Omsk 2 @ Astana 1
Karri Ramo, Omsk, Win, 25/26, 1.00 GAA, .962 sv%
Season totals: 24 GP, 14-9, 2 SO, 1.91 GAA, .917 sv%
Jaromir Jagr assisted on Dimitri Pestunov's game winning third period goal to help lift Karri Ramo and Omsk over Astana 2-1. Former Lightning draft pick Ilya Solarev took two minor penalties in the match for Astana. Interestingly, Ramo's numbers are very similar to St. Petersburg goaltender Robert Esche (15-7, 3 SO, 2.04 GAA, .916 sv%), who the Lightning briefly courted for Ramo's vacant backup spot in Tampa Bay before signing Antero Niittymaki.
Chekhov 0 @ Magnitogorsk 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 29/29, 1 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 29 GP, 14-13, 3 SO, 2.13 GAA, .920 sv%
Koshechkin got his first shutout in a Metallurg jersey to help boost Magnitogorsk to a 4-0 victory. Former NHL superstar Sergei Fedorov supported Koshechkin with a goal and an assist in the match. Magnitogorsk moves 1 point ahead of Yulaev into 1st in the Eastern Conference.
CSKA 2 @ Ekaterinburg 1 (OT)
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 28 GP, 4-3-7, -9, 10 PIM
CSKA got an overtime goal from ex-Senators draft pick Alexander Nikulin to pull out a 2-1 win over Ekaterinburg. Denis Kazionov played 13:29 in the match. Ekaterinburg has managed to climb over Novokuznetsk and Khabarovsk to get out of the Eastern Conference basement, but still sits 5 points behind Chelyabinsk for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.
Players receiving qualifying offers were defensemen Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby, Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin; forwards Martins Karsums, Blair Jones, Radek Smolenak and Lauri Tukonen; and goaltender Karri Ramo. Both Smolenak and Ramo have signed contracts to play in the KHL next season.
Despite the numbers, Ramo was very good the last half of the year for Tampa Bay filling in for the injured Mike Smith. Ramo started the year in AHL Norfolk and recently graduated from prospect status here at Bolt Prospects.
Ramo, pictured here with Finland's junior team in 2005, will be joined in the Finland nets by Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Ramo played last year for Finland as a back-up.
Tonight is a pretty special night for the staff here at Bolt Prospects. Tonight marked the 41st decision of the NHL career of Karri Ramo. It was also the 41st game of the season for Matt Smaby. Both are milestones for graduation from prospect status here at Bolt Prospects. Both young men are now considered NHLers in our eyes.
It's somewhat fitting that these two players should graduate on the same night. There have only been four players who have ever held the title of top rated prospect on this site. Smaby was the first when we debuted the rankings at the start of the 2005-2006 season. He held the title shortly for half a season before giving way to his teammate Ramo, who was standing on his head as a rookie for Springfield in the AHL. Ramo held the top spot before giving way to top draft pick Steven Stamkos, who graduated from prospect status earlier this season. Steve Downie earned the top spot in our Midterm Rankings shortly after Stamkos' graduation.
This team could be incredible if Lawton could find some defense without blowing up some other part of the team.
Karri Ramo allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. Despite allowing 5 goals, he actually didn't play all that badly. Two of Pittsburgh's goals came on breakaways and a third came on an uncovered player allowed to move in on Ramo all alone down the slot. The game winning goal was a case where Ramo was clearly interfered with after stopping the initial shot on the breakaway. Another goal came on a feed that went through the box on the PP down low to give Sid Crosby a clean look on Ramo moving laterally. Other than Cooke's goal to start the third period, which wasn't a bad goal so much as an untimely one, there's nothing I would fault Karri with. The decision is the 41st of Ramo's career, graduating him from prospect status here at BP.
05:00 PIT Fedotenko (16), (Staal, Kennedy)
10:08 PIT Crosby (31), (Malkin, Kunitz)(PP)
11:12 PIT Crosby (32), (Kunitz, Malkin)(PP)
01:08 PIT Cooke (12), (Staal, Letang)
04:31 TB Halpern (6), (Szczechura)(SH)
08:59 TB St. Louis (30), (Stamkos, Krajicek)
09:43 TB Szczechura (4), (unassisted)
11:43 PIT Sykora (25), (Fedotenko)
19:19 TB Halpern (7), (Karsums, Bochenski)
19:47 PIT Staal (22), (unassisted)(EN)
I give credit to the coaches and the players that no one laid down in the third period. It would've been damned easy to quit, but the Lightning came back and really gave the Pens a run for their money. They were one missed goaltender interference call away from getting to overtime. So, the heart is there, and for the most part the offensive potential is there. What's really lacking right now is two things: defense and penalty killing. The defense will get better by virtue of a healthy Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger. The penalty killing can't possibly get any worse. I don't know the stats, but the PK has been absolutely rancid the second half of this season.
Ryan Malone broke his hand blocking a shot in this game, making him the fifth key Lightning player to be shelved with a serious injury. He had already proven that last year wasn't a flash in the pan by potting his 26th goal. I give him credit. He's won me over. The injury may open up an opportunity for someone from Norfolk to get a two game cup of coffee. Blair Jones? Justin Keller? Juraj Simek?
Lets go Avs.
Noah Welch had 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:13 against the organization who drafted him.
Zenon Konopka was -1 with 2 hits in 9:58 and was 60% on draws. 9:58? Seemed like a lot more, in a good way. There are games where Konopka is nothing more than a circus clown, and then there are games like tonight where he plays hockey and he's a difference maker. He was a split second away from landing a shoulder-to-chin hit on Matt Cooke that would've made him a hero in Tampa Bay forever, and he about chewed the ends off the boards on the forecheck. Very well done.
Matt Smaby was +1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 22:56. Tonight was Smaby's 41st game of the season, meaning he joins Ramo as a freshly minted Bolt Prospects Alumni.
David Koci had 3 hits and 17 penalty minutes in 6:00 of ice time. His fight against Eric Godard seemed like the emotional tipping point of this game. Again, very well done.
Paul Szczechura had 1 goal, 1 assist, and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, and 4 shots in 16:00. He also was 33% on draws. I don't know what it is about Pittsburgh, but when Szczechura sees that jersey he seems to duck into the nearest phone booth and turn into Superman. I still don't think Szczechura is in his best shape, but he was flying tonight. That's the best game he's played in months, and the kind of game he needs to get on tape if he wants to make the team next season.
Martins Karsums had 1 assist, 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:23. He was fairly invisible, despite the impressive stat line.
Matt Lashoff was -1 with 1 hit in 17:23. I don't know if he got hurt or if the coaching staff was sending a message.
Vladimir Mihalik had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 19:41. Mobility is obviously an issue with Vladdy, but his lack of decisiveness remains a bigger concern to me.