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Juniors Game Night: 12-20-15

Ontario Hockey League

Sudbury Wolves 0 @ Oshawa Generals 7

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 10/27 FO
Season totals: 30 GP, 10-16-26, -9, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Cirelli scored on a slapshot from the high slot to give Oshawa a 4-0 lead Sunday. The Gens went on to shut out the Wolves, 7-0. Jeremy Brodeur (undrafted) stopped 17 shots for the shutout.

NOTES: Congratulations to Brayden Point and Mitchell Stephens for making Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships in Finland. They join fellow Lightning prospects Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The CHL is now off until December 28.

NHL Game Night: 12-20-15 Senators at Lightning

Lightning show no signs of a Washington hangover.

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TB-5

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory. It wasn't one of Bishop's more dominant performances, because it didn't have to be. That said, he made 1-2 key situational saves in the Third Period that allowed his club to eventually pull away at the end.

First Period
4:20 OTT Smith (8), (Lazar)(SH)
5:23 TB Nesterov (1), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)
7:16 TB Stamkos (13), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)(PP)

Second Period
2:45 TB Angelidis (1), (Blunden, Marchessault)
14:28 OTT Karlsson (9), (Hoffman, Pageau)

Third Period
18:27 TB Killorn (6), (unassisted)(EN)
18:40 TB Stamkos (14), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)(EN)

Nikita Nesterov and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and third stars.

Tonight was a battle of a couple of injury depleted teams. With Brian Boyle leaving the game with an apparent concussion, the Lightning were depleted to 10 forwards, seemingly half of which were fresh up from Syracuse. Meanwhile, injuries and a match penalty shortened Ottawa's bench to about 11 forwards and 4 defensemen. The ensuing test of team depth was one the Lightning appeared to pass with flying colors. The Lightning power play continued to show the same signs of improvement it's teased over the past week and the Lightning had the lion's share of possession throughout the contest. More importantly, they cleared some psychological hurdles by getting through the Third Period protecting a 1 goal lead after melting down against the Capitals last time out. I thought they may have been a little guilty of playing not to lose in the first half of the final frame, but they got on their forecheck in the back half of the Third and eventually pulled away for the big victory.

With Brian Boyle, I imagine, out for the Canucks game to rest his head until after the Christmas break, I'd expect Tanner Richard to make his NHL debut on Tuesday.

With two more goals tonight, Steven Stamkos seems to be awakening from his slumber. A lot of the credit, in my opinion, goes to the less publicized play of Vladislav Namestnikov, whose heroics tonight included springing Val Filppula for a penalty shot-enducing breakaway and a clever backhand up-pass that eventually led to a Kucherov breakaway and a Stamkos chance dead in the mid slot after Kucherov missed. Even with those two near-misses, he had a couple of helpers tonight as he is starting to look like a real nice NHL scoring liner. He's been as important to the success of that line with Stamkos and Kucherov as Kucherov, in my opinion, and that's no small statement when you think about it.

The win was huge as far as the playoff pursuit goes. On a macro-level, which I caution you not to get too caught up in during the month of December, the Lightning moved to within 2 points of 3rd in the Atlantic Division and 1 point of the second Wild Card spot. On the micro-level, which the Lightning need to be more concerned with, they got to 6 points for this 10-game segment through 4 games. A win against Vancouver next time out would set them up nicely to get more than the minimum 12 points in 10 games you try to get and start to cut into the 5 point deficit they have for the season because of that terrible Segment Two of the season. You'd love to see them get 14-15 points out of this segment somehow and cut that deficit down to 2-3 points by the mid-season mark.

Angelidis had his second NHL goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 14:10. He was also 31% on 13 draws. Strong night for the Crunch line of Blunden, Angelidis, and Marchessault with Angelidis getting the payoff on the greasy goal on a play Blunden brought to the high traffic area. Blunden's been a pleasant surprise with how he's played over the past 3 games and Angelidis' game tonight was just par for the course for anyone who has seen him play for Syracuse. Just an honest, grinding forward.

Jonathan Marchessault had a helper, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 10:13.

Nesterov had a PP goal, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 13:10. His goal was extremely important after the deflating shorthanded goal against.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-20-15 Crunch at Bears

Crunch fritter away a 3 goal lead to fall in OT.

SYR-4
HER-5 (OT)

Adam Wilcox allowed 5 goals on 44 shots for the OT loss. Hard to be mad at the goaltender when the team gets outshot 44-16.

First Period
SYR McGinn, (7) (Erne, Tambellini), 8:06 (PP)
SYR Erne, (2) (Paradis, Taormina), 10:45 (PP)
SYR McGinn, (8) (DeAngelo, Peca), 13:21 (PP)

Second Period
HER Stanton, (2) (Camper, Walker), 13:39
HER Stephenson, (3) (Barber, Bowey), 14:42

Third Period
SYR Tambellini, (11) (Paradis), 2:25 (SH)
HER Collins, (4) (Moore, Walker), 9:00
HER Djoos, (2) (Stephenson, Gazley), 11:22

Overtime
HER Collins, (5) (Stephenson), 0:25

Tye McGinn was the game's third star.

For much of the night, it looked like the Crunch were going to cap a pretty successful weekend with a win. Considering the team was having to play two defensemen at forward because of the injuries up top in Tampa Bay, maybe getting 3 of the possible 6 points out of the set is as successful as can be expected.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-19-15 Penguins at Crunch

Blanked.

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SYR-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Kostopoulos, (7) (Sundqvist, Andersen), 6:20

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
WBS O'Neill, (4) (Mouillierat, Rust), 3:33
WBS Kuhnhackl, (6) (Simon), 5:19

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Syracuse actually outshot Wilke-Barre/Scranton 30-23 in the contest, but couldn't find the scoresheet.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 12-19-15

Ontario Hockey League

Windsor Spitfires 6 @ Saginaw Spirit 3

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 13-16-29, +18, 48 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

Windsor’s Brendan Lemieux (Sabres), son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, had a hat trick and DiGiacinto scored his 13th goal of the season as Windsor won in Saginaw, 6-3.

Western Hockey League

Vancouver Giants 2 @ Everett Silvertips 3 (OT)

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 38 GP, 3-12-15, -16, 21 PIM
With Vancouver: 24 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 11 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Vancouver responded to an overtime loss to Everett on Friday with a close win in their barn on Saturday.

NOTES: Brayden Point had a goal and an assist before leaving Canada’s pre-WJC game with an injury. Point was playing for the first time since hurting his shoulder over a month ago. He was kept out of the third period for precautionary reasons. Mitchell Stephens was scoreless in Canada’s 6-1 win over Belarus. Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) are also in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The QMJHL is now off until December 28.

United States Hockey League

While both Sioux City (Ryan Zuhlsdorf) and Omaha (Kris Oldham) were in action Saturday, neither Lightning prospect dressed as they are returning from the World Junior A Challenge in Ontario. Both won a Bronze medal with Team USA.

Crunch Blanked By Penguins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite significantly outshooting the Penguins in the first period, the Crunch entered the first intermission trailing by a goal.

Syracuse struggled to solve Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Brian Foster, who finished with 30 saves in the Penguins’ 3-0 win over the Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I thought we had some great opportunities in the first,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We had (Jeff) Tambellini all alone in front in the second. I thought their goalie played extroidinarily well … He kept them in the game in the first period, and then we made some mistakes in the third that cost us.”

Juniors Game Night: 12-18-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 1 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 3

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: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 31 GP, 16-17-33, +12, 35 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

Former Lightning camper Eric Brassard made 44 saves for Halifax, but Saint John beat him three times to take a 3-1 win. Brassard was named first star. Joseph’s assist was shorthanded. Boko Imama is currently serving a 15-game suspension stemming from an incident in the last game between the Mooseheads and Sea Dogs.

Shawinigan Cataractes 4 @ Gatineau Olympiques 5

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: Did not play
Season totals: 28 GP, 22-22-44, +1, 33 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Dennis Yan was not in the lineup Friday. He is riding a 3-game scoreless streak.

Ontario Hockey League

Flint Firebirds 4 @ Oshawa Generals 1

C Anthony Cirelli, OSH: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 17/23 FO
Season totals: 29 GP, 9-16-25, -11, 19 PIM
2014-15 totals: 68 GP, 13-23-36, +34, 22 PIM

Nicholas Caamano (2016) had two goals for Flint Friday.

Peterborough Petes 4 @ Ottawa 67’s 5

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 3-13-16, E, 29 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

Peterborough took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, then allowed four goals before the next intermission. They scored two quick goals in the third but couldn’t complete the comeback.

Western Hockey League

Everett Silvertips 3 @ Vancouver Giants 2 (OT)

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 37 GP, 3-12-15, -16, 21 PIM
With Vancouver: 23 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 11 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Radko Gudas’ former team outshot Vancouver, 37-20, on their way to a 3-2 overtime win. Undrafted overager Carson Stadnyk had the overtime winner for the Tips.

World Junior A Challenge

Team USA won the bronze medal Friday, defeating Canada East, 7-1. Kris Oldham (pictured) got the start for USA after finishing the semifinals vs Russia. He made 17 saves against Canada East. Ryan Zuhlsdorf was scoreless. Oldham finished the tournament 1-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .895 save percentage. Zuhlsdorf had two assists in five games.

NOTES: Brayden Point is practicing at first line center and Mitchell Stephens is on the fourth line as Canada prepares for this month’s World Junior Championship in Finland. Dominik Masin (Czech Republic) and Jonne Tammela (Finland) are also in the tournament. Masin is the Czech’s captain.

The QMJHL is now off until December 28. The Lightning's NCAA prospects are on Christmas break.

Vasilevskiy, Power Play Lead Crunch Over Senators


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With many of Syracuse’s leading scorers called up, the power play still found ways to convert.

The Crunch scored twice with the man-advantage and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for the shutout, as Syracuse blanked the Binghamton Senators, 4-0, to snap a five-game losing skid at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“They kept it simple. I know that’s cliche but it’s true,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “They get it to the point and they shoot the thing. The way we’re setting up is good and we’re helping each other on the power play. It’s not necessarily about making the plays, but it’s about getting the recoveries, getting the puck back, and getting the puck in. It seems to be working for us right now.”

AHL Game Night: 12-18-15 Senators at Crunch

Vasiy says, "LET THERE BE KITTENS!"

BNG-0
SYR-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 27 shots he faced for the shutout victory.

First Period
SYR Darcy, (2) (DeAngelo, Peca), 14:44 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Walcott, (1) (Blujus, Broll), 7:46

Third Period
SYR Blujus, (2) (Koekkoek, Peca), 2:38 (PP)
SYR McGinn, (6) (DeAngelo, Blujus), 18:11

Vasilevskiy, Cameron Darcy, and Dylan Blujus were the game's three stars. Darcy's suddenly finding the scoresheet and giving the Crunch some much needed offensive punch.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-18-15 Lightning at Capitals

Third Period meltdown tarnishes solid Lightning effort.

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WSH-5

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the loss. Situational saves matter. The Oshie goal off the wing high short side cannot be allowed in that situation. It's got to be a higher caliber scoring chance that beats you there. That, among other things, opened the door to the meltdown that happened.

First Period
8:18 TB Killorn (5), (Marchessault, Coburn)

Second Period
6:54 TB Sustr (1), (Kucherov)
9:04 TB Stamkos (12), (Hedman, Stralman)
13:49 WSH Ovechkin (15), (Oshie, Carlson)(PP)

Third Period
7:54 WSH Oshie (11), (unassisted)
10:02 WSH Ovechkin (16), (Chimera, Williams)(PP)
14:16 WSH Johansson (6), (Oshie, Ovechkin)(PP)
19:35 WSH Oshie (12), (Backstrom, Ovechkin)(EN)

That's a tough one. It's not that the Lightning lost to a really good team like the Capitals, it's that they looked like they were going to post a watershed victory only to see it implode right before their eyes. Add it to the list of similar losses the Lightning have suffered this season.

Part of the Lightning's undoing tonight has to be attributed to the officials. The refs giftwrapped a pair of highly questionable phantom calls on a slash to Stamkos off a faceoff that ended up cutting the Lightning lead to 3-1 and a ticky tack interference call at the bench on Hedman that allowed Washington to tie the game. Take that phantom slash on Stamkos away, and the Lightning likely take a 3-0 game into the locker room and the outcome is pretty much in the bag. Mind you, the PK has to do better than go 1-for-4, but I'm more than a little bitter about the night the zebras had.

There's plenty of silver linings from the night, the biggest of which was Stamkos snapping out of his goal scoring slump. It's amazing how he looked like he was shot out of a cannon in the Third Period with that weight lifted from his shoulders. It wouldn't be all that surprising if he went on a tear over the coming few weeks. But, you know, that's not going to take the sour taste out of this one.

Mike Angelidis had 3 hits in 7:57. Hard working night on the fourth line.

Jonathan Marchessault had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots in 14:25. He had a strong game, including hitting a post that was nearly a key goal in the Third Period that might've allowed the Lightning to stave off the coming disaster.

Yanni Gourde had 2 hits in 7:43.

Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:06. I thought he played one of his better games in a while tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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