The giant has awoken, and it is pissed off.
There's nothing nicer than crushing the spirit of an upstart supposed offensive juggernaut that actually believed they had surpassed the defending Stanley Cup champs. Not so fast fledgling Thrashers. The Lightning held Atlanta to 20 shots and John Grahame served up the shutout. You don't tug on Superman's cape, Smirkin' Chickens.
The Lightning power play talleyed two power play goals included the beautiful Vincent Lecavalier backhand goal that sealed it. Paul Ranger played 13:09 with 1 shot on goal and 2 blocked shots. Ryan Craig was a demon on the forecheck in 12:09 of ice time with 3 shots on goal, 3 hits and 2 blocked shots. Norm Milley had 2 hits and 1 shot in 11:04. He also had a breakaway but was caught from behind by Ilya Kovalchuk and had his stick lifted on the play. Evgeny Artyukhin made the most of his 7:16 of ice time with 3 shots and 3 hits, not including the forearm shiver he gave to Karri Lehtonen in the third period.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Bolt Prospects has learned from Johan Nilsson of EliteProspects.com goaltender Fredrik Norrena has suffered a groin pull. Norrena left Linkopings' last game early and did not play today in a 2-1 Linkopings loss. Swedish newspaper reports indicate that Norrena hopes to be back in game shape in time for the Olympics in Torrino.
After Martin Cibak did not dress against Dallas with an undisclosed injury and Tim Taylor left the Stars game hurt, the Lightning have recalled Springfield center Jason Jaspers. With John Tortorella's philosophy on icing three scoring lines, Jaspers could get a chance to show his offensive ability on the NHL level tonight against Atlanta. Jaspers currently leads the Falcons in scoring this season with 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points in 41 games. The 5-foot-11, 207-pound native of Thunder Bay, Ontario also leads Springfield in power play goals this season with nine. He was acquired in the offseason from Phoenix.
Outstanding night for Ryan Craig...
Craig led the way with a short side wrist shot goal and an assist. Sean Burke stopped 25 of 28 for the win.
Craig played 13:28 and was +1 in the game with 2 shots on goal. Evgeny Artyukhin added an assist and was +1 in 9:36 of ice time with 1 shot and 5 hits. Norm Milley was -1 in 6:22 with 1 shot on goal. And, in a major milestone game, Paul Ranger led all Lightning rookies with 17:03 of ice time and was +1. Tonight was Paul Ranger's 41st NHL game, graduating him by Bolt Prospects criteria from prospect status. Congratulations to Paul Ranger, the first of the Lightning's class of 2005-2006. He won't be the last. Evgeny Artyukhin played his 39th game tonight and will also graduate within the next week.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
I decided to pick up the B2 feed of this game to see how the Falcons do tonight after the big shake up. Tonight's scratches: Darren Reid (leg), Steve McLaren (undisclosed), Jay Rosehill (coach's decision) and Andre Deveaux (coach's decision). Brian Eklund will get the start in net tonight.