Craig, Ryan

NHL Game Night 3/31: Capitals at Lightning

If Vincent Lecavalier played in a bigger market, there'd be no doubt who the MVP would be this season.

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Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier had 1 goal and 2 assists to boost his season point total to 106. If you had a fever that high, you'd be dead. Dan Boyle had 1 goal and 1 assist and is now just one goal shy of the difficult to reach 20 goal mark for a defenseman. Also with 1 goal (shorthanded) and 1 assist Martin St. Louis goes into triple digits with a sick but still non-lethal 101. And, Cory Sarich had a multi-point night with 2 assists?!?!? Stock up on canned goods, people. Ryan Craig and Jason Ward had the other Lightning goals with individual helpers going to Paul Ranger, Andreas Karlsson, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal.

With the win the Lightning keep pace with Atlanta three points back in the division with their head-to-head match up still on tap in the season finale. They gain two points on the Islanders, who lost tonight, and maintain their gap on victorious Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers.

Some numbers to consider as we enter the waning games of the season:
-As mentioned, with one more goal Dan Boyle will reach 20 goals for a defenseman.
-With 4 more points, Filip Kuba would reach the 40 point plateau. Difficult, but not impossible.
-Despite missing almost 10 games with a knee injury, Paul Ranger is 3 points shy of the 30 point plateau. Also difficult, but not impossible.
-Netminder Johan Holmqvist recorded his 26th win of the season last night. Even if the Lightning run the table, he cannot reach 30 wins. Darn the flu.

Game sheet from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 2/20: Panthers at Lightning

Got away with murder.

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Marc Denis was just short of amazing in this game stopping 29 of 32 shots faced in regulation and overtime before stopping 2 of 3 penalty shots for the shootout victory. We'll put the save he made on Jokinen up once it gets youtubed. Save of the year. Ryan Craig and Martin St. Louis had the Lightning's goals. Andreas Karlsson, Doug Janik, Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier had helpers. Richards and St. Louis scored in the shootout.

And the Lightning deserved squat tonight. They only showed up for about 15 of the 65 minutes of hockey played tonight and they're lucky, lucky, lucky that A.) Marc Denis looked like Patrick Roy redux tonight and B.) the Panthers are a Mickey Mouse Junior B team masquerading as an NHL franchise. Kudos to the Lightning for wounding Panthers color man Denis Potvin's inner child by stealing the 2 points tonight after Potvin practically gloated for 2 1/2 periods about the Panthers' play. All in favor of Potvin and Carolina color man Tripp Tracey getting rear ended while carpooling in a pre-recall 1978 Pinto, say aye.

Speaking of which, in Carolina, Atlanta defeated the defending champs 3-1 to keep pace with the Lightning at 71 points with Tampa holding a game in hand.

First Period
Tampa Bay 2:15, Ryan Craig 13 (Andreas Karlsson, Doug Janik)
Florida 5:30, Nathan Horton 20 (unassisted)

Second Period
Florida 10:53, Nathan Horton 21 (Martin Gelinas, Bryan Allen)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 7:43, Martin St. Louis 36 (power play) (Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
Florida: Horton
Tampa Bay: Richards, St. Louis

Game sheet from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 2/9: Lightning at Rangers

After winning 7 straight on the road, I suppose they were due for a stinker.

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Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 16 shots before being pulled in the loss. It wasn't under the best of circumstances, obviously, but tonight was Holmqvist's 30th decision of the season which graduated him by site criteria. Holmqvist has been moved to the Bolt Prospects Alumni section on the Prospects page.

Kudos to Ryan Craig for defending Blair Jones after Ryan Hollweg decided to try to knee the rookie. Craig is a man. The Lightning fail to keep pace with Atlanta and are now 7 points behind Atlanta, but still hold a game in hand.

First Period
NY Rangers 4:28, Colton Orr 1 (Fedor Tyutin, Blair Betts)
NY Rangers 11:32, Marcel Hossa 4 (Michal Rozsival, Martin Straka)

Second Period
NY Rangers 8:28, Ryan Hollweg 1 (Jaromir Jagr)
NY Rangers 14:25, Sean Avery 11 (Michael Nylander, Brendan Shanahan)

Third Period
NY Rangers 3:32, Jaromir Jagr 21 (Martin Straka)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 2/6: Kings at Lightning

And now it's 5 points.

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Johan Holmqvist stopped 29 of 31 shots before stopping 1 of 2 shooters in the shootout for the win. King Holmer's perfection on a shot by shot basis goes by the board, but he still has yet to be bested by another goaltender in the penalty shot session. The Lightning's goals came from Vincent Lecavalier and Blair Jones, with Jones' goal being the first of his young NHL career. Ryan Craig, Brad Richards, Andre Roy and Tim Taylor had individual assists. The Lightning were a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout with goals from the big three: Lecavalier, Richards and St. Louis.

Jones was +1 in 7:03 tonight with 1 shot, 1 hit and 2 takeaways. He was 1 for 2 on draws as well.

With the Lightning's win and Atlanta's shootout loss tonight the Lightning have moved to within 5 points of the division lead with a game in hand. The Lightning also have moved within 2 points of 4th place Montreal which lost to Carolina tonight.

First Period
Tampa Bay 2:23, Vincent Lecavalier 34 (power play) (Ryan Craig, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 4:18, Blair Jones 1 (Andre Roy, Tim Taylor)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
Los Angeles 1:13, Mike Weaver 1 (Derek Armstrong, Dustin Brown)
Los Angeles 7:41, Mike Weaver 2 (Brian Willsie, Anze Kopitar)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
Los Angeles- Kopitar
Tampa Bay- Lecavalier, Richards, St. Louis

Game sheet from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 2/3: Rangers at Lightning

Think Atlanta is starting to hear footsteps?

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Johan Holmqvist stopped 24 of 26 shots faced in the win and has won 8 of his last 9 starts. King Holmer officially en fuego. Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis each had a pair of assists on the night with the Lightning goals belonging to Paul Ranger, Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier (Lecavalier and Richards' goals being of the blistering/unstoppable power play variety). Eric Perrin and Ryan Craig added individual helpers.

The Lightning are cooler than the other side of the pillow in one goal games right now. It took a while for this team to find its confidence, but right now they've got swagger. And, don't look now, but by virtue of Atlanta's 5-2 loss to Philly the Lightning have now moved within six points of the division lead with a game still in hand. Furthermore, the Lightning have now tied the Thrashers with 29 wins and, looking at the schedule, the Lightning get the worst team in the Western Conference Tuesday night (Los Angeles) and the Thrashers get to play the best in the East (Buffalo). This thing could EASILY be down to 4 points with a game in hand if the Lightning stay focused and take care of business against the Kings. If I'm Thrashers GM Don Waddell, I'm having Doctor Feel Good call in a 'scrip for Valium right about now.

This is fun.

First Period
NY Rangers 7:31, Jason Krog 3 (Brendan Shanahan, Marcel Hossa)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 6:51, Paul Ranger 3 (Dan Boyle, Eric Perrin)
Tampa Bay 14:06, Brad Richards 19 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Martin St. Louis)
NY Rangers 18:23, Michael Nylander 17 (power play) (Jaromir Jagr, Karel Rachunek)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 11:53, Vincent Lecavalier 33 (power play) (Martin St. Louis, Ryan Craig)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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