Boutin, Jonathan

AHL Game Night 4/11: Admirals at Senators

A big win for a young team.

NOR-3
BNG-2

Jonathan Boutin stopped 30 of 32 shots for the win to break a personal seven game losing streak. The win also helped Boutin raise his save percentage back to .900 for the season. It's been a roller coaster ride all year for Boutin as he seems to win and lose games in month long streaks. At one point a little over a month ago he seemed to be coming into his own showing a winning record and a save percentage above .910. Unfortunately he hasn't shown the ability to step up and win games on his own in the last month, which is the next big hurdle he has to get over in his professional development. The legitimate starters don't post 7 game losing streaks. They find a way to pull out wins even when the team in front of them struggles. Boutin isn't quite to that point yet.

First Period
NOR Wanvig, (21) (Tyrell, Crowley), 1:38
BNG Dimitrakos, (20) (Kinch, Smith), 17:48

Second Period
NOR Keller, (15) (Schneider, Segal), 7:46
BNG Hennessy, (22) (Carkner, Zubov), 10:10

Third Period
NOR Wanvig, (22) (Tyrell, Jones), 1:38

Kyle Wanvig and Justin Keller were named the game's first and second stars.

Congratulations to Dane Crowley on his first professional point and congratulations to Dana Tyrell on his first professional multi-point game.

With the win, Norfolk matches the win total set a year ago by the Lightning farmhands in Springfield of 28. They've also accumulated 4 more points than the Falcons did last season. The importance of hitting this milestone cannot be underestimated, in my opinion. It would have been a terrible blow to the organization if the move to Norfolk and the time spent developing their prospects hadn't shown any measure of improvement on the ice. Modest as it may be, these Admirals have gotten better compared to last year's Falcons, and they'll have one more swing at besting last year's win total tomorrow night against the Pens. It'll be a tough nut to crack against the division leaders, but it would be a heck of a way to end the season if the Ads could pull off one more big upset to head into the offseason on a high note.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 4/4: River Rats at Admirals

Tough night for the Lightning's newest prospects in Norfolk.

ALB-5
NOR-2

Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
NOR Segal, (10) (Jones, Smolenak), 7:24 (PP)
ALB Blanchard, (8) (McLeod, Angelidis), 15:22

Second Period
ALB Cottreau, (3) (Petruzalek, Johnson), 5:05
ALB Sutter, (1) (Johnson, Samson), 7:12 (PP)
ALB Jensen, (10) (Engel, Ward), 16:26

Third Period
ALB Samson, (21) , 3:19
NOR Kearns, (8) (Koci, Lawrence), 4:17

Dane Crowley was -2 in his pro debut with 2 shots and 6 penalty minutes. Dana Tyrell took a team low -3 rating with 2 shots on goal. Oof.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/26: Bears at Admirals

Admirals had no answers in the third period.

HER-4
NOR-1

Jonathan Boutin allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Wilson, (24) (Gordon, Bourque), 4:53 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Smolenak, (14) (Kearns), 16:30
HER Joudrey, (10) (Pinizzotto, Robitaille), 17:09

Third Period
HER Wilson, (25) (Lepisto, Gordon), 8:17 (PP)
HER Paiement, (4) , 9:57 (PP)

Radek Smolenak keeps chugging away.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Musical Backups

Due to a knee injury to Mike Smith, you might've noticed Jonathan Boutin was an emergency callup for tonight's game against the Panthers. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Boutin will be sent back to Norfolk after the game once Marc Denis clears re-entry waivers and Denis will be back with the club. Don't spend that game check all in one place, Jonathan.

Erlendsson also quotes John Tortorella from the morning press conference claiming both Karri Ramo and Mike Lundin should start next season in the minor leagues; Ramo to get more starts and Lundin to gain more strength. He also, apparently, demanded more physical play from Matt Smaby.

Regarding Ramo: Coach is wrong. Period. This organization blew making the correct hockey decision at the start of this season not keeping Karri in Tampa even though it was obvious in camp he was already Holmqvist and Denis' equal. Compounding it by starting Ramo in Norfolk next season would be an equally foolish mistake. Mike Smith has proven nothing as a starter in the NHL. Heck, he was still considered a prospect by this website's criteria just a few weeks ago. Better to have a young lion like Ramo nipping at his heels keeping him honest than to have some old nag like Denis giving Smith no reason to look over his shoulder and push himself. Not only should Ramo not be in Norfolk to start next season, he should be getting 40% of the starts in Tampa and by season's end I wouldn't be surprised at all if he has Smith's #1 job.

AHL Game Night 3/15: Pirates at Admirals

Unfortunately, injuries on the backline may finally be catching up to Norfolk.

POR-5
NOR-3

Marc Denis allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the loss before being pulled for Jonathan Boutin who stopped all 4 shots he faced.

First Period
POR Bouck, (7) (St. Jacques, Ebbett), 5:35 (PP)
NOR Henrich, (14) (Keller, Wanvig), 17:11

Second Period
POR King, (26) (Bouck, Festerling), 12:58
POR Birner, (7) (Ferguson), 13:38
NOR Wanvig, (20) (Henrich, Mihalik), 14:44

Third Period
POR St. Jacques, (7) (Miller, Bootland), 1:14
POR Bouck, (8) (Ebbett, Ferguson), 7:05
NOR Keller, (12) (Jones, Lawrence), 17:45

Justin Keller and Adam Henrich each checked in with 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Kyle Wanvig and Henrich were named the game's second and third stars.

Keller now has 12 goals and 33 points in 60 games with a +5 rating. A season ago in Springfield, Keller played exactly 60 games but only managed 24 points and had a -11 rating. The improvement is obvious.

Prior to this season Henrich had just 13 goals and 38 points in his entire AHL career of three seasons and 102 games. This season Henrich already has 14 goals and 31 points in 40 games, and there is still a chance he will double his career statistical output by the end of the year. Again, the improvement is obvious.

A year ago, as a rookie, Blair Jones had 5 goals and 21 points in 45 games (.467 PPG). This season, Blair Jones has 13 goals and 35 points in 63 games (.556 PPG). Again, the improvement is obvious.

A season ago, as a rookie, Radek Smolenak had just 1 point in 20 games. This season, the big winger has 11 goals and 21 points in 45 games. Again, the improvement is obvious.

Coupled with a strong rookie campaign by Vladimir Mihalik (now a team leading +9 among defensemen), the organization is looking less and less like the disaster the local and national media was making it out to be just a month or two ago. In fact, I dare say, it's difficult to claim that there isn't progress being made in Norfolk, even with the defeat tonight.

Eventually, some of that progress will find its way onto NHL ice.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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