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Quick Strikes: Brayden Point wins the Gordie Howe Hat-trick badge

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and is Mikhail Sergachev an Avenger, Muppet, or Jedi?

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Arizona Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) fight during the third period at Gila River Arena. 
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Arizona Coyotes put up a good fight but the Tampa Bay Lightning ultimately had their way. [Raw Charge]

“Vasilevskiy didn’t have much work to do but on the rare occasions that Arizona was able to get to dangerous spots, the Lightning goalie did his part to maintain the lead. The Lightning were solid in their own zone for most of the night, which helped to their goaltender.”

The Lightning didn’t leave their game against Arizona unscathed, unfortunately. Ryan Callahan fell very hard and very awkwardly with Oliver Ekman-Larsson behind the Arizona net. Cally left the game immediately and did not return. Bummer. [Tampa Bay Times]

"You feel so bad for him," Victor Hedman said. "He's battled hard through the whole year, and is such an important player for us."

“With Callahan out, the Lightning still has an extra forward – J.T. Brown was a healthy scratch Thursday. If Tampa Bay decides to make a callup, betting someone like Adam Erne gets the nod. Erne, a power forward fit for the bottom six, has got rave reviews from AHL Syracuse brass recently, as has Anthony Cirelli.”

Goal, assist, fight. Brayden Point unlocked another NHL achievement already in his young career with a Gordie Howe Hat-trick after a fight with Brad Richardson.

The Bolts are on a roll and the numbers after another set of 10 games have no reason to tell us things won’t stay that way. [Raw Charge]

“That lucky shirt we wear every game? It’s working. We should keep wearing it. Keep washing it exactly as often as we have been. We drink the same beverages in the same order during every game? That’s working too. Keep doing that. We take our dogs out during the same timeouts every game? Hey, they might have to wait a few minutes to pee but everyone has to make sacrifices here. We shouldn’t change our schedule for any reason. At all.”

Mikhail Sergachev just can’t stop improving and the coaching staff has taken notice. [Tampa Bay Times]

“[Stardom] could come sooner than later for Sergachev, 19, who has earned more trust and minutes from coaches, flourishing in a larger role. Sergachev logged a career-high 21 minutes, 30 seconds Tuesday against the best-in-the-west Blues, after playing 19:23 against Winnipeg.”

Adorableness aside, if Sergy signed with Disney, would he be an Avenger or Jedi?

The Prospects

As one of only two Bolts prospects still in the CHL, Alexey Lipanov showed off his playmaking skill, notching three assists in Barrie’s 6-4 win over the Owen Sound Attack on Thursday. [Bolt Prospects]

“Consensus #2 ranked 2018 draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov fired a hat trick for the Colts, and Lipanov tallied three assists as Barrie mounted a third period rally from a 4-3 deficit to hand the Attack the 6-4 loss. Lipanov notched assists on Justin Murray’s (undrafted) opening goal, Aaron Luchuk’s (undrafted) 3-2 go-ahead marker, and finally on Svechnikov’s game-winner.”

On the international stage, Lightning prospects Nick Perbix and Cole Guttman help Team USA make their way to the World Juniors A Challenge Finals against Canada West. [Bolt Prospects]

“The USA U19 team got two goals from Tyler Madden (2018 draft eligible, Northeastern commit) as the Americans blanked the Russia U18 squad 5-0 to advance to Saturday’s gold medal championship game. Jake Kucharski (2018 draft eligible, Providence commit) stopped 21 shots for the shutout, Jack Dugan (VGK 2017 5th round pick, Providence commit) notched a goal and an assist, and Alex Steeves (undrafted, Notre Dame commit) added a pair of assists.”

The Syracuse Crunch have been so dominant that they can still score goals even when they play with four skaters to the opponents five (also known as a penalty kill. [Syracuse]

“Syracuse leads the AHL with eight shorties, three from Bournival. During its winning streak the Crunch has potted five man-down goals, more than all but two other AHL teams have managed during the entire season to date.”

More good news on the injury front. Dennis Yan and Erik Condra both in attendance at Crunch practice yesterday.

The Syracuse Crunch are doing a Secret Santa Gift Wish Drive in collaboration with Hillside Family of Agencies. Let’s help them get as many toys as they can carry before December 15th! [Syracuse Crunch]

“Prior to the Hillside Family of Agencies Special Santa Gift Wish Drive on Dec. 15, Crunch players will go on their annual Special Santas Shopping Spree. Players will team up with Hillside youth and staff members to load shopping carts full of presents to donate to the Special Santa program. Items purchased during the shopping spree will be included in the items collected at the Dec. 15 game against Providence.”

The Game

Amid all the winning the Tampa Bay Lightning are doing, its hard to keep track of all of the injuries and moves going around the NHL. Thankfully, ESPN gave us a status update for all 31 teams. [ESPN]

“As we enter late December, NHL trade talks are starting to heat up, with each team's trading block starting to populate. Let's take a look through the NHL, identifying some potential trade candidates, along with the fantasy spin of any hypothetical moves, and evaluating some line changes on multiple clubs.”

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is on the haut-est of hot seats and the next move he makes will define the oldest club in the NHL for years to come. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

“At present, this team has definite pieces to build around. Carey Price will be a cornerstone for the next eight years. He is not going anywhere. So if you have committed to Price, you aren’t going to go through a rebuild.”

Marc-Andre Fleury has finally returned from injury and in his first game, he stood on his head against the only team he ever knew before moving to Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins. [SB Nation]

And for reference, Game 7:

David Leggio. You may not remember the name but hes the goalie that did this:

In response to this hilariously legal play, the German Hockey League has made the “David Leggio Rule”, officially closing the loophole. [SB Nation]

“Now instead of being awarded a penalty shot for the net being knocked over, which follows the current IIHF rules, the opposing team will be awarded a goal. It’s fair to say that removes any reason for a player in Leggio’s position to do what he did going forward.”

Highlight of the Night: Ian Cole finishes off a very creative passing play by shooting the puck from literally the goal line into the top corner of Vegas’ net. HOW DO YOU EVEN HIT THAT ANGLE? THAT’S AMAZING!

Honourable mention: Alex Ovechkin is playing billiards while everyone else is only playing hockey.