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Quick Strikes: Chris Kunitz and Tampa Bay Lightning ready to face Pittsburgh Penguins

An analytics breakdown of the Bolts, Brian Boyle’s fight, and The Yak is Back

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) handles the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) during the first period. Mar 3, 2017
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

@GeoFitz4 breaks down the Tampa Bay Lightning’s play using statistics, and finds that the numbers are telling a different, more cautionary, story. “The Point line has gotten a lot of praise, especially after scoring two even strength goals in the season opener against the Panthers. Even in a game where the Lightning controlled over 60% of the shot share against the Capitals, the Point line got caved in much of the game.” [Raw Charge]

Chris Kunitz will be facing off against his former team, the team he won three Stanley Cups with, for the first time today. "If you're the defending Cup champions you expect the test and they are always wanting to show their skill to test themselves against the best. And then when you're on the other side you're always saying 'this is our chance to test ourselves against the best'." [NHL dot com]

The Lightning have one of the most key aspects of a winning team, deep forward lines who can score. [NHL dot com]

"For us as a team to have depth scoring, it's not just Kuch or Stammer or the usual suspects that score every goal, to have Pointer, (Tyler) Johnson, (Ondrej) Palat, everyone scoring, it's huge for us. (Chris) Kunitz scored his first one. Vlad (Namestnikov's) got a couple. Him playing with Kuch and Stammer, we saw last year before Stammer went down, how deadly they were. It's fun to see a lot of guys contributing, and not just on the scoring sheet but with the way they play too. To be able to put the puck in the net and have that throughout all four lines is deadly." -Victor Hedman

The Prospects

The work ethic of young Erik Cernak has impressed Benoit Groulx and his coaching staff in Syracuse. Strong skater. Big body. Good shot. “He’s got a lot of qualities as a person and a player, and he’s probably one of the hardest working guys we have here. That’s a compliment, because we have many guys that are working hard.” [Auburn Pub]

2016 2nd rounder Boris Katchouk scored for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in their 6-3 victory over the Saginaw Spirit. “Sault Ste. Marie went 2 for 7 on the power play while Saginaw scored once on seven chances with the man advantage.” [TSN]

Check out Michael Leighton’s new goalie mask! Defend the Wall!

Winter is here.

A post shared by Syracuse Crunch (@syracusecrunch) on

The Game

Brian Boyle is not the first to play hockey and fight cancer at the same time. Some of the other survivors share their experiences and some advise in the article below. “When I found out I had a tumor, it’s scary. It’s a scary word. Every situation’s different. There are different stages, and mine was really harmless and easy to take out. … The more we found out about it, the less scary it was for me. I was lucky with that.” - Olli Maatta [CBS New York]

Highlight of the Night: Todays HotN is a brought to you by the Barcelona FC of the NHL... The New Jersey Devils?? Forreal, Marcus Johansson and “19-year-old Devils rookie and 2016 6th-round pick” Jesper Bratt team up to give Pavel Zacha a wide open chance in front of the net. This is puck-moving hockey at its finest. Where were the Maple Leafs defenders on the play? I’ll never know. [Reddit]

The Yak is Back. Nail Yakupov gives the Colorado Avalanches a 2-1 lead over the Boston Bruins with a one-time snipe off a feed from Nathan MacKinnon. Just look at Yak’s reaction after he scored, he knows he’s back. [Mile High Hockey] [Reddit]

Being the penalty box official in the OHL was my first job in hockey, glad to see nothing is different the higher up you go. Full disclosure, I too would walk up and down the penalty box fixing the towels, ice-packs, and gatorade bottles. There was a lot of down time, okay! Also, I’m still trying to confirm whether he is a robot or not... maybe that’s why I never got called up. [Reddit]