A solid, satisfying win... but at what price?
Ben Bishop made 3 saves on 3 shots before leaving the game 5:43 into the First Period in serious discomfort after falling to the ice while catching a puck with his glove hand. Wrist, elbow, shoulder? Whatever it was, Bishop was writhing in pain enough to leave doubt whether he'll be available anytime soon. Anders Lindback entered the game and stopped all 25 shots he faced the rest of the way for the combined shutout and the win. Putting aside any critique of Bishop's workload, I feel like Lindback's play in his last start merited more starting time than Cooper has given him. He looked good again tonight, including a sparkling glove save toward the end of the Second Period. What I like about Lindback is the team in front of him seems to simplify its game and pay closer attention to detail rather than simply relying on Ben Bishop to be the eraser for their mistakes. It certainly appeared that way tonight.
9:19 TB Palat (21), (Hedman, Gudas)
15:45 TB Palat (22), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
19:47 TB Hedman (13), (unassisted)(EN)
That was a fantastically well played hockey game by the Tampa Bay Lightning after the debacles against Calgary and Dallas. Ordinarily I'd be really excited about the way they played tonight, because it represents a total reversal of the issues that had plaqued the club earlier this season when it simply couldn't get power play production, couldn't kill penalties with any reliability, and struggled mightily to protect Third Period leads. They were ruthlessly efficient in all three aspects, which bodes well, but...
Between Bishop leaving the game and Sami Salo also leaving early in the Second Period, you wonder if they won the battle and ended up losing the war. It's never a good thing when an injury looks so significant that people start asking you how quickly your KHL-based prospect goaltender-of-the-future might be available to be signed and, gulp, appear for your team in the playoffs. That's the scary predicament of the night, though, pending word on what ails Bishop.
The Lightning's victory tonight puts them at 95 points for the season, 1 shy of our 80-game goal of 96 points and 2 points shy of the 10-game segment goal of 12 points earned. It's remarkable how efficient they've been about staying on schedule all season long.
Andrej Sustr had 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 18:10. He, again, had to play bigger minutes with one of his defensive corps-mates out of the game (in this case Salo). He made several key plays in the Second Period including breaking up a 3-on-1 by Toronto's top line. Tonight was his 40th game of the season, meaning he is now just 1 game away from graduation on the site. He'll likely be the capstone to an unprecedented Bolt Prospects Alumni class the likes of which we may never see again.
KHL Eastern Conference Finals
(4)Ufa 4 vs. (1)Magnitogorsk 0
Magnitogorsk Leads the Series 2-1
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, Win, SO, 22/22, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals: 28 GP, 14-8-5, 3 SO, 2.21 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 16 GP, 9-7-0, 1 SO, 2.11 GAA, .929 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin, Loss, 20/22, 2.65 GAA, .909 sv%
Regular season totals: 51 GP, 30-12-8, 9 SO, 1.88 GAA, .940 sv%
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 10-2-0, 0 SO, 1.91 GAA, .935 sv%
Today might've been a game changer in the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. Not only did Lightning prospect goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy post a 22 save shutout to hand Magnitogorsk just their second defeat of the KHL postseason, but Metallurg goaltender Vasily Koshechkin was pulled by Head Coach Mike Keenan after a Third Period soft goal that put Ufa up 2-0. What effect will the quick hook have on the veteran Koshechkin? We shall see when Game Four drops on Wednesday. Ex-Canucks draft pick Kirill Koltsov had a pair of assists in the win for Ufa.
Ontario Hockey League
Barrie Colts 1 @ North Bay Battalion 4
Battalion lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 2-0
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP: 2-2-4, +1, 6 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 3-0-3, E, 8 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
North Bay scored four times in the span of about four minutes in the third period to claim Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead over Barrie. Dylan Blujus scored a power play goal, giving him three goals in nine playoff games. He had four goals in 55 regular season games. Undrafted free agent Barclay Goodrow had two goals for the Battalion. The series moves to Barrie for Game 3 on Tuesday.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Henri Ikonen to an entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. He will report to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League for the remainder of the season on an amateur tryout contract.
Ikonen, 19, played in 54 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season, posting 25 goals and 70 points to go along with 49 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating. He ranked second on the Frontenacs for points and was tied for second for assists with 45. The Savolinna, Finland native scored three shorthanded goals which ranked tied for first on Kingston. Ikonen also skated in seven postseason games for the Frontenacs, recording a goal and six points.
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound forward played in seven games for Team Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden, recording a goal and three points. Ikonen won the Gold Medal with Team Finland at the tournament.
He has skated in 115 career OHL games, all with Kingston, over the past two seasons, collecting 47 goals and 121 points to go along with 79 penalty minutes. Ikonen set career highs for goals, assists, points, plus/minus and penalty minutes during the 2013-14 season.
Ikonen was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 154th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Gatineau Olympiques 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 6
Mooseheads lead best-of-7 second round series, 2-0
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 0-4-4, E, 0 PIM, 1 Hit, 4 SOG, 12/24 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 6-13-19, +7, 4 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
Halifax got two goals from Nik Ehlers (2014) and four assists from Jonathan Drouin on its way to a 6-2 Game 2 win. Drouin, who has been a game star in all six playoff games, extended his multi-point game streak to nine games. Game 3 is Tuesday in Gatineau.