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Quick Strikes: The champs are in town

Time for a decisive victory, Bolts.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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The Bolts

Game preview from Associated Press: "The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins meet Saturday night in Tampa, coming off opposite ends of 5-1 scores on Thursday, with the host Lightning scrambling to get back on track and the Penguins scoring at prolific levels." [Associated Press]

Is this skid more ominous than previous ones? "The Lightning is a talented, veteran team. It believes it can turn things around and has a track record, having dug itself out of difficult stretches the past two seasons en route to lengthy playoff runs. But this skid feels different in a number of ways." [Tampa Bay Times]

"The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Luke Witkowski and forward Michael Bournival to the Syracuse Crunch." [Bolts by the Bay]

'"I feel fine,'' Bishop said Friday following practice at the Ice Sports Forum. "We go back and watch the games and technically it's all there. There is really no difference from the way I've played the last couple of years to now. I don't like saying this, but it's been a strange season with goofy goals on tips and bounces, goals off your own players."' [Lightning Insider]

"Now, Tampa Bay Lightning is in the midst of another ugly stretch of games and the team is on the outside looking in, by the thinnest of margins, though. However, if this team continues to slide and only strings together a couple of wins at a time for the rest of the season, the chances of making the playoffs will decrease by the day." [Bolts by the Bay]

Crunch victory: "After erasing a pair of one-goal deficits, the Crunch pulled ahead late in the third period on a goal by Yanni Gourde, as Syracuse topped the Albany Devils, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday." [Bolt Prospects]

Now here's a lovely message from Mr. Yzerman about the upcoming World Junior Championship:

The League

Jed Ortmeyer tells the Players' Tribune what it feels like to experience a blood clot. [Players' Tribune]

Big Clutterbucks: Islanders sign Clutterbuck to five-year $17.5 million extension. [Lighthouse Hockey]

Peter Holland traded to Coyotes. "While Holland put forth a fair performance last season, it was clear that Leafs’ management was still not sold on his performance, as contract negotiations dragged on to the point where GM Lou Lamoriello waived Holland before re-signing him." [PPP]

Carey Price will not have hearing for Dec. 8th's actions. [HEOTP]

In case you missed it, here's Price punching the lights out of Kyle Palmieri with his blocker. [HEOTP]

Wayne Gretzky says Sidney Crosby best in league now. "In just his second season, McDavid leads the league in points with 36. He has the Oilers in first place in the Pacific Division after they finished last in 2015-16. There's an argument to be made, for sure. But the Great One isn't having it just yet." [ESPN]

Goal output paltry -- again -- from Detroit Red Wings' Gustav Nyquist. [Detroit Free Press]

Are the Canucks intentionally tanking for Patrick Nolan? "I’ve got a fan theory for you. The theory is this: Jim Benning and Trevor Linden aren’t as bad at their jobs as they seem, and are in fact trying to tank the team against the wishes of team ownership." [Yahoo Sports]

The Down Goes Brown-Dave Lozo podcast, Biscuits, is back: When good hits go bad. [DGB]