Jones, Blair

NHL Game Night 3/21: Thrashers at Lightning

The Lightning pull out a critical win in the Tavares/Hedman sweepstakes.

ATL-4
TB-3 (SO)

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 36 shots before allowing 1 of 2 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. Since the Lightning's drubbing against Carolina, Ramo has rebounded (perhaps a bad choice of words in Karri's case) to go 2-0-3. He's got a nice .919 save percentage over that span, too, by my count. Rebound control remains an issue, but he's making the first saves, which is critical. He could save the Lightning a small fortune by proving he can be Smitty's backup with continued good performances down the stretch.

First Period
06:12 ATL Kozlov (22), (Enstrom, Armstrong)
17:49 ATL White (20), (Kozlov, Kovalchuk)(PP)

Second Period
03:50 TB Stamkos (17), (Krajicek, St. Louis)
05:12 TB Stamkos (18), (Lashoff, Lecavalier)(PP)
12:52 ATL Kovalchuk (37), (White, Enstrom)(PP)
15:36 TB Prospal (18), (Krajicek)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
ATL- Kozlov
TB- NONE

The Lightning managed to crawl back into this game after laying down in the First Period the same way they laid down in the Third Period against the Caps. They're fortunate the Thrashers stink in that regard and let them get back to even.

Steven Stamkos continues his steady march to 20 goals as he racked up his 17th and 18th tonight. Keep shooting, young man. It's hard to believe he only had 6 goals at the end of the month of January. In his last 16 games, Stamkos has 11 goals and 16 points. That pro-rates to a 56 goal, 82 point campaign over 82 games. That's not to say he'll stay this hot for a full year next season. But, to me, with an entire offseason to train and build his body and the work ethic he's already displayed, I would not be shocked at all to see him pot 40 goals and 80-90 points next year. I think the league was lulled into a false sense of security about Stamkos when he didn't come out of the hockey womb a preformed point-a-game player and when Barry Melrose decided to chuck #91 under the bus after he was fired. Hopefully Stamkos' amazing late season productivity continues to fly under the radar and sets him up to storm the league early next season. I suspect I'll almost feel pity for teams who have to choose between dying by Stammer or Vincent Lecavalier's hand next year with the two playing on opposite scoring lines. Almost.

Have the Lightning actually won a game in the third jerseys, by the way? If someone knows the team's record with them on, by all means post it. I suspect it's almost terrible enough to warrant burning the new threads.

Matt Smaby was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 24:37. This was a good rebound game after going -4 against Washington.

David Koci had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 6:45.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 1 shot in 12:41.

Martins Karsums had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:19. He was better tonight.

Richard Petiot was -1 with 6 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 23:11. He was awful in the first period as Atlanta took advantage of his slow feet. To his credit, he got it back together in the final 40 minutes. I like him as a #8 or #9 d-man who can come up from Norfolk if there's an injury.

Matt Lashoff had 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 28:18, which led the team in ice time. 3 games in a Lightning jersey: 3 power play assists. You can't complain about that kind of production. He deals a good pass for a one-timer, which can get a defenseman paid on a power play that features shooters like Stamkos, Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis. His skating allows him to potentially eat big minutes like he did tonight, too. Darren Eliot claimed tonight that his skating had somehow been "exposed." It's a shame that someone swapped out his Thrashers flavored Kool-Aid for bad moonshine. Here's to hoping his eyesight returns to him soon.

10 more games to go. We'll see if Blair Jones and/or Justin Keller get late season recalls. I would advise it with these two players having their contracts up this offseason.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Blair Jones

Basics
Position: 
Right Wing
Height: 
6.03
Weight: 
214
Age: 
27
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 4 (#102) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Tampa Bay (NHL)
Contract
Signing Date: 
06/24/2011
Contract Type: 
Two-way
Contract Length: 
1 year
Cap Number: 
$525 000

AHL Game Night 3/14: Admirals at Senators

Vengeance wore a blue jersey tonight.

NOR-5
BNG-2

Craig Kowalski allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Bochenski, (26) (Konopka), 19:53

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
BNG Mauldin, (17) (Regin, Hamel), 0:16
NOR Smolenak, (19) (Lawrence, Quick), 0:53
NOR Simek, (6) (Jones, Henley), 1:23
NOR Zingoni, (4) (Konopka, Boyle), 1:52
NOR Jones, (17) (Simek, Hooton), 9:20
BNG Mauldin, (18) (Regin), 11:08

Kowalski and Radek Smolenak were the game's first and second stars. Smolenak is just one goal away from hitting 20 for the first time in his professional career. Meanwhile, Blair Jones moved just 3 goals shy of accomplishing the same feat.

Two Chris Lawrence sitings in as many nights?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/11: Admirals at River Rats

Third period collapse.

NOR-3
ALB-5

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 36 shots for the loss. He had a shutout through 40 minutes and ended up taking the "L."

First Period
NOR Segal, (22) (Zingoni), 15:41
NOR Keller, (15) (Jones, Konopka), 16:35 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
ALB Samson, (17) (Carson, Dodge), 6:11
ALB Clarke, (3) (Weston, Angelidis), 11:57
ALB Roy, (1) (Dodge, Samson), 16:11
ALB Dwyer, (18) (Tifu, Petruzalek), 16:57
NOR Konopka, (13) (Keller), 18:43
ALB Dwyer, (19) (Angelidis, Carson), 19:14 (EN)

The Admirals were led in shots by Blair Jones and Justin Keller who each had 7 a piece.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day 3/8: Admirals at Penguins

Tired Admirals get stomped on the road.

NOR-1
WBS-4

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 12 shots for the loss before being pulled for Craig Kowalski who allowed 1 goal on 21 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
WBS Letestu, (17) (James, Taffe), 8:36 (PP)
WBS Letestu, (18) (Jeffrey, Taffe), 12:37 (PP)
WBS Minard, (29) (James, Goligoski), 17:17 (PP)

Second Period
WBS Jeffrey, (8) (Bissonnette), 12:09

Third Period
NOR Bochenski, (25) (Keller, Konopka), 19:59 (PP)

Blair Jones' goal scoring streak is snapped at three games.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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