Jones, Blair

AHL Game Night: 11/19/10 Admirals at Penguins

Norfolk makes a big time statement.

NOR-4
WBS-1

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win.

First Period
WBS Wallace, (7) (Sterling, Hutchinson), 5:39 (PP)
NOR Durno, (5) (Fornataro), 11:43

Second Period
NOR Jones, (6) (Vernace, Berry), 0:46
NOR Jones, (7) (Quick, Milam), 12:27

Third Period
NOR Berry, (3) (Jones, Gudas), 19:19 (EN)

Blair Jones, Desjardins, and Chris Durno were the game's three stars.

Blair Jones' stat line for the season is becoming borderline ridiculous. The fourth year pro now has 7-9-16 in 12 games with a +7 rating. It's been a very different Blair Jones this season. Last year, after being sent down, his production went in the toilet, just as it did in past seasons. But Jones seems to be working even harder after being sent down this time.

Kevin Quick now has 7 assists in his first 14 games this season and a +7 rating. His AHL career high in points was 9 points in 49 games in 2008-2009. I'm legitimately interested in seeing if Quick continues to improve and starts to knock on the door for an NHL cup of coffee in the second half of this season, because I really believe he's a perfect fit, stylistically, for what Guy Boucher is trying to do in Tampa Bay. Radko Gudas is another guy who, after my trip to Norfolk, I think could really fit what Boucher is doing a year or two down the road. He got his fourth assist tonight in this, his rookie campaign and he's a really nice +8. The guy was a big plus player in junior too, you'll recall, with a +45 in Everett last year.

There's just so many players down in Norfolk legitimately knocking on the door for the NHL, and another wave of guys like Quick and Gudas potentially coming in behind them. It's taken over four seasons, between that last year in Springfield when the 2005 draftees like Jones came in and the three subsequent years in Norfolk, to get to this point, but the future is finally here, and it's exciting times.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/6/10 Lightning at Sharks

Bruised and out of gas.

TB-2
SJ-5

Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 39 shots for the loss with Dan Ellis out ill. His five hole was open all night like a Waffle House. Not good.

First Period
12:16 SJ Marleau (5), (unassisted)(SH)
13:58 TB St Louis (6), Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (4)
15:26 SJ Marleau (6), Boyle (7), Demers (3)(PP)

Second Period
11:27 SJ Heatley (6), Couture (1), Boyle (8)
17:27 SJ McCarthy (2), Mayers (2), Murray (3)

Third Period
00:27 SJ Couture (5), Heatley (9)
18:13 TB Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (5), Clark (3)

With several players out hurt, and several others in the lineup dinged up, you could see the Lightning sag when it got to 3-1. It's been a tough roadtrip, with only three of a possible eight points gained. They'll have the opportunity now to get healthy and get back on schedule back home in Tampa Bay. It hurts a little bit, but this Lightning club hasn't been able to ice a regular lineup in a while, starting with Simon Gagne's injury. Once everyone returns the top two lines will settle in, the depth players will return to the bottom two lines, and everything will work itself out. The goaltending is still the only thing I'm truly concerned about.

Mattias Ritola was -1 with 1 shot in 9:09.

Dana Tyrell was scoreless in 11:49. The scorekeepers in San Jose must be blind, because I know I saw him throw at least one hit tonight.

Blair Jones was -1 in 7:41 and was 50% on 8 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/4/10 Lightning at Kings

Couldn't get on the website last night.

TB-0
LA-1

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 26 shots for the hard luck loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
05:20 LA Williams (6), Smyth (5), Stoll (7)

Mattias Ritola had 1 hit in 10:53.

Mathieu Roy was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:22.

Dana Tyrell was -1 with 1 shot in 8:58.

Blair Jones had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:03. He was also 4/7 on draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/3/10 Lightning at Ducks

Left a point on the ice.

TB-2
ANH-3 (OT)

Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
12:22 ANH Selanne (6), Perry (8), Visnovsky (8)(PP)

Second Period
02:38 TB Jones (1), Malone (6), Purcell (6)

Third Period
00:21 TB Stamkos (10), St Louis (8), Lecavalier (3)(PP)
15:40 ANH Palmieri (1), Ryan (6), Visnovsky (9)

Overtime
02:53 ANH Getzlaf (5), Selanne (8), Lydman (3)

Maybe the Lightning didn't deserve to win based on just forty minutes of solid effort. They came out flat as a pancake in the first period, getting outshot 9-2 in the opening frame before carrying the balance of play with a 32-21 advantage the rest of the way. Still, they were in control and almost potted the insurance goal to make it 3-1 just before things went awry.

Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:57.

Dana Tyrell played 11:11.

Blair Jones had a goal and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 8:56. He was also 63% on draws. I want to believe this time Blair will stick.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/30/10 Lightning at Coyotes

Exceeding expectations thus far.

TB-3
PHO-0

Dan Ellis stopped 23 shots for the shutout victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
15:59 TB Ritola (1), Jones (1), Malone (5)

Third Period
04:26 TB Hall (2), Thompson (3), Bergenheim (3)
14:38 TB Stamkos (9), Downie (6), Jones (3)

Dan Ellis and Steve Downie were the game's first and second stars.

When the season started, I had the aggressive goal of 14 points for the first 10 games in my mind. The team finishes the first 10 game set ahead of schedule at 7-3-1 with 15 points. That's outstanding. The next 10 game set is fairly brutal, though, so I'll be happy with 10 points in the second 10 game set of the year. Let's see if the Lightning can beat expectations again.

Mattias Ritola had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 8:06.

Dana Tyrell played 13:38.

Blair Jones had a helper and was +1 in 8:02. He was also 50% on 6 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Jones Could Make Lightning Season Debut Tonight

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forward Blair Jones from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Jones, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, has gotten off to a hot start with the Admirals this season, recording four goals and 10 points with a plus-3 rating in seven games. He is tied for the team lead for goals, is second for points and tied for third in assists. Jones played in 63 games with the Admirals last season, notching nine goals 30 points. He also represented Norfolk in the AHL All-Star Game and won the Reebok Hardest Shot Competition (100.7 mph).

A native of Central Butte, Saskatchewan, Jones has played in 38 career NHL games, all with the Lightning. He has registered one goal and three points with 12 penalty minutes during his career. Last season Jones played in 14 games with the Lightning, recording 10 penalty minutes and averaging a career-best 12:50 in average ice time.

Jones was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round, 102nd overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
--Tampa Bay Lightning press release

AHL Game Night: 10/23/10 Admirals at Devils

3/6 on the power play tends to equal a win.

NOR-3
ALB-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Wishart, (3) (Pouliot, Jones), 5:41 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (4) (Wishart, Pouliot), 2:54 (PP)
ALB Perkovich, (2) (Anderson), 12:40
ALB Mills, (2) (Davis), 15:08

Third Period
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Roy, Jones), 14:55 (PP)

Blair Jones and Paul Szczechura were the game's first and second stars. The Admirals outshot the Devils 32-22 in the match.

Norfolk improves to 5-1-0-0 on the season. They close out their road trip tomorrow afternoon in Worcester, who they swept last weekend. Next weekend, the Admirals draw the Atlantic Division's first place team, the Portland Pirates, in a two game set at Scope that should be a good early season test for the club.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/9/10 Admirals at Senators

Consulting the Cheap and Easy Headline Generator (tm) for this one: "Seven is heaven in the Admirals' opener."

NOR-7
BNG-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 36 shots but found himself awash in seven sweet goals of support to earn the victory.

First Period
BNG Keller, (1) (Locke, Butler), 13:20

Second Period
NOR Milam, (1) (Pouliot), 5:16
BNG O'Brien, (2) (Daugavins, Hale), 8:02
NOR Wishart, (1) (Quick, Fornataro), 9:43 (PP)
NOR Jones, (1) (Pouliot, Quick), 13:56
BNG Butler, (2) (Locke, Keller), 15:31
BNG O'Brien, (3) (Benoit), 15:45
NOR Milam, (2) (Quick), 16:10 (PP)
NOR Jones, (2) (Simek, Pouliot), 16:34
NOR Angelidis, (1) (Mihalik, Harju), 17:47

Third Period
NOR Fornataro, (1) (Wright, Szczechura), 17:57

Blair Jones and Troy Milam were the game's first and second stars. Milam played in Finland the past couple of years, but before that he put up 37 points in 75 games for Manchester in 2007-2008, so he has legitimate AHL chops (and he's a righty shot, too). That's a very good signing by the Ads.

M.A. Pouliot and Kevin Quick each had assists in triplicate. With the effort, Quick is already three-quarters of the way to matching his point production of all last season. I'm thinking he might like the new coach and system. Matt Fornataro also had multiple points with one goal and one assist.

You know, on paper, this Admirals team should be a low scoring team that leans on their outstanding goaltending. They have depth, but other than maybe Johan Harju they don't have any guys who are Brandon Bochenski-type snipers. But they used that depth to overwhelm Binghamton tonight. You get the sense there are a lot of hungry Admirals players knocking on the door for NHL opportunities. And, the great thing is that while they got the win and established a lot of confidence in their offensive abilities, they made enough mistakes that Coach Cooper should be able to stay on his team and keep them away from the demon that is complacency.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/26/10 Lightning at Flames

My kingdom for some goaltending.

TB-4
CGY-5 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 23 shots and 1 goal on 2 shootout attempts for the penalty shot session loss.

First Period
TB 0:27, Lecavalier 1 (unassisted)
CGY 6:59, Brodie 1 (PP) (Giordano, Kotalik)
CGY 10:20, Brodie 2 (PP) (Giordano, Kotalik)

Second Period
CGY 8:30, Conroy 1 (Kronwall, Cunning)
TB 9:45, Gagne 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis)

Third Period
CGY 6:33, Kotalik 1 (Glencross, Giordano)
TB 8:59, Lecavalier 2 (PP) (Kubina, St. Louis)
TB 18:48, Stamkos 1 (PP) (Kubina, St. Louis)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB - NONE
CGY - Kotalik

Vincent Lecavalier was named the game's third star.

What did we learn from this preseason road trip? Three good things and one very ominous thing. 1.) The Lightning offensive firepower does translate from paper onto the ice. 2.) The Lightning's lower line depth is better than at any time I can remember. Even in the Stanley Cup season, the team was a little thin. 3.) Guy Boucher's system, right now, is translating to drastic reductions in the shots on goal the Lightning are giving up. But, 4.) All of that is for naught if the Lightning can't find a goaltender who can stop at least 90% of the shots they face. Get well soon Mike Smith, and get back on schedule soon, Dan Ellis.

Blair Jones was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 10:51 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/23/10 Lightning at Oilers

Yeah, we at BoltProspects always liked Magnus Paajarvi in his draft year.

TB-2
EDM-5

Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. Ugly stat line.

First Period
TB 4:33, Jones 1 (Purcell, Persson)
EDM 15:09, Paajarvi 1 (Belle, Plante)
EDM 18:34, Cogliano 1 (PP) (Foster, Paajarvi)

Second Period
EDM 6:50, Paajarvi 2 (PP) (Penner, Plante)

Third Period
EDM 7:57, Hall 1 (PP) (unassisted)
EDM 9:52, Paajarvi 3 (SH) (Foster)
TB 17:19, Ashton 1 (PP) (Wright, Clark)

Not an entirely surprising outcome, I suppose, considering Edmonton had most of its regular skaters going against the Lightning's lower liners, AHLers, and prospects. The only thing really concerning is to allow 5 goals on 21 shots in that scenario. Still, I wouldn't read much into tonight unless they get blown out in Calgary against the Fighting Feasters on Saturday with most of the regulars in.

Carter Ashton had 1 goal and was +1 with 1 shot and a slashing minor in 13:26. I'm of the opinion it would behoove the Lightning to, at the very least, use the 9 game tryout on Ashton. If he can stick on the team and develop over the course of the year, he could give the Lightning a lot of roster flexibility in February.

Brett Connolly was even with 1 shot in 12:13. I think he'll get a contract and then be ushered away to Prince George fairly soon.

Radko Gudas was even with 1 shot in 13:51. I doubt he makes it past the first round of cuts. He needs to get stronger and he needs some seasoning in Norfolk.

Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot in 13:20. He got more ice time than the 9:30 Linus Omark got for the Oilers. I expect him to be on the bubble another week.

Blair Jones was -1 in 12:53. He could not duplicate what he did against the Hawks, which is the story of Blair's pro career. Probably on the bubble another week.

Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 1 shot and a hooking minor in 16:43. He might survive the first round of cuts, but I doubt he survives the second.

Niklas Persson had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 shots in 16:09. Niklas seems to be on track to make the team. In fact, he might be the first of the bubble guys to move into the safe column.

Dana Tyrell was even with 2 shots in 14:02. He'll stay on the bubble another week, I think.

Michael Vernace was -1 with 1 shot in 22:02. He got a ton of ice time given Boucher's familiarity with him, but he was awful, by all accounts.

Box score from Yahoo! Sports.

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