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NHL Game Night: 4-2-17 Stars at Lightning

Lackluster Lightning still power through to set up big game in Boston.

DAL-3
TB-6

Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory. Strange game. Budaj got the benefit of two video replays and a quick whistle on a shot that knocked off his mask. Was he bad? No. Was he lucky? A little. It was just a bizarre contest.

First Period
11:27 TB Erne (2), (Gourde, Sustr)

Second Period
1:49 DAL Smith (3), (Lindell, Spezza)
10:57 DAL Spezza (14), (Klingberg, Lindell)
19:42 TB Coburn (4), (Stralman, Palat)

Third Period
5:43 TB Point (14), (Dotchin, Palat)
13:27 TB Palat (17), (Drouin, Kucherov)(PP)
14:37 TB Erne (3), (Namestnikov, Johnson)
16:40 DAL Ritchie (15), (Lindell, Shore)
19:58 TB Stralman (5), (unassisted)(EN)

Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

I'm not going to call that a work of art, because it wasn't. The Lightning looked particularly trashy in the Second Period when they seemed like they could neither give nor receive passes cleanly. They had a lot of luck with the video replays, too. But, in the end equation, it's about survival and manufacturing ways to stay in the race. That's what the Lightning did tonight. I don't care how. They just did it.

Tampa Bay moves to 88 points, 3 points back of Ottawa with the Senators holding a game in hand. Next up, a meeting in Boston on Tuesday night with the Spoked Satan. Win and they move within 2 points of Boston with a game in hand. Lose and the Lightning probably stay home for the postseason.

Luke Witkowski had 3 hits and 2 blocked shots in 7:02.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:52.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit in 8:59 and was 20% on 10 draws.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 15:06. He was also 54% on 13 draws.

Erne had a pair of goals and was +2 with 5 shots and 2 hits in 13:36. Surprise, Dan Hamhuis! Big Erne has afterburners.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

ECHL Game Night: 3-31-17 & 4-01-17

3-31-17: Kalamazoo Wings 7 at Florida Everblades 5
4-01-17: Kalamazoo Wings 3 at Florida Everblades 5

F Brian Hart, KAL, 2gp, 2-1-3, -1, 0 PIMS, 7 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 31 GP, 5-5-10, -5, 4 PIMs, 60 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 33 GP, 3-4-7, E, 26 PIMs, 50 SOG

F Cameron Darcy, KAL, 2gp, 0-4-4, E, 2 PIMS, 3 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 18 GP, 5-18-23, +10, 10 PIMs, 47 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 34 GP, 3-4-7, -3, 14 PIMs, 40 SOG

Other Notables
G Nic Riopel, KAL, 2gp, 118:33 MINS, 1-1-0-0, 81/90, *THIRD STAR*
Season Totals: 31 GP, 18-11-0-1, 3.00 GAA, 0.903 SV%, 1 SO

F Stefan Fournier, KAL, 1gp, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIMS, 0 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 2 GP, 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIMs, 4 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 32 GP, 2-2-4, -1, 97 PIMs

F Brendan O'Donnell, FLA, 2gp, 2-4-6, +3, 0 PIMS, 8 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 58 GP, 39-38-77, +29, 35 PIMs, 229 SOG
Season Totals (AHL): 6 GP, 0-0-0, -6, 0 PIMs, 0 SOG

F Dalton Smith, FLA, 2gp, 0-1-1, -3, 12 PIMS, 1 SOG
Season Totals (ECHL): 58 GP, 10-11-21, -7, 138 PIMs, 90 SOG

After losing to the Everblades in Estero Wednesday night, the K-Wings split the Friday/Saturday night double rematch. Nic Riopel was in net for Kalamazoo both nights, surrendering 9 goals on 90 shots in back-to-back tilts. On Friday night, Riopel stopped 51 of 55, getting the back door 3rd Star honor after feasting on 7 goals of support from his teammates to squeak out 1 win for the K-Wings in their 3-game road swing through Estero. Speaking of feasting, former Bolt prospect Brendan O'Donnell put up 2 goals and 4 assists in the 2 weekend games, totaling 3-6-9 in three games including last Wednesday night's 6-2 Florida win. Current Lightning prospect Brian Hart scored in both weekend games and recorded his first multi-point game of the season in Saturday night's 5-3 loss. Fellow prospect Cam Darcy rung up 4 assists, including 3 assists in Friday night's 7-5 victory. Kalamazoo will conclude their regular season play next weekend with a home-and-home against the Wheeling Nailers, and then turn their attention to a 1st round Kelly Cup playoff series against Central Division winner Toledo Walleye, who are likely to end the regular season as the league's best team.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-1-17

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 3 @ Swift Current Broncos 2
Eastern Conference First Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 3-3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 2-0-2, -4, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

Moose Jaw forced a Game 7 with a 3-2 road win Saturday. The Warriors were up 3-1 entering the third period and held on. The teams combined for 84 shots on goal. Game 7 is Monday in Moose Jaw.

Crunch Fall to Marlies in Shootout for Second Straight Night


By Jeremy Houghtaling

There was a serious case of deja vu at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

With the score tied after 65 minutes, the Crunch and Marlies went to a shootout. Syracuse’s shootout struggles continued, as Toronto earned a 3-2 win for a second straight night.

The Crunch came into the weekend tied for first place in the North Division, but the Marlies now lead by two points.

“Two teams that are giving it all on the ice, obviously,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Last night they took the lead 2-0 and we came back. Tonight we took a 2-0 lead. They came back and they found a way twice in the shootout. It’s disappointing, but I’m very proud of the two hard fought battles we gave them this weekend.”

AHL Game Night: 4-1-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch fail to protect two goal lead in critical divisional tilt.

TOR-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 23 shots, stopped a PS in OT, but allowed 2 of 5 to convert in the Shootout for the loss.

First Period
5:06 SYR Lynch (5), (McGinn)

Second Period
6:58 SYR Richard (13), (McGinn, Condra)
12:05 TOR Leipsic (15), (Moore, Findlay)(PP)

Third Period
6:07 TOR Gauthier (3), (Sislo, Johnsson)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Griffith, Timashov
SYR- Lynch

Kevin Lynch and Michael Bournival were the game's second and third stars.

Two identical, frustrating results in a row against the Marlies have put the Crunch down 1 point to Toronto in the race for the North Division crown. They've got the big ROW tiebreaker advantage, so the Crunch will need to beat them clean to get the title.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-1-17 Canadiens at Lightning

Big Goal Gourde helps Lightning salvage a life-sustaining point.

MTL-2
TB-1 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the OT loss. He was brilliant, really. Justified the faith of the franchise by acquitting himself well in a goaltending duel with Price that he nearly won.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
14:24 MTL Danault (3), (Pacioretty)

Third Period
11:38 TB Gourde (4), (Hedman, Drouin)

Overtime
0:51 MTL Radulov (17), (Pacioretty, Danault)

Vasilevskiy was the game's second star.

This was a tough game for the Lightning. They looked gassed throughout a healthy portion of this one and it took a lot of character to dig deep in the Third Period and at least salvage the point. It's a shame that Kucherov couldn't quite finish his glorious OT chance, but the Lightning have nothing to feel ashamed of and they've got 2 more critical points to chase tomorrow night when Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson possibly return to the lineup.

It's pretty simple math now. At the start of the season, we always talk about pursuing that magic 96 points to make the playoffs safely. Well, the Lightning must now win out to hit 96 points on the nose. They might have 1 more point worth of margin for error, but they likely can't afford a regulation loss the rest of the way. Right now Ottawa is looking like the most realistic target for the Lightning to run down and get into the dance, with Boston and Toronto refusing to fade. The Lightning are 5 points back of Ottawa with both teams having 5 more games left to play. They're also 4 points back of Boston with a game in hand and a head-to-head still on the docket, but the ROW tiebreaker heavily favors the Bruins.

Luke Witkowski had 2 hits and 2 blocked shots in 12:14.

Gregg McKegg had 2 penalty minutes in 8:46.

Jake Dotchin had 2 shots and 4 hits in 17:50.

Gabriel Dumont had 2 hits in 9:19.

Yanni Gourde had the big goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 14:20. He was also 40% on 10 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:44.

Joel Vermin was +1 with 1 shot in 10:32.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-31-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6 @ Halifax Mooseheads 5 (3OT)
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Rouyn-Noranda leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 25/37 FO
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Huskies erased a 5-3 Halifax lead with just over two minutes to go, including the game-tying goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. They got the game winner 26 seconds into the third overtime. Nico Hischier (2017) and Somppi combined to take 80 faceoffs. Somppi was on the ice for the last three Huskie goals, including the overtime winner. Game 6 is Monday.

Val-d’Or Foreurs 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 1
QMJHL Playoffs, Round 1
Val-d’Or leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff Totals: 5 GP: 3-2-5, -1, 6 PIM
Season Totals: 64 GP, 46-29-75, +23, 52 PIM

Third-seeded Shawinigan lost a pivotal Game 5 at home and now the 14th seed can clinch the series at home Sunday. The Cataractes outshot the Foreurs, 35-22, but could only beat overage goaltender Etienne Montpetit once. In the other net, Val-d’Or scored on three of their first six shots.

Ontario Hockey League

Flint Firebirds 1 @ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Sault Ste. Marie wins best-of-7 series, 4-1

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 5-3-8, +4, 2 PIM
Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

Katchouk scored for the fifth time in five games as the Soo put away the Firebirds in five games.

Windsor Spitfires 1 @ London Knights
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Windsor leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 3-0-3, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

London survived to play another day, winning Game 5 at home, 2-1. Stephens scored the game-winner in the second period. Game 6 is Sunday.

Western Hockey League

@ Swift Current Broncos 2 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 1
Eastern Conference First Round
Swift Current leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

C Brett Howden, MJ: 1-0-1, -2, 4 PIM, *Second Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 2-0-2, -4, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

The Broncos got a big road win in Moose Jaw, scoring the game’s first two goals then holding on. Howden got the goal for the Warriors – his second is as many games. Swift Current can close out the series Saturday.

Kamloops Blazers 4 @ Kelowna Rockets 1
Western Conference First Round
Kelowna leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

G Connor Ingram, KAM: Win, 32 saves on 33 shots, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-0-0, 2.01 GAA, .951 sv %, 0 SO
Season Totals: 45 GP, 26-14-2-2, 2.44 GAA, .927 sv%, 5 SO

The Blazers scored four unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 early, including two goals in the third period to break the game open. Ingram was first star with a 32-save effort. Game 6 is Sunday back in Kamloops.

Crunch Rally, but Bested By Marlies in Shootout


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch rallied in the second period, but their shootout struggles continued in a battle of the top teams in the North Division.

The Crunch got a pair of goals from unlikely sources to tie the score in the middle frame but couldn’t find the game-winner in the third period, overtime or shootout, as Syracuse fell to Toronto, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. The Crunch have 80 points, one point behind the Marlies.

“I think they came out strong again,” Crunch captain Erik Condra said. “We pushed back and came back on a pretty good team and got a point out of it.”

AHL Game Night: 3-31-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch lose a key divisional point in the Shootout.

TOR-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 33 shots before conceding to 1 of 2 in the penalty shot session for the loss in the Shootout. McKenna is finally settling into Syracuse nicely, as he's now starting to regularly put in quality starts.

First Period
7:41 TOR Griffith (9), (O'Reilly, Rychel)(PP)
16:21 TOR Leipsic (14), (Moore)

Second Period
12:16 SYR Thomas (3), (Condra, Masin)
15:20 SYR Racine (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Griffith
SYR- NONE

Mike McKenna and Ben Thomas were the game's first and second stars. Thomas continues a very respectable rookie season where he's compiled 19 points in 64 games. It's not a staggering stat line, but for a guy who came into the club with some middling numbers (and that's being kind) out of junior, he's really set himself nicely as one to watch the next couple of seasons.

Toronto pulls 1 point ahead of Syracuse in the North Division by virtue of the extra point in the penalty shot session.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-30-17

Ontario Hockey League

Peterborough Petes 6 @ Niagara IceDogs 2
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Peterborough wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 9/18 FO
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 0-2-2, +3, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

D Matt Spencer, PBO: 0-2-2, +4, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-3-4, +10, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 60 GP, 7-22-29, +9, 58 PIM

W Jonne Tammela, PBO: Did not play
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM
2015-2016 (Finland): 37 GP, 5-8-13, +10, 16 PIM

The Petes completed their 4-game sweep of the IceDogs with a 6-2 win Thursday. Matt Spencer had two assists to finish the series with four points and an outstanding plus-10 rating, which leads the league in the playoffs. Paquette had two assists in the series while playing his normal 2-way game. It looks as though he was playing in the No. 2 center role. Peterborough will now wait for the lowest ranked team to survive the OHL Eastern Conference’s first round. Niagara showed good effort on the game stars, awarding all three to IceDog players, perhaps as a good-bye gift.

London Knights 2 @ Windsor Spitfires 3 (OT)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Windsor leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

Windsor put the defending champs on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 overtime win at home in Game 4. Graham Knott scored at 5:58 of overtime. London had a 2-1 lead halfway through the game. The Knights will try to extend the series Saturday at home. Should that not happen, Stephens may be on the next plane to Syracuse.

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