Just a terrible third period as the Lightning waste a quality start by the kid.
Karri Ramo stopped 33 of 35 shots faced in the loss.
Carolina 9:31, Ray Whitney 17 (Cory Stillman, Frantisek Kaberle)
Carolina 19:00, Ray Whitney 18 (empty net) (Scott Walker)
Carolina 19:57, Eric Staal 17 (empty net) (Ray Whitney, Bret Hedican)
A star is born?
In his first NHL start, Karri Ramo stopped 31 of 32 shots faced for the win.
Fate played the cruel trick of scheduling my girlfriend's company's holiday party on this night, of all nights. Three years I've been covering this kid since all the way back when the only people keeping an eye on him were Karri Kettunen and the couple dozen people showing up to Lahti Pelicans Junior A games, and I have to Tivo his first NHL start? What the heck?
By Ramo standards, believe it or not, I thought he played a pretty mediocre game. He struggled with his rebound control and as far as his positioning goes I thought he played a little deep in the net and overplayed to one side on occassion. Those areas will need to improve, and my expectation is that they will.
Bottom line though, he stopped pucks. Just stop pucks. The Lightning don't need the second coming of Patrick Roy (yet). They just need someone steady who isn't going to spot the opposition cheap goals and isn't going to panic and allow one goal to snowball into giving up three or four goals in a period. He did that tonight and as long as he continues to do that, I'm willing to bet Torts will keep starting him.
Kudos to the Lightning for playing a pretty good game defensively in front of Ramo too, defensemen and forwards alike. They knew they had a rookie in net and they knew they needed to step up and hustle for the new guy. They didn't play a perfect game defensively, but when they made mistakes they generally busted their humps to rectify the situation. I don't recall any clear cut odd man rushes tonight and there weren't any breakaways, and that's how you break a rookie in. They played hard for Karri, and Karri rewarded them by making 2 goals stand up for a win.
Of course, then again, there were those final 7 minutes when suddenly it seemed like several Lightning players were suddenly brain dead (Shane O'Brien I'm looking at you) and where easy clears became unforced turnovers and harrowing moments in the Lightning zone. Scary stuff, which I suppose made Lecavalier putting the finishing touch on the 2-on-1 to win it that much more cathartic.
Mathieu Darche played 15:04 with 3 shots and 3 hits.
Mike Lundin played 15:01 and was +1 with 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 blocked shots and, as rare as a Loch Nest Monster sighting, 1 hit. Of course he also got his world absolutely rocked on a hit in the first period.
Jay Leach played 6:26 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in his third career NHL game. Atta boy Jay.
Blair Jones got a whopping 3 shifts and 50 seconds of ice time. In what little he's played so far, I think he's looked good on the forecheck but he's getting absolutely owned in the faceoff circles.
What gives HF? Seriously.
Look, we're long past the point of expecting anything resembling objectivity considering one of your top writers was once quoted as claiming Blair Jones was "trash" because he was a 4th round pick, but can you guys at least acknowledge that Mike Lundin (another 4th round pick, so I guess that makes him "trash" too) has made the NHL? Is that really too much to ask?
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.
Washington 0:08, Dave Steckel 2 (Brian Pothier)
Tampa Bay 5:50, Vincent Lecavalier 22 (Vaclav Prospal)
Washington 5:06, Brian Pothier 3 (Matt Pettinger, Tomas Fleischmann)
Mathieu Darche was -1 in 16:28 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits.
Mike Lundin continues to get minimal ice time, playing 11:39 tonight with a -1 rating a 1 blocked shot.
Blair Jones played 1 shift. 9 seconds. Someone do the math how much money he made on a per second basis tonight. Talk about easy money.
Eventually when you keep subtracting forwards, something like this happens.
Karri Ramo held Hershey to 1 goal through 40 minutes but the floodgates opened in the third. He allowed 3 goals on 25 shots in the game for the loss before being lifted for Jonathan Boutin who allowed 2 goals on 4 shots the rest of the way. Norfolk was outshot 29-20 in the game.
HER Joudrey, (3) (Potulny, McNeill), 8:50
HER Wilson, (6) (Barney), 3:47
HER Joudrey, (4) (Potulny, Lepisto), 5:07
NOR Stewart, (7) , 8:56
HER Barney, (3) (Wilson, Morgan), 10:14
HER Potulny, (9) (Lepisto, Wilson), 17:51 (PP)
Blair Jones was a key cog at forward for Norfolk so far this season playing over 20 minutes a night with a significant power play role. It will take time for the Admirals to adjust to his absence.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Bolt Prospects' #1 rated prospect in the organization, Karri Ramo, made a statement in his second game back from injury stopping 38 of 39 shots for the win. The Admirals were outshot 39-17 in the game, but Ramo was simply too much for Philly earning first star of the game honors.
NOR Keller, (4) (Wanvig, Henrich), 10:56
PHI Potulny, (9) (Ross, Ruzicka), 13:45 (PP)
NOR Jones, (6) (Stewart, Milley), 6:54
Ramo and Blair Jones were first and second stars of the game, respectively.
The kind of resiliency it takes to go from getting severely roughed up in the third period of the game against Binghamton (his first back from the high ankle sprain) to going out and almost single-handedly beating the best team in the division is, in a word, special. Let the pool for when Ramo gets recalled and makes his first NHL start giving Holmqvist a well earned night off begin. I have next Saturday, December 15th, against the Caps.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Remember when I said maybe this wasn't the week the Admirals would make their move after all when Darche and Jancevski were called up? Shows how much I know. My only real regret: not being able to see the look on Springfield Republican writer Fran Sypek's face as the Lightning's "suspects" dismantled the Falcons.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 24 of 26 shots faced tonight to run his record to 6-2-2 this season. When you get at least a point in 80% of your starts, that's pretty darn good in my book.
NOR Klinkhammer, (2) (Stewart, Jones), 1:55
SPR McDonald, (4) (Thoresen, Reddox), 4:42
SPR Schremp, (4) (Kemp, Reddox), 1:01 (PP)
NOR Milley, (4) (Schneider, Fletcher), 7:58
NOR Milley, (5) (MacDonald, Wanvig), 9:50
NOR Keller, (2) (Mihalik, Jones), 18:41 (PP)
NOR MacDonald, (3) (Wanvig, Milley), 3:07
NOR Leach, (3) (Stewart, Jones), 14:10
Norm Milley, Craig MacDonald, and Kyle Wanvig were the three stars of the game.
But it's not just the veterans who were chipping in this week. Blair Jones is now riding a three game point streak posting 2 goals and 7 points over that span. Justin Keller is also riding a three game point streak with 1 goal and 4 points over that span. Further adding support offensively: Vladimir Mihalik with 3 assists in the last two games and Rob Klinkhammer with 1 goal and 4 points over the same span.
Norfolk now improves their record to 8-10-2 on the season and sets itself up well for a critical road trip through the division. With 18 points the Admirals are now in a three way tie with Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the 4th and final playoff spot in the division, 2 points back of 3rd place Binghamton and 3 points back of 2nd place Albany. Norfolk draws Albany on Wednesday and Friday nights before facing Bighamton next Saturday and Hershey next Sunday. 4 road games in 5 nights. The math isn't complicated, and the stakes are high. The good news is word on the street is Karri Ramo might be ready by next weekend to spell Boutin, who has almost exclusively carried the load for Norfolk over the past couple of weeks.
If the Ads play their cards right, they could be sitting at .500 or better by the end of next weekend and occupying a potential playoff spot. Not bad for a team that was close to being given up for dead just two weeks ago.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk gets an early touchdown and holds Philly to a field goal.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 28 of 31 shots faced to advance his record to 4-2-2 on the season.
NOR Wanvig, (11) , 0:39 (PEN/SH)
NOR Jones, (4) (Keller, Stewart), 0:51
NOR Jones, (5) (Fletcher, Keller), 10:20 (PP)
NOR Campbell, (1) (Scalzo, Jones), 18:23 (PP)
NOR MacDonald, (2) (Smaby, Milley), 18:55
NOR Milley, (3) (MacDonald), 13:13
PHI Downie, (1) (Ross, Parent), 17:56
PHI Ross, (6) , 4:39 (SH)
PHI Picard, (2) (Downie, Potulny), 10:03
NOR Stewart, (2) (MacDonald, Wanvig), 18:22 (PP)
Norfolk now 2 points out of the last playoff spot in their division with a 2 game set against Springfield coming up.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
The Ads almost pulled off the upset.
Morgan Cey allowed 4 goals on 21 shots for the loss. The Admirals outshot the Falcons 29-21 in the game, the first time they've outshot an opponent this season.
NOR Hrdel, (1) (Jones, Kvapil), 19:17
SPR Nilsson, (1) (Bisaillon, Thoresen), 4:15
NOR Egener, (1) (Jones, Wanvig), 4:42
SPR Reddox, (3) (Berry, Smid), 6:09
SPR Nilsson, (2) (Thoresen, Rourke), 6:37
SPR Peckham, (1) (Bodie), 9:22 (PP)
NOR Jones, (1) (Wanvig, Egener), 10:32