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AHL Game Night: 3-8-19 Comets at Crunch

Crunch edge ahead in the Galaxy Cup standings and stay ahead in the North Division standings.

UTI-0
SYR-4

Eddie Pasquale stopped all 25 shots he faced for the shutout victory.

First Period
0:52 SYR Raddysh (15), (Colton)
12:02 SYR Barre-Boulet (28), (Andreoff, Verhaeghe)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
12:19 SYR Volkov (13), (Valleau, Dumont)
17:41 SYR Dumont (9), (Valleau)(EN)(SH)

Pasquale, Gabriel Dumont, and Nolan Valleau were the game's three stars.

Syracuse maintains a 2 point lead over Rochester in the North Division, and if my memory serves me correctly, they pull one game ahead of Utica in the annual series against their derby rivals. All in a night's work.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-7-19 Wild at Lightning

Wild park the bus to stymie the Lightning.

MIN-3
TB-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for a rare loss. Can't win without goal support.

First Period
10:50 MIN Zucker (18), (Donato, Suter)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
6:04 MIN Zucker (19), (Donato)
18:14 MIN Zucker (20), (Staal, Fehr)(EN)

It was a very frustrating night for the Lightning, who had the uncomfortable task of trying to deal with a team that has good team speed and chose to use that team speed to completely gum up the neutral zone and sell out completely on the backcheck. They really limited the Lightning's possession and scoring chances that way and, having gotten a couple of greasy goals of their own along the way, ultimately were able to completely sell out for that strategy. Expect to see versions of that deployed against the Lightning in the postseason. Can that work to defeat the Lightning in a seven game series? I don't know. But it's a strategy that less explosive teams can use to at least give themselves a puncher's chance on any given night against Tampa Bay if the bounces go their way.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-6-19 Crunch at Comets

Crunch defeat rivals to take lead in North Division.

SYR-5
UTI-3

Eddie Pasquale allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the victory. Syracuse's goaltending situation took on a soap opera-like tack today with the sudden demotion of prospect Connor Ingram to the Coast as an "internal matter." Credit Pasquale's professionalism in blocking out the noise to get the W in a key game tonight.

First Period
3:30 SYR Dumont (8), (Andreoff, Thomas)(SH)
9:34 SYR Colton (11), (unassisted)
9:48 SYR Verhaeghe (26), (unassisted)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
3:39 UTI Boucher (27), (Kero, Chatfield)
11:36 SYR Verhaeghe (27), (Raddysh, Valleau)
12:24 UTI MacEwen (20), (Gaunce, Lind)
15:16 UTI Anselmini (1), (Lind, Bancks)
19:57 SYR Rutta (4), (Conacher, Masin)(EN)

Carter Verhaeghe was the game's first star.

Syracuse burns its game in hand on Rochester to take the two point lead in the division with 18 games left to go in the regular season. Down the stretch we go.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-5-19 Jets at Lightning

Lightning make Jets look like Thrashers.

WPG-2
TB-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory. One of those goals was a fluke that went off a stantion on a shoot into the zone.

First Period
1:34 TB Gourde (18), (Palat, Girardi)
6:31 WPG Wheeler (18), (Laine, Trouba)(PP)

Second Period
8:58 TB Erne (7), (Joseph, Cirelli)
14:26 TB Stamkos (34), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
4:20 TB Paquette (10), (Joseph, Erne)
9:50 TB Point (37), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)
15:03 WPG Trouba (5), (Hellebuyck)(PP)

Adam Erne, Nikita Kucherov, and Mathieu Joseph were the game's three stars.

I think a lot of casual fans and pundits saw the schedule loss the Lightning took against Boston on national TV and their lack of movement and the deadline and decided to render summary judgement that the Lightning were vulnerable. Tonight the Lightning just issued a pretty definitive statement about those presumptions. Winnipeg's a legit contender to come out of the West and granted they were missing Byfuglien tonight, but the Lightning absolutely killed them. Heck, I though Hellebuyck actually played a really strong game and kept them in this one through much of the first two frames, and he still gave up 4 of the 5 Jets goals. Halfway through the game the Lightning had held the Jets to just 9 shots on goal and they were forcing the Jets to surrender odd man rushes like they were candy. It was pretty eye-opening and another example of the extra gear the Lightning can find when they decide they're playing a measuring stick game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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