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Quick Strikes: The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their dominance everywhere

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Podcasts! Bolts at the top of the charts! Senators about to be traded!

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Tyler Johnson’s switch to wing has let him do more of what he’s good at. Cory Conacher clicking with Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde. Forward injuries and more in Joe Smith’s Journal [Tampa Bay Times]

"It’s nice you get up in the zone a little bit more, create some speed in transitional play," Johnson said. "You’re more of a north-south, straight up and down kind of game. And playing with those guys, they’re great players, it’s a lot of fun."

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos remains at the top of the NHL All-Star Fan Vote. P.K. Subban, Alex Ovechkin, and Connor McDavid round out the list of division leaders. Oh, and to make things even better, Nikita Kucherov is second in the Atlantic Division for fan voting! [NHL dot com]

The (former) first line of Vladislav Namestnikov - Stamkos - Kucherov ranked as one of the best in the league by The Hockey News. The Lightning trio is among some pretty elite company on that list. Just kidding, they ARE the elite company. [The Hockey News]

“Add it all together and, of the lines on this list, no trio has been on the ice for more even-strength goals than Kucherov, Stamkos and Namestnikov, who have been a part of 20 for the Lightning. They’re a game-breaking trio.”

The one weak spot Tampa Bay Lightning fans thought they might have to worry about was goaltending. With Andrei Vasilevskiy, that is very much not the case anymore. [Tampa Bay Times]

"I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the league in a year or two - but he is right now," said Kucherov, the NHL’s leading goal scorer. "I feel if you can score on Vasy you can score on any goalie in the league."

Star Wars Nights everywhere! My favourite thing is looking at all the posters (which can be found in the link). Who’s was your favourite? Trust your feelings, padawan, you know the Bolts did it the best. [ESPN]

Yo, same!

The writer of the Star Wars piece also started a podcast with the ever-amicable Greg Wyshynski. I suggest checking it out! After you listen to Charged Up, and CrunchCast first, of course.

The Prospects

Speaking of CrunchCast, we have a new episode “Syracuse Crunch streak extended to nine games” for you to feast your ears on! [Raw Charge]

Baby Bolts have littered Team USA and Team Canada for this year’s World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, and the main event U20 World Juniors. [Raw Charge]

“For the World Juniors, the Lightning have four players currently attending Team Canada camp in St. Catharines, Ontario: Taylor Raddysh, Cal Foote, Boris Katchouk, and Brett Howden. Alexey Lipanov is going to be at Russian camp in Rochester, New York.”

MORE PODCASTS INCOMING! The Syracuse Sports Podcast has become a thing, with ball-hockey phenom Brent Axe leading the charge. Give them a listen! Their first episode features Syracuse head coach Benoit Groulx. [Syracuse]

The Crunch had their annual holiday party. Looks like the players crushed (or crunched) it on stage!

Need a break-down of the Syracuse Crunch’s performance the past week? They were unbelieveable. Done! Okay, fine, NHL dot com had some more stuff to say, go check them out. [NHL dot com]

Anthony Cirelli led a potent and balanced Crunch attack with seven points (3g, 4a) in three games, earning AHL Player of the Week honors.

“The 20-year-old leads the Crunch with 19 points (6g, 13a) in 25 games, placing him sixth among AHL rookies. Cirelli became the first Crunch player to win AHL Player of the Week since Vlad Namestnikov for the week ending Feb. 22, 2015.”

Painting, charity, and Reid McNeill. What more could you ask for in life?

The Baby Bolts have hit their stride as a group in their first year of professional hockey.[Syracuse]

"The chemistry is pretty good. We've known each other for, I think, three years now, going back to development camps and stuff like that,'' Cirelli said. "There's a little bit of competition I guess you could say. But we're all here trying to win.''

The Game

Things have not been going well for the Ottawa Senators.

At least that owner who likes to meddle with the team and is extremely cheap will probably sell the team soon, right? Wrong. [Ottawa Sun]

“Team owner Eugene Melnyk told Postmedia in an email on Wednesday night he wanted to set the record straight about reports his team had been sold, rumours captain Erik Karlsson is being traded and to respond to comments by former Ottawa centre Kyle Turris.”

So Karlsson to the Bolts, yeah?

Les Canadiennes of the CWHL made a blockbuster trade yesterday, acquiring elite defender Erin Ambrose from the Toronto Furies. The cost was two first-round picks, and two third round picks. Big haul for the rebuilding Furies, if you ask me. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

Watch this and tell me hockey players aren’t robots. You can’t.

Now is it better than this? Tough to say. One was a whole team, the other is opponents, which adds a whole new level of difficulty.

[SB Nation]

Why is Mathew Barzal such a “video-game” player? Lighthouse Hockey investigates. [Lighthouse Hockey]

“In fact, the Islanders are scoring the second-most goals-per-game (3.5) in the entire league right now. This prolific offensive output can partly be attributed to improved production from the team’s best players. But the single-most important factor behind the Islanders’ improvement this season has been the impact of their dynamic rookie, Mat Barzal.”

Highlight of the Night: I’m gritting my teeth as i say this, but Brad - ugh - Marchand made some pretty gross - i mean this in both ways - plays last night.

The game tying goal: [Reddit]

The OT winner: [Reddit]