Tampa Bay Lightning
Credit to Bolt Prospects member Mark for bringing this up in comments...
Fran Sypek writes on the Springfield Republican blog that the Springfield Falcons have called a Monday press conference to announce the team is dissolving their affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization to form a new one with the Edmonton Oilers. Sypek speculates the press conference means the Lightning have finalized a deal with the Norfolk Admirals to be the Lightning's affiliate next season, given that a precondition of the out clause of the recent deal signed between the Lightning and Falcons was that the Lightning needed to have a deal in place with another franchise to nullify the contract.
The Lightning's road trip ends with a tough loss.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots in the loss. The Lightning got 1 goal and 1 assist from Brad Richards and a shorthanded goal from Dan Boyle with an individual assist belonging to Vincent Lecavalier in the game. Still, the road weary Lightning came a late Lecavalier goal post short of getting at least a point.
The Lightning squander their game in hand and still trail Atlanta by 2 points for the Southeast Division lead.
Tampa Bay 2:24, Brad Richards 24 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier)
Toronto 11:43, Chad Kilger 11 (Kyle Wellwood, Darcy Tucker)
Tampa Bay 4:36, Dan Boyle 16 (shorthanded) (Brad Richards)
Toronto 8:14, Mats Sundin 27 (Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov)
Toronto 5:51, Nik Antropov 14 (Mats Sundin, Hal Gill)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
According to a report in today's Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, despite Springfield Falcons President and General Manager Bruce Landon denying Edmonton rumors at a recent booster club meeting, the newspaper states, "Itâ€™s widely believed that both sides will agree to terminate the deal, opening the door for Edmonton to align with Springfield and Tampa Bay to move its prospects south to Norfolk."
Landon had informed Falcons boosters the fact the AHL club and Lightning have two years left on their current affiliation deal.
The Times Leader cited a story in Sundayâ€™s Edmonton Journal stating the Oilers could announce an affiliation deal with the Springfield Falcons shortly.
The Times Leader reported media sources in both Springfield, Mass., and Edmonton, Alberta, couldnâ€™t confirm the Journal report, but the sources said that chances are good that the deal could come to fruition, possibly within the next week.
Springfield has been the Tampa Bay Lightningâ€™s AHL affiliate for the past three seasons.
The Falcons are in the midst of their eighth straight losing season.
Lightning win Game Eight of the '04 Finals.
Marc Denis stopped 25 of 27 shots faced in the win. The Secret Weapon, Nick Tarnasky, and Maurice, er, Vincent Lecavalier led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist each in the game. Dan Boyle added the game winning overtime goal and Tim Taylor, Jason Ward, Ruslan Fedotenko and Martin St. Louis each had individual helpers.
And tonight, I think this Lightning team took their game to another level. It might have been premature to label this team a Stanley Cup contender even up until the past few games. But, to go into a hostile building (the hardest building to get a road win in the NHL) where the entire city of Calgary of geared up for payback for the '03-'04 Finals and where there's so much emotion on the ice and come out with two points, that's the stuff of champions. And, to me, it's the way they did it. True, he only got 6:32 of ice time, but little by little Nick Tarnasky's role on the team is expanding. And, also, Jason Ward playing 13:07 and getting his first point in a Lightning jersey is also seeing his role expand. This team needs to get quality minutes out of guys like Ward and Tarnasky on their lower lines if they're going to be successful in the playoffs and as time goes by these players are starting to show they may very well be up to the challenge.
The Lightning's win, coupled with Atlanta's earlier loss to Florida, puts the Lightning back into a tie with Atlanta in points atop the Southeast Division and they've managed to eat up that game in hand the Thrashers were holding for much of the week. Good good deal. And, don't look now, Marc Denis is starting to play winning hockey again. If the Lightning can get Holmqvist and Denis playing well going into the playoffs then the team is going to have the kind of tandem that last year's Cup winner in Carolina proved can be successful.
Tampa Bay 18:25, Nick Tarnasky 4 (Tim Taylor, Jason Ward)
Calgary 13:56, Jeff Friesen 5 (Rhett Warrener, Andrei Zyuzin)
Calgary 4:28, Craig Conroy 11 (Andrei Zyuzin, Alex Tanguay)
Tampa Bay 6:35, Vincent Lecavalier 46 (Nick Tarnasky, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Tampa Bay 2:59, Dan Boyle 15 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Tampa Tribune is reporting Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger is out indefinitely with a partially torn MCL in his left knee. Ranger was injured in last night's 3-1 Lightning win over the Edmonton Oilers when Raffi Torres fell on his knee. Filip Kuba was a healthy scratch last night in favor of Doug Janik, so expect Kuba to regain his spot in the lineup with Luke Richardson moving back into the No.7 spot.