what a difference goaltending makes, isn't it?

First Period
WSH 16:54, Fleischmann 20 (Ovechkin, Knuble)(PP)
TB 19:11, Bochenski 2 (Fedoruk, Lundin)

Second Period
TB 11:30, Walker 2 (Veilleux, Thompson)
TB 15:12, Lecavalier 19 (Walker, Purcell)

Third Period
WSH 11:09, Laich 21 (Green, Ovechkin)(PP)

Strange to see the rare game where the Lightning don't get a goal from the power play or #91, and it happens to be a big win.

Paul Szczechura had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 11:06. He was also 33% on draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-11-10 Lightning at Maple Leafs

The season is officially on life support.

TB-3
TOR-4 (OT)

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 38 shots for the overtime loss. My kingdom for a netminder who could manage to play 60 minutes and stop at least 90% of the pucks he faces.

First Period
TB 18:17, Stamkos 42 (Foster, Lecavalier)(PP)

Second Period
TOR 9:29, Stalberg 4 (Caputi, Schenn)
TOR 16:17, Stalberg 5 (Caputi, Grabovski)
TB 16:41, Foster 8 (Stamkos, St. Louis)

Third Period
TOR 3:37, Bozak 5 (Kessel, Kulemin)
TB 5:00, Downie 17 (Lundin, St. Louis)

Overtime
TOR 3:33, Kessel 23 (Bozak)

The Lightning did pick up a point. But, it's an ominous sign when you can't beat the worst team in the conference on a night where you know you absolutely know you must have the two points. The scary thing is that, with Carolina getting so hot, there's even a chance the Lightning could finish in the division basement. The Lightning are tied with Atlanta at 66 points and both Florida and Carolina are just behind the team at 64 points. It's pretty bad right now.

To tell the truth, if I was Jeffrey Vinik, I don't think I'd spare anyone on the hockey operations side right now, other than maybe the amateur scouts. Whether you're on Team Brian or Team Rick, it doesn't matter. When you crash and burn this hard, everyone's job needs to be under scrutiny.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 11:29. He was also 36% on draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-9-10 Lightning at Canadiens

Unless the Lightning play Atlanta 10 more times this season, things are looking grim.

TB-3
MTL-5

Antero Niittymaki allowed 4 goals on 13 shots for the loss before giving way to Mike Smith who allowed 1 goal on 15 shots the rest of the way. At least Smitty didn't get stuck with the back door loss.

First Period
MTL 2:50, Metropolit 15 (Gomez, Spacek)(PP)
MTL 12:02, Gomez 12 (unassisted)

Second Period
TB 3:47, Stamkos 41 (unassisted)(PP)
MTL 4:28, Pouliot 16 (Gomez)
MTL 7:33, Darche 4 (Metropolit, Markov)
TB 10:03, Walker 1 (Parrish, Veilleux)

Third Period
MTL 3:26, Darche 5 (Plekanec, Markov)
TB 18:53, St. Louis 24 (Stamkos, Foster)

Bolt Prospects alumni and former overage prospect graduate Mathieu Darche is vengeful against his ex mates. Cold blooded.

Paul Szczechura was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:31. He was also 44% on draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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