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NHL Game Night: 1-5-16 Lightning at Flames

The hole gets deeper.


Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Can't fault him for the goals (a 2-on-1 and a tip by an unmarked man in front). Can't fault him for the lack of goal support, either.

First Period
3:56 CGY Stajan (4), (Giordano, Brodie)

Second Period
15:30 CGY Jones (8), (Giordano)

Third Period
18:21 TB Stamkos (17), (Stralman, Filppula)
19:02 CGY Bouma (1), (Wideman, Russell)(EN)

They might as well have not gotten off the bus. They came out flat as a pancake, which they compounded with some pretty bad turnovers in the First Period. Calgary gets the early goal on the odd man rush, and from that point on the game never felt within reach. Calgary was too good defensively, and although the Lightning outshot the Flames 31-24, you could probably count the number of real scoring chances they had on one hand. The Lightning had nothing on the rush. Nothing off counters. No odd man rushes. And they were incapable of threading anything threatening through Calgary's defensive zone coverage inside the Flames zone. It was a clinic.

The Lightning finish Segment Four of the season with just 11 points in 10 games. Their overall season deficit climbs 1 point to 6 points overall at approximately the halfway point of the season. It's going to take a Herculean effort by the team in the second half just to make the postseason, and frankly they don't look like they have it in them. To reach 96 points, the Lightning have to play .643 hockey the rest of the way (with the extra 2 games at the end of the year factored in). That's pretty difficult stuff. What that means for the future of Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, and a few others in the organization? Nothing good, I would venture to guess. The frustrating thing is the Lightning probably left 5 points on the ice in this segment between the collapse in Washington, the power play futility against Vancouver, and the poor shift after taking the lead in Toronto. The deficit could be a very manageable 2 points right now. Instead, it's gone up to 6, and the fat lady is already starting to warm up on January 5th.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot and 1 hit in 9:29. He's become sort of a power play specialist for the Lightning in the past couple of weeks, and when you get no power plays, the specialist's effectiveness tends to slide.

Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:45. He also had 4 other shot attempts he couldn't get on net. Calgary's defense climbed into his head with their shot blocking, and he ultimately froze on a great chance late in the game from the slot when he should've shot immediately. Not good.

Box score and extended statistics from

Drouin Looks to Turn Focus Back to Hockey

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jonathan Drouin wants to put the focus back on hockey.

Three days after being assigned to the Syracuse Crunch, the 20-year-old forward refused to comment on his agent Allan Walsh going public with a request to be traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Drouin is finally feeling 100 percent and ready to play hockey -- wherever that is.

“I’m not going to answer any questions about the trade request,” Drouin said in the brief press conference before an optional skate Tuesday. “It’s between my agent and (Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman). The only thing I can do is play hockey here.”

KHL Game Day: 1-4-16

Khabarovsk 0 vs. Magnitogorsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 33/33, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 38 GP, 17-12-7, 2 SO, 2.22 GAA, .921 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin posted his second shutout of the season to help Magnitogorsk edge Amur Khabarovsk 1-0. Ex-Blue Jackets pick Sergei Mozyakin assisted on the lone goal of the contest.

Dynamo Moscow 5 vs. St. Petersburg 1
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 19 GP, 8-12-20, +3, 2 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 42 GP, 15-19-34, +9, 6 PIM

Nikita Gusev was scoreless in 17:39 of ice time as SKA St. Petersburg got thumped by Dynamo Moscow 5-1. Dynamo got a pair of goals from Calgary native Mat Robinson in the victory.

Novgorod 4 vs. Togliatti 0
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 10-8-18, +2, 51 PIM

Carter Ashton had an even strength goal and power play helper for Novgorod in support of their 4-0 shutout win over Lada Togliatti. Ashton played 17:52 in the match. Ex-NHLer Alexander Frolov also had a goal for Novgorod.

Juniors Game Night: 1-3-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 3 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 1

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: Did not play
Season totals: 28 GP, 4-9-13, -1, 50 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 2 Hits
Season totals: 35 GP, 20-19-39, +15, 41 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

Joseph had his 12-game point streak snapped, but Saint John got the win in Sydney, 3-1. Joseph is quickly approaching last year’s scoring totals.

Chicoutimi Sagueneens 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 4

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, 2 Hits
Season totals: 32 GP, 25-25-50, +1, 42 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Yan scored his 25th goal of the season in a 4-3 home win over the Sags.

Ontario Hockey League

Saginaw Spirit 1 @ Windsor Spitfires 7

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: Did not play (WJC)
Season totals: 9 GP, 7-4-11, +3, 6 PIM
2014-15 totals: 62 GP, 22-26-48, -17, 44 PIM

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-2-3, +3, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 14-20-34, +22, 53 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

Windsor scored a big win over visiting Saginaw, 7-1. DiGiacinto scored his first goal in three games. Stephens did not play for Saginaw as he is returning from World Juniors.

Western Hockey League

Vancouver Giants 5 @ Prince George Cougars 3

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 42 GP, 4-13-17, -15, 26 PIM
With Vancouver: 28 GP, 4-10-14, -5, 16 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Thomas followed up his goal and fight Saturday with an assist Sunday, so in a way he completed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick over the weekend.

United States Hockey League

Lincoln Stars 1 @ Sioux City Musketeers 6

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, SC: 0-3-3, +1, 0 PIM 4 SOG
Season totals: 25 GP, 0-22-22, -2, 30 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota signee)

Zuhlsdorf was thought to have scored his first goal of the season, but a scoring change took it away from him. He ended the night with three assists. He caught Mattias Goransson (UMass-Lowell commit) of Tri-City for the USHL scoring lead among defensemen despite playing five fewer games.

AHL Game Day: 1-3-16 Crunch at Marlies

Crunch at least get a point out of Toronto.

TOR-3 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the OT loss. Even in defeat, that's another strong effort by Gudlevskis, who continues to show improved consistency this season.

First Period
TOR Hyman, (7) (Bailey, Brennan), 3:50
SYR Erne, (5) (Tambellini, Taormina), 15:27 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period
TOR Brennan, (13) (Soshnikov), 1:12 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (7) (Richard, Blunden), 17:27

TOR Panik, (9) (Leivo, Brennan), 3:30

Matt Taormina was the game's second star.

I'm not a big believer in moral victories, but to have two very competitive games in the barn of the league's best team is a positive for Syracuse. We'll see what they get out of Jonathan Drouin after he reports to the team in Tuesday. There's a window here for the Crunch to make a little run, and I hope they get a mad as hell Drouin at the center of that little run.

Adam Erne has 3 goals in his last 3 games. Part of me is incredibly interested to see what Erne could do on the end of some Drouin setups as a duo for now and into the future in the NHL.

Box score from

Liiga Game Day: 1-3-16

Pelicans 1 vs. KalPa 4
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 21 GP, 4-2-6, +5, 14 PIM

Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 16:12 of ice time in KalPa's 4-1 thumping of Pelicans Lahti. Tammela, who has been receiving more ice time lately, is up to an average 14:21 of ice time for the season. Undrafted 21 year old Joni Nikko led the way with a pair of goals for KalPa.

Juniors Game Night: 1-2-16

Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa Generals 5 @ Owen Sound Attack 4 (OT)

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 11/27 FO
Season totals: 33 GP, 10-19-29, -9 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

The Gens erased a 4-2 deficit in the third period to force overtime and win in the extra session. Cirelli had an assist on the game-tying goal.

Windsor Spitfires 6 @ Flint Firebirds 2

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-1-1, +1, 5 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 13-18-31, +19, 53 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

Windsor had a 4-0 lead by the 6-minute mark of the second period and coasted to a 6-2 win. DiGiacinto fought Samuel Duchesne, and by all accounts scored the decision.

Western Hockey League

Vancouver Giants @ Prince George Cougars (late)

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 1-0-1, E, 5 PIM
Season totals: 41 GP, 4-12-16, -16, 26 PIM
With Vancouver: 27 GP, 4-9-13, -6, 16 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Thomas was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

NOTES: The following players are with their respective countries for the World Junior Championships in Finland: Brayden Point (Canada), Mitchell Stephens (Canada), Dominik Masin (Czech Republic).

United States Hockey League

Des Moines Buccaneers 4 @ Omaha Lancers 3

G Kris Oldham, OMA: Loss, 11 saves on 14 shots
Season totals: 13 GP, 8-4-1, 2.54 GAA, .919 sv%, 1 SO
2014-15 totals: 33 GP, 21-6-4, 2.49 GAA, .908 sv%, 1 SO
(University of Nebraska-Omaha signee)

Oldham lost his third consecutive decision, 4-3 to Des Moines. He had 40 and 33 saves in his previous losses, but managed just 11 Saturday.

Sioux Falls Stampede 1 @ Sioux City Musketeers 4

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, SC: 0-1-1, +3, 2 PIM 1 SOG, *Second Star*
Season totals: 24 GP, 0-19-19, -3, 30 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota signee)

Zuhlsdorf matched last season’s assist total, but in 32 fewer games.

NHL Game Night: 1-2-16 Wild at Lightning

Stayin' alive...

TB-3 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots before stopping 3 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Andrei didn't have a lot of work early and then really stepped in it on the puckhandling mistake that led to Minnesota's first goal. He looked shaky after that goal but got much, much stronger as the game progressed. And, in the Shootout, there's simply a different vibe with Vasiy in the crease. I'm going to make a bold suggestion to Jon Cooper: make Vasiy your designated SO goaltender from here on out regardless if Bishop is in net for OT. The fact of the matter is Bishop's five hole is a soul-destroying liability in the SO, whereas Vasiy's technique and newness is a big-time strategic advantage. I would use it, because with him in net you may only need to score 1 at the other end to get the second point.

First Period
11:40 TB Filppula (4), (Killorn, Stamkos)
15:39 MIN Coyle (10), (unassisted)

Second Period
1:03 TB Kucherov (14), (Palat, Stralman)

Third Period
17:21 MIN Spurgeon (6), (Coyle, Niederreiter)


TB- Callahan

Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman were the game's first and third stars.

The first 40 minutes of this game were the closest to real Tampa Bay Lightning hockey we've seen all year. Finally at full strength with Palat returning to the lineup and backs squarely against the wall, they dominated the first two frames in all aspects of the game and should've been up 2-0 except for the Vasilevskiy puckhandling gaffe. It's frustrating to me the Lightning had to be this close to standings death to finally display this level of urgency, but at least it finally came out of them tonight. Very key: they HAVE to play with that same level of urgency in Calgary to start their road trip or nothing they did tonight will matter an iota anyway.

The Third Period was a case of a team simply not handling the pressure of a one goal lead well. Paquette started it off by taking a bad tripping call and they were back on their heels almost the entire period thereafter. Vasilevskiy made some dazzling saves and got aided by a video review challenge that went Cooper's way, but in the end they just sagged way too much to possibly preserve that lead and they were lucky not to lose the game in regulation.

3-on-3 OT continues to be a strength for the Lightning, in my opinion. After the jail break of their first couple of 3-on-3's of the season, they've figured out the tactical game of managing possession and wearing down an opponent to free up chances. Hedman could've easily won it with a dazzling move that was only denied by a (lucky) stop by Dubnyk with the paddle of the stick. They had the momentum coming out of OT, and with Vasiy in net, Callahan got the forehand deke stash the team needed to get that crucial second point.

This isn't a slight on Steven Stamkos, but did we learn tonight that Ondrej Palat is the real heart and soul leader of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

So here's where we're at with 1 game left to go in Segment Four of the season nearing the halfway point of the campaign: 11 points in the last 9 games. The next contest against Calgary will be the margin. Win and they have their best segment of the year and cut their overall season deficit to 4 points. Lose and they have their second failed segment and the deficit goes up to 6 points. You don't want to have to play .675 hockey the rest of the way to make the playoffs comfortably. To put it in perspective, .675 hockey is what Dallas has played to stake their club to the best record in the Western Conference in their first 40 games. That's just a bridge too far to expect a team to turn on a light switch and do that the second half of the year. .650 hockey is still a hellacious clip, mind you, but you're not putting yourself in a position where you have to have one of the top two records in your conference just to make it in without sweating bullets. And, quite frankly, at a certain point the team just needs to make the psychological break through where they're doing more than just treading water and they're starting to make a charge in the standings.

Jonathan Marchessault had 3 hits in 9:33. With Drouin heading down to Syracuse, Marchessault's spot on the team seems secure from here on out. He's a good 19 games from graduation from prospect status on the site, but from the looks of it he'll be racing Nesterov the rest of the way to become the next Bolt Prospects Alumni.

Box score and extended statistics from

AHL Game Day: 1-2-16 Crunch at Marlies

Game effort comes up short in Toronto.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the loss. He was surprisingly sharp considering how little he's played as Bishop's backup in Tampa the past couple of weeks.

First Period
SYR Tambellini, (12) (Peca, McGinn), 3:20

Second Period
TOR Carrick, (5) (Leipsic, Frattin), 0:13
SYR McGinn, (12) (Dotchin), 14:37
TOR Holl, (3) (Hyman, Leivo), 15:45

Third Period
TOR Campbell, (8) (Hyman, Bailey), 2:51

Tye McGinn was the game's third star.

That's a really strong effort against arguably the best team in the league. Once the Crunch mix Jonathan Drouin into the roster we'll see if the extra speed/skill can translate into a little run for Syracuse.

Box score from

U20 WJC Game Day: 1-2-16

Quarterfinal Round
Finland 6 vs. Canada 5
Brayden Point, Canada, 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-4-5, E 0 PIM

Mitchell Stephens, Canada, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, -1, 2 PIM

Brayden Point had a pair of Third Period power play helpers to allow Canada to tie home standing Finland at 5-5, but 17 year old Patrik Laine scored on a two many advantage with less than 6 minutes to go to lift Finland to the 6-5 win. Laine had 2 goals and 3 points in the match while fellow 17 year old Jesse Puljujarvi had 3 assists. Both forwards are expected to go high in this June's NHL Entry Draft.

USA 7 vs. Czech Republic 0
Dominik Masin, Czech Republic, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 0 PIM

Dominik Masin was -2 as USA steamrolled Czech Republic 7-0. Masin was named one the the Czech's three best players of the tournament following the match. Team USA was paced by a hat trick by Auston Matthews, who is the presumptive top pick in this June's NHL Entry Draft.

That concludes this year's U20 World Junior Championships for Tampa Bay's prospects.

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