All hail King Holmer.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 29 of 32 shots faced in overtime and regulation before stopping 2 of 2 in the shootout to remain a perfect 15 for 15 in the shootout this season. A bit of a softie on the Richardson goal tonight, but Holmqvist made up for it on several stops tonight. This was not necessarily a game the Lightning deserved to win, but as road warriors they've been finding ways to grind out two points out of these games lately. The win is the Lightning's sixth straight road win which is a new team record.
Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each had a goal and an assist to lead the Lightning offensively. Ruslan Fedotenko had the other Lightning goal (and played great tonight) and Ryan Craig, Dan Boyle, Andreas Karlsson, Paul Ranger and Filip Kuba added individual helpers. Lecavalier and Brad Richards (who also played great tonight) had the Lightning's shootout talleys.
For anyone wondering, Blair Jones played just 4 shifts tonight for 2:36 of ice time. He had 1 blocked shot and was 2-for-2 on faceoffs. His last three shifts he must've been in stealth mode, because his first period shift was the only time I saw him all night.
The win, coupled with a Carolina loss against Toronto tonight, moves the Lightning within 2 points of second place in the Southeast Division with a game in hand and the Hurricanes on the slate for Thursday night. The team also maintains pace with Atlanta 10 points back of the division lead with 1 game in hand on the Thrashers and 2 head-to-head matchups remaining on the schedule. The Lightning can almost certainly make a run at this, especially with the bottomfeeding Panthers on the schedule 5 more times.
Tampa Bay 6:32, Martin St. Louis 31 (power play) (Ryan Craig, Dan Boyle)
Philadelphia 7:23, Mike Richards 2 (shorthanded) (Alexei Zhitnik, Joni Pitkanen)
Philadelphia 18:49, Jeff Carter 7 (shorthanded) (Simon Gagne, Denis Gauthier)
Tampa Bay 19:24, Ruslan Fedotenko 11 (power play) (Andreas Karlsson, Paul Ranger)
Philadelphia 3:13, Peter Forsberg 9 (Joni Pitkanen)
Tampa Bay 12:06, Vincent Lecavalier 31 (Filip Kuba, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay: Lecavalier, Richards
Game sheet from NHL.com.
According to the press release, Jones, 6-foot-3, 210-pounds, has played in 45 games for the Falcons this season. He has scored five goals and recorded 21 points. He played in two games with the Lightning during the 2006 preseason and logged nearly 10 minutes of ice time in each game while landing two hits, recording one takeaway and blocking three shots.
He has already played six games with the Lightning this season. He appeared in his first NHL game November 20 at Buffalo and logged nearly 10 minutes of ice time. He recorded his first career point with an assist on the game winner on November 22 at Florida. He has two assists this season with Tampa Bay.
If Ramo got shot at any more in this game, someone would've owed him a medal.
Karri Ramo stopped 53 of 55 shots faced in the loss as the Falcons were outshot 55-22 including 19-5 in the decisive final period. For his Herculean efforts, Ramo was named second star of the game. The lone Falcons goal came on the power play from Doug O'Brien off assists from Marek Kvapil and Blair Jones. As unholy as the shot totals were in the game, they were just one savvy play from the veteran line away from stealing a point which isn't bad for their third game in three nights.
The loss puts the Falcons 2 points back behind the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division at 22-22-1. The Falcons will face division leading Manchester on Wednesday and a struggling Philadelphia club on Saturday. From here on out every point matters.
SPR O'Brien, (4) (Kvapil, Jones), 10:46 (PP)
HFD Callahan, (26) (Immonen), 15:19
HFD Baranka, (3) (Dawes, Degon), 6:55 (PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Somebody forgot to tell the Falcons to play dead.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 23 of 24 shots faced for the win and actually held a shutout up until just 3:11 left in the game's final frame. The Falcons' goals came from Blair Jones and Eric Healey with assists to Norm Milley and Matt Smaby. Boutin and Healey were named first and third stars of the game, respectively. Springfield outshot Worcester 30-24 in the game.
The win moves the Falcons 1 point behind Portland and Providence which are currently tied with 46 points in the standings and occupying the 3rd and 4th spots (the final two playoff spots) in the Atlantic Division.
SPR Jones, (5) , 7:07
SPR Healey, (19) (Milley, Smaby), 14:54
WOR Prudden, (1) (Mink, Kaspar), 16:49
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Officially in free fall.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 28 shots before leaving the game for Jonathan Boutin with a little over 10 minutes left in the game. Boutin stopped 2 of 2 shots faced. Daniel Corso had 1 goal and 1 assist and was named second star of the game. Sylvain Dufresne had the other Falcons goal while David Spina and Andy Rogers had individual assists.
The Falcons have now lost four in a row and six of their last seven games. With Norm Milley and Justin Keller out of the lineup they've been reduced to a one line team and other than David Spina none of the supporting cast has really stepped up to fill the void. Blair Jones? Zero shots on goal. Marek Kvapil? -3. Something's got to give.
SPR Dufresne, (2) (Spina, Corso), 12:07
WOR Darche, (25) (Mink, Stafford), 9:02
WOR Leisenring, (1) (Bernier), 18:02
WOR Leisenring, (2) (Prudden), 0:45 (SH)
WOR Kaspar, (3) (Prudden, Leisenring), 8:32
SPR Corso, (8) (Rogers), 11:12
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.