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Liiga Game Day: 2-19-16

KalPa 2 vs. TPS 1 (SO)
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 4-7-11, +8, 16 PIM

Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 10:25 of ice time in KalPa's 2-1 SO victory over TPS. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had TPS's regulation tally.

KHL Game Day: 2-18-16

Ekaterinburg 2 vs. Magnitogorsk 3 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 50 GP, 22-15-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin again got the night off as Caps first rounder Ilya Samsonov allowed 2 goals on 20 shots and stopped 5 of 6 shooters in the penalty shot session in Magnitka's 3-2 SO win over Ekaterinburg. Magnitogorsk earned the 2nd sees in the Eastern Conference and will square off with 7th seeded Ekaterinburg in the opening round.

Dinamo Minsk 3 vs. Novgorod 2 (SO)
Carter Ashton, Novgorod, DNP
Season totals: 46 GP, 13-10-23, +3, 61 PIM

Ex-Lightning forward Paul Szczechura had a goal for Minsk in their 3-2 SO win over Novgorod in both teams' regular season finale. Novgorod earned the 7th seed in the Western Conference and will face 2nd seed Jokerit in the opening round.

Dinamo Riga 4 vs. St. Petersburg 2
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals (St. Petersburg): 33 GP, 13-22-35, +9, 10 PIM
Season totals (Khanty-Mansiysk): 23 GP, 7-7-14, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Nikita Gusev was -2 in 18:34 of ice time in SKA's 4-2 loss to Riga. Gusev finished tied for 11th in the KHL in scoring with 2 others, including teammate and fomer NHL'er Ilya Kovalchuk. He was also tied with several others at 11th in the league in goals. St. Petersburg earned the 6th seed in the Western Conference and will face 3rd seed Yaroslavl in the opening round.

Juniors Game Night: 2-18-16

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ Windsor Spitfires 1

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 50 GP, 15-23-38, +20, 72 PIM
2014-15 totals: 63 GP, 21-24-45, -16, 100 PIM

DiGiacinto has just three assists in his last 16 games after being a fairly consistent scorer through the first half of the season. He’s been playing on the third line lately.

Kingston Frontenacs 4 @ Peterborough Petes 5

D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 7-17-24, +28, 38 PIM
2014-15 totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 47 GP, 3-17-20, -2, 40 PIM
2014-15 totals: 67 GP, 6-24-30, -15, 64 PIM

Dominik Masin had an assist and Hunter Garlent had three assists to lead the Petes to a 5-4 win over visiting Kingston. The Fronts scored all four of their goals in the third period.

NHL Game Night: 2-18-16 Jets at Lightning

Lightning manage to snatch their season from the jaws of an epic collapse.

WPG-5
TB-6 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 41 shots before stopping 4 of 5 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. I thought he was generally good on first shots in this game, but looked a little out of sorts on second opportunities. He made several key situational saves in Overtime to help keep the team alive. In the Shootout, I tend to have a lot of faith with Vasiy in net because he does tend to be so strong facing down first opportunities.

First Period
15:38 TB Hedman(6), (Brown)
17:52 TB Marchessault(7), (Killorn)
19:39 TB Stamkos(23), (Callahan, Sustr)

Second Period
13:45 WPG Myers(6), (Peluso, Lowry)

Third Period
2:00 TB Killorn(10), (Callahan)
6:01 WPG Shiefele(13), (Trouba)(PP)
7:33 WPG Ladd(14), (Armia)(SH)
12:44 WPG Ladd(15), (Schiefele)
14:40 WPG Perrault(9), (Wheeler, Byfuglien)
15:04 TB Kucherov(24), (unassisted)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WPG- Ladd
TB- Callahan, Stamkos

Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning ultimately got the result they needed out of tonight's game, but they hardly cloaked themselves in glory doing so. True, they opportunistically built a pair of 3 goals leads, including the all-important 3 goal lead in the Third Period, despite being on the wrong end of a shot disparity all night. That should've been enough, even despite a very poor power play night that included a blown Second Period 5-on-3 and a blown Overtime 4-on-3 opportunity. Only bad teams blow 3 goals leads in the Third Period, right? Well, the Lightning very nearly lost the game allowing 4 straight before a great individual effort shooting off the rush by Kucherov may have saved the season. Lucky, lucky, lucky, too. Lucky Winnipeg looks completely disorganized defensively and lucky Ondrej Pavelec brought his bullfighting cape to the crease tonight. The Lightning defense, in particular, looked like the completely took their foot off the gas in the Third Period with some very weak work leading to a pair of goals where they were manhandled physically by the bigger Jets. Was that because the Jets started running at the Lightning after Anton Stralman nearly beheaded Bryan Little on a neutral zone hit late in the Second Period? Hard to say. I do know this: I really hope Stralman doesn't face discipline for that head shot because I do not want to watch this team attempt to win a game with both he and Garrison unavailable.

Bottom line: I didn't see anything tonight that developed a wellspring of trust in this team. They still look to be teetering on the edge of disaster.

If any Matt Carle apologists trumpet his +2 to you tonight, remind them of the fable of the blind squirrel. Callahan, on the other hand, had a pair of nice finishes in regulation and OT, as if trying to earn his way out of membership in the imaginary Dead Money Trio. We shall see.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 7:59. Winnipeg's a rough matchup for a rookie because of their combination of size/speed. He didn't make any huge mistakes, but he also didn't get the amount of open ice he gets against other teams to utilize his skating ability. Mind you, had the Lightning not decided to implode in the Third Period, there might've been a lot of good developmental garbage time for Slater to eat up, but it was not to be. Lost opportunities.

Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 10:53. He remained aggressive tonight and was the recipient of a fine setup by Alex Killorn on his goal.

Nikita Nesterov was -1 in 9:03. Winnipeg's a really bad matchup for Nikita. That's all I'll say.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Juniors Game Night: 2-17-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 2

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 5 Hits
Season totals: 35 GP, 4-10-14, -4, 54 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 13-15-28, +2, 137 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 50 GP, 30-34-64, +33, 49 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 59 GP, 21-21-42, +18, 46 PIM

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 49 GP, 29-31-60, +5, 62 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Joseph, the reigning league First Star of the Week, had an assist on the game-winning goal scored midway through the third period as Saint John beat Shawinigan, 3-2. Joseph extended his point streak to 10 games, though his streak of games with at least two points ended at five games. On the other bench, Yan has just one point in his last five games. He continues to be rather quiet since early December. As for Imama, he’s been hitting more since he came back from a 15-game suspension, but he hasn’t seen the scoresheet more than once in those eight games.

Ontario Hockey League

Sarnia Sting 2 @ Saginaw Spirit 5

W Mitchell Stephens, SAG: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 10/18 FO
Season totals: 27 GP, 14-11-25, +2, 12 PIM
2014-15 totals: 62 GP, 22-26-48, -17, 44 PIM

A lot has changed since Saginaw’s last game, an 11-4 loss to the same Sarnia club they beat Wednesday night. The Spirit fired coach Greg Gilbert and regrouped enough to shut down the high-powered Sting.

Western Hockey League

Victoria Royals 5 @ Vancouver Giants 2

D Ben Thomas, VAN: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-18-25, -23, 36 PIM
With Vancouver: 46 GP, 7-15-22, -13, 26 PIM
With Calgary: 14 GP, 0-3-3, -10, 10 PIM
2014-15 totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM

Vancouver dropped a 5-2 afternoon decision to visiting Victoria Wednesday. Logan Fisher (undrafted) had a hat trick for the Royals.

AHL Game Night: 2-17-16 IceCaps at Crunch

Crunch skid hits 9.

STJ-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 1 of 5 to convert in the penalty shot session for the hard luck Shootout loss.

First Period
SYR Walcott, (2) (Taormina, Blunden), 1:43
STJ Scott, (1) (MacMillan, Bartley), 4:31 (PP)
SYR DeAngelo, (5) (Richard, Gourde), 8:19

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
STJ McCarron, (15) , 17:26 (PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
STJ- McCarron
SYR- NONE

Anthony DeAngelo returned to the lineup after being scratched in 3 consecutive games and had a goal en route to being named the second star of the game.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch's Slide Continues With Loss to IceCaps


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite holding a 2-1 lead for more than 49 minutes, the Syracuse Crunch couldn’t hold on.

The IceCaps netted the equalizer on a power play with 2:34 remaining in regulation — and after both teams couldn’t capitalize on the man-advantage in overtime — St. John’s pulled out the 3-2 win over Syracuse in the fifth round of the shootout at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

The Crunch has dropped nine straight.

“I thought we played OK and I thought we were in control of the game,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “It was a 2-1 hockey game and we have a gaffe. It is what it is. … It just seems to be the way it’s going right now. We need to find a way to keep working hard and get out of this thing we’re in.”

Juniors Game Night: 2-16-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Shawinigan Cataractes 1 @ Quebec Remparts 2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 4 Hits
Season totals: 48 GP, 29-31-60, +6, 62 PIM
2014-2015 Season: 59 GP, 33-31-64, +23, 71 PIM

Yan led the Cataractes in hits Tuesday in Quebec City.

NHL Game Night: 2-16-16 Sharks at Lightning

If the goat horns fit, make him wear them.

SJ-4
TB-2

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the loss. Partial breakaways and completely uncovered guys in the slot. Not his fault.

First Period
17:51 TB Callahan(6), (Killorn, Sustr)

Second Period
1:43 SJ Ward(16), (Vlasic, Nieto)
6:34 SJ Pavelski(26), (Thornton, Hertl)
8:46 TB Paquette(3), (Brown)

Third Period
1:17 SJ Nieto(8), (Marleau, Ward)
18:17 SJ Karlsson(7), (Thornton)

Ryan Callahan was the game's third star. He did, after all, score his second goal in the last 42 or 43 games, so it was a big deal. Between Matt Carle's -3 in 11:07 of ice time and Val Filppula's rally-stifling late game penalty, it was truly a banner night for the Dead Money Trio. $17.9 million in combined salary for that trio this season, and most of it is money that's absolutely being stolen from the organization.

Matt Carle is not an NHL defenseman anymore, and no team in the league is going to take him in a trade. It's time for Yzerman to suck it up and either send him to Syracuse or send him home. It's Carle's choice, but he can't be in the lineup anymore. He's killing the team. Killing them. He was -3 tonight, and he earned that -3 by playing a pretty significant hand in all 3 goals against. The most important of the three was an ill-advised whiff of a pinch on the eventual GWG. Bottom line, it's time for the Lightning to cut their losses and to use the ice time they've been wasting on Carle to give Slater Koekkoek NHL seasoning for the future.

Tonight's loss puts the Lightning back in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs. After getting 18 points in the last 10-game segment of the season, the team had finally worked its way back onto a solid playoff pace. Now, unless they go on a 4 game winning streak, they'll be behind the 8-ball by the end of this 10-game segment of the season and in the unenviable position of having to make up ground when the calendar rolls over into March. That's exactly where a team doesn't want to be.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 shot in 7:58. He generated two good scoring chances in his limited ice time and his skating is just too good an asset to hold out of the lineup for someone like Matt Carle.

Jonathan Marchessault had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:34. He played inspired high-energy hockey in limited ice time. But, he also took an offensive zone penalty, so I expect him to be flogged by Cooper and press-boxed for another 9 games.

Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 1 hit in 15:39. It was a quiet night where he didn't make any Carle-esque mistakes at the offensive blueline.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Liiga Game Day: 2-16-16

KalPa 1 vs. Assat 3
Jonne Tammela, KalPa, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 4-7-11, +8, 16 PIM

Jonne Tammela was scoreless in 10:58 of ice time in his first game back returning from the Finnish junior team. Boston College alum Pat Mullane had 1 goal and 1 assist for Assat in their win.

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