Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 3-31-12 Jets at Lightning

Impressive debuts and #91 with a hammer.

WPG-2
TB-3 (OT)

Sebastien Caron made his first start in a Lightning jersey and was excellent stopping 26 of 28 for the victory. Let him play out the season and earn himself an NHL contract somewhere for next season, I say.

First Period
TB Malone (19), (unassisted), 15:37

Second Period
WPG Miettinen (5), (Kane, Stuart), 6:20
WPG Wellwood (18), (Byfuglien, Stapleton), 9:28

Third Period
TB Malone (20), (Purcell, Hedman)(PP), 7:25

Overtime
TB Stamkos (56), (Lee), 0:45

Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and third stars. Congratulations to Ryan Malone, who raced from 15 to 20 goals in the hockey equivalent of a blink of an eye this week. It'd be fun to see what Malone could do if he could stay healthy for an entire season. Stamkos, for his part, sets a new NHL record with 5 overtime game winning goals in a season, as he continues his push to get to 60 goals. Pretty cool.

What I really enjoyed about this game was the way the young players received opportunities and showed something. Brett Connolly looked good, Victor Hedman kept up his points streak and got in a little scrap, and I'll write about J.T. Brown in a bit. Even Keith Aulie had a pretty positive game, in my mind, and it seemed like Brendan Mikkelson got to play a ton, too. Oh, and Brian Lee was damned impressive with 6 hits tonight. You're seeing a lot of good young pieces playing well in both Tampa Bay and in Norfolk, and you've got the best young player in the game in Steven Stamkos. Mix in another lottery pick, and this season's going to seem like a minor pothole in the grand scheme of things. My only regret is that, in beating Winnipeg, the team may have lost an opportunity to get into the top 5-6 picks of this draft. Some scouting organizations judge this a 5 player draft, as far as impact players go. I judge it a 5+1 or 2, right now, especially given the situation with Sarnia's Alex Galchenyuk losing so much time to injury this year, a la Connolly in his draft year. And I still want that little, mean-spirited Dan Boyle clone from Red Deer. The Lightning would be picking 9th now, pending the outcome of the lottery drawing, based on my quick look at the standings. Maybe they can get the ping pong balls to bounce their way and still move up 4 spots into the top-5.

Aulie had 1 shot and 3 hits in 13:37. He was good tonight. I know, I was surprised, too. He was physical. He had some interesting little offensive zone forays. He wasn't a pylon. That was more like it. And, you can now tell your children where you were when Keith Aulie finally broke the 13 minute barrier in a game that wasn't completely out of hand.

J.T. Wyman had 4 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 7:26. Old J.T. overshadowed by new J.T.

J.T. Brown had 2 shots in 13:33 in his NHL debut. Color me impressed. He's a very, very good skater and he showed some decent early chemistry with both Vincent Lecavalier and Brett Connolly, and those are two players that aren't the easiest to read off of because they're both creative stickhandlers. He looked pretty responsible defensively in terms of his positioning, too. You can tell he was well coached at Minnesota-Duluth. I don't know if he can be as physically active at 170 pounds in the NHL as he was in college, but I'm looking forward to him getting on the Steven Stamkos training regime this offseason and seeing him add that element into his game next year, because his college film will remind you of Jeremy Roenick, at times. That was a quality signing.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-30-12 IceCaps at Admirals

Shawn Chambers.

STJ-1
NOR-2

Jaroslav Janus allowed just 1 goal on 21 shots for his 12th straight victory and 20th of the season. For the moment, Janus moves into a tie with several others for 11th in the AHL with 20 wins.

First Period
STJ Gagnon, (13) (Redmond, DeSantis), 2:11 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Palat, (9) (Picard, Killorn), 15:42

Third Period
NOR Devos, (6) (Labrie, Conacher), 10:41

Philip-Michael Devos, Ondrej Palat, and Janus were the game's three stars.

22 straight wins! You probably all thought I was going to go with Dan Boyle, right? No, I kicked it really old school with the Shawn Chambers reference.

Norfolk will be raising at least one banner to the rafters of Scope in the Fall. They've just about clinched the East Division (1 point gained or 1 point lost by Hershey will do it), and they've just about put a lid on the Eastern Conference as a whole, as well. By sweeping this 2 game set against the IceCaps, they shrunk their magic number for the conference by 8 points. They now hold a 15 point lead on St. John's, with just 8 games left on the IceCaps' schedule. St. John's can't catch the Admirals in ROW, which means that the next point earned by the Admirals or lost by St. John's will just about clinch the #1 seed in the East for the Admirals. They also temporarily have opened up a 10 point lead on Oklahoma City, with the Barons currently in action and winning. The magic number for the top spot in the entire AHL is 6 points.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-29-12 Lightning at Devils

Hard to waste a hat trick.

TB-4
NJ-6

Dwayne Roloson allowed 6 goals on 34 shots for the loss before giving way to Sebastien Caron who stopped all 4 shots he faced the rest of the way.

First Period
TB Malone (16), (Stamkos, Hedman), 19:16

Second Period
NJ Zubrus (17), (Elias)(SH), 3:07
TB Malone (17), (Brewer), 4:40
NJ Josefson (2), (Carter, Clarkson), 6:54
TB Malone (18), (Hedman), 10:13
NJ Kovalchuk (33), (Henrique, Parise), 13:26
NJ Zidlicky (2), (Kovalchuk, Elias)(PP), 14:37

Third Period
NJ Ponikarovsky (13), (Salvador), 2:25
NJ Clarkson (29), (Ponikarovsky, Henrique), 6:05
TB Smith (2), (Wallace, Aulie), 19:51

Ryan Malone was the game's second star. Good for him to give himself a fighting chance to get to 20 goals by the season's end.

It's good to have Vincent Lecavalier back.

As of this minute, the Lightning would pick 9th, but they're in a 4-way tie with Anaheim, the Islanders, and Carolina at 77 points. So, they could easily be in 6th position soon, and they're just 2 points ahead of Toronto, which would pick 5th. There's a certain defenseman from Red Deer I think is going 4th or 5th, at the latest, in this draft. So, while losing stinks, it might be for a good purpose.

Keith Aulie had a helper and 2 hits in 11:58.

Trevor Smith had a goal, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 16:01.

J.T. Wyman had 2 hits in 16:56. Smith and Wyman are legitimate contenders, along with about a half dozen other forwards, for a spare number of spots on the Lightning in camp next season, in my opinion. We'll see another contender, J.T. Brown, make his debut this weekend.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Sign College Free Agent Forward J.T. Brown

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced they have signed free agent forward J.T. Brown from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The 21-year old was the MVP of last year's Frozen Four and scored 24 goals and 47 points in 39 games for the Bulldogs this season as a sophomore. Prior to joining Minnesota-Duluth, Brown played for 2 seasons in the defensive-minded USHL, posting an impressive 34 goals and 77 points in 60 games in his final season for Waterloo. His father, Ted Brown, played 8 seasons for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings amassing 4,546 yards in rushing between 1979 and 1986 after being taken in the first round out of NC State.

The Lightning won a bidding war for Brown's services that reportedly included the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. He is likely to spend the rest of this season with the Lightning in the NHL and he will be a strong candidate to stick with the team next season. He is lauded for his speed, grit, and shot, and was arguably the most sought after NCAA free agent remaining after University of Western Michigan junior defenseman Danny DeKeyser made the decision to stay in school.

Lightning advisor Tom Kurvers, a Minnesota-Duluth alumni, as quoted in the Duluth News Tribune:

Quote:
"He plays hard both ways, he’s aggressive, he has speed, moves the puck, has a scoring knack and is a clutch performer. He played his absolute best in the Frozen Four last year," said Tampa Bay senior adviser to the general manager Tom Kurvers, a former UMD All-American defenseman, who watched the Bulldogs 14 times this season. "His competitiveness is so noticeable and he has a little evil streak, which he’s learned to control... He’s gotten better the last two years and his time in Duluth was well spent."

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