Jones, Blair

Bolts Deal F Blair Jones for D Brendan Mikkelson

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Brendan Mikkelson from the Calgary Flames today in exchange for forward Blair Jones, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Mikkelson will join the Lightning.

Mikkelson, 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, has played in 86 career NHL games with the Flames and the Anaheim Ducks, recording six assists and 40 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut during the 2008-09 season and played in a career-high 34 games with Anaheim. Mikkelson played in his first NHL game on January 2, 2009 against Philadelphia.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Mikkelson has appeared in 33 games for the Abbotsford Heat this season, notching three goals and 15 points. He is one of three Heat players to skate in all 33 games in 2011-12 and ranks second among all team defensemen in goals, assists and points.

Mikkelson has played in 183 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Iowa Chops, Toronto Marlies and Abbotsford. He has amassed 18 career AHL goals and 64 points. Mikkelson helped Portland to the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, recording two goals and eight points.

The 24-year-old was claimed off waivers by Calgary from Anaheim on October 19, 2010. He was drafted by the Ducks in the second round, 31st overall, of the 2005 NHL Draft.

NHL Game Night: 1-5-12 Lightning at Senators

And just like that, all the gains of the homestand slid away.

TB-1
OTT-4

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. It's a horrible feeling for a team to know they have to work like crazy to score goals and then the other team can come down and have a much easier time to get on the board because of the goaltending. It's morale-destroying, and Ottawa's third goal was awful. Unscreened long shot in a game where you're pressing for the tying goal down 1? Unacceptable.

First Period
OTT Spezza (15), (Greening, Gonchar), 10:36

Second Period
OTT Turris (1), (Alfredsson, Condra), 17:07

Third Period
TB Stamkos (28), (Lecavalier, Gilroy), 8:48
OTT Smith (12), (Alfredsson, Foligno), 16:34
OTT Alfredsson (13), (Turris)(EN), 19:07

7 points out of 8th place and 2 games under .500, and the past half month has been a net zero. Treading water.

J.T. Wyman had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 5:32, but left the game with an upper body injury.

Blair Jones had 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:02. 4 games until his 82nd NHL game, and graduation from prospect status at long last.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-3-12 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Yeah. Awful.

TB-3
TOR-7

Mathieu Garon allowed 4 goals on 21 shots for the loss before giving way to Dwayne Roloson who allowed 18 on 21 the rest of the way. Almost equally hideous.

First Period
TB Lecavalier (14), (Wyman, Moore), 0:58
TOR Lupul (18), (Connolly, Gardiner), 3:25
TOR Gunnarson (2), (Connolly, Lupul), 8:46

Second Period
TB Stamkos (27), (St. Louis), 11:55
TOR Grabovski (11), (Lupul, Schenn), 12:28
TB Kubina (3), (Brewer), 13:26
TOR Boyce (1), (Frattin, Aulie), 13:43
TOR Frattin (5), (Kadri, Lombardi), 19:22

Third Period
TOR Phaneuf (6), (Grabovski, Macarthur)(PP), 1:23
TOR Kessel (22), (Lupul, Phaneuf)(PP), 12:28

The really, really tough part is that just about every other team in the conference won tonight, so the loss hurts really badly in the standings.

J.T. Wyman had an assist and was +1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:25.

Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:17. Both of the younger guys benefited a bit from some garbage time ice time. Tonight was Blair Jones' 77th NHL game, so he now is just 5 more games from graduating here on Bolt Prospects.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-31-11 Hurricanes at Lightning

.500 to end 2011. Now the real climb begins.

CAR-2
TB-5

Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the win. I can't emphasize enough how impressed I am with the way he shrugged off the soft goal in Colorado. I hate to keep bringing that up, but it speaks to the fact Garon is a veteran and knows how to handle adversity, and that's critical for a team in the situation the Lightning is in.

First Period
TB Stamkos (24), (St. Louis, Downie), 3:22
CAR Faulk (2), (Bowman, Staal)(PP), 16:12

Second Period
CAR Harrison (3), (Staal, McBain)(PP), 4:29
TB Stamkos (25), (St. Louis, Downie), 8:17

Third Period
TB Stamkos (26), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 0:43
TB Purcell (7), (Malone, Clark), 1:05
TB Downie (6), (Malone, Pyatt), 6:51

Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Steve Downie were the game's three stars. Not much of a surprise to see two great players like St. Louis and Downie step up and do what they do best. Congrats to St. Louis on his 500th assist, too. But, the straw that has stirred the drink these past two games has been Downie. I speculated most of the first half of the season whether he was hurt because he's looked a bit stiff and a step slow, but he's been my #1 star of the past two nights. Yeah, he looks like Charlie Manson, but he has an amazing skill set as a playmaker and as a finisher, too. He and Purcell coming to life in the second half are prerequisites for making the playoffs.

Dominic Moore was robbed of a goal that would've made it 6-2. He so clearly did not interfere with Cam Ward and then Ward proceeded to mount him like a rodeo bull? I sat there in amazement at how Moore and Lecavalier possibly could get calls on that play because they did NOTHING illegal. It looked like a case of the refs taking pity on Carolina, I think. Kudos to Bobby Taylor for correctly pointing out those calls threw into question whether that referee crew has the intelligence to organize a one car parade. After tonight, I would cast my vote with the nays.

What the Lightning need to understand is that tonight's win was just the prelims. This road trip through Canada is the real challenge for this team, and they cannot afford to fall flat on the road. So they need to have swagger and confidence, but recognize they need to work hard to back it up, or this home stand was for naught.

J.T. Wyman had 2 hits in 10:31. Solid game.

Blair Jones Had 1 hit in 10:04, but was slightly more effective in some shifts with Tyrell and Pyatt where he got some puck retrieval help.

Box score from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-29-11 Canadiens at Lightning

Staying alive by the skin of their collective teeth.

MTL- 3
TB- 4

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the win. He made some key saves that his counterpart at the other end simply did not.

First Period
TB Stamkos (23), (Kubina, Downie), 3:43
MTL Cammalleri (8), (Desharnais, Diaz)(PP), 8:42

Second Period
MTL Desharnais (6), (Kostitsyn, Diaz), 5:01
MTL Cole (15), (Pacioretty, Kaberle), 12:46
TB Wyman (1), (Purcell, Gilroy), 17:38

Third Period
TB Bergeron (4), (Downie, St. Louis), 2:32
TB Lecavaler (13), (Wyman, Moore), 8:37

Steven Stamkos and JT Wyman were the game's first and second stars.

On balance, this was another subpar effort, but the Lightning, with help from Price, found a way to manufacture another result that they desperately needed. They can't live on a diet of being outshot and outchanced, though. The overall product still needs to improve as the team tries to reach .500 against Carolina.

Wyman had his first NHL goal and an assist and was +2 With 1 shot and 1 hit in 7:01. His goal was horrifically soft by Carey Price, and as often is the case with soft goals it was the difference in the game. His hard work has been infectious, though.

Blair Jones had 1 hit in 6:56. He's gone back to being a bit of a non-factor, seeing as his best hit of the night was to careen into the Canadiens goal with no one within a country mile of him in the first period. If he isn't careful, Wyman is going to take his roster spot.

Box score from NHL.com.

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