The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t play their best game against the Montreal Canadiens but it was enough to get the job done. Steven Stamkos lead the way with two goals and Brayden Point got the third in the 3-1 win. Shoutout to Matthew Esteves for filling the Star Wars quota at the site. [Raw Charge]
“Look, I get it. Drouin never really wanted to be in Tampa Bay. He had his issues with the organization and he made mistakes. Mistakes he was disciplined for. A lot of people were trying to hype of this matchup as Drouin v Sergachev, Episode I.”
Jonathan Drouin scored 34 goals for the Lightning in his 164 regular season and 23 post-season games with the club. Let’s look at every single one of them because why the heck not! [Raw Charge]
“33. 12-15-2014 vs. Pittsburgh- A goal Dave Andreychuk would be proud of. Drouin establishes position in front of the net and bangs home a rebound. Not the prettiest goal, but effective.”
Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are international superstars on their own but the fact that they play together its something our measly muggle brains can’t comprehend. [Deadspin]
Drouin spoke after his teams loss about the reception he recieved from the Tampa Bay faithful. [Tampa Bay Times]
"It was very nice," Drouin said of the fan reaction. "These fans and this community was always nice to me. Even after the trade request (he made in the 2015-16 season), when I came back (from a subsequent suspension), they were great. I have nothing to say but good things for this place."
The morning skate saw Ryan Callahan return to the ice (in a red non-contact jersey) whereas the pre-game skate saw Anton Stralman not make it to the ice after suffering a “lower-body” injury.
Ryan Callahan taking part in #TBLightning morning skate today wearing a red non-contact jersey— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) December 28, 2017
Shane Conacher has been returned to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. In a corresponding move the Thunder have released Justin MacDonald from his contract. MacDonald appeared in 5 games and did not record a point. [Post Star]
“Conacher, 23, has played in 22 games for the Thunder this season, earning 21 points on four goals and 17 assists. He also has appeared in three games with the Crunch.”
The baby Bolts of Canada took in the sights of New Era Field the day before Canada plays the United States in their outdoor round-robin game at the World Juniors. The kids made sure to take pictures!
Cal Foote with captain Dillon Dube
If you say Boris Katchouk’s instagram handle in the right way it sounds like Pikach-ouk.
The Bolts boys sticking together!
And I would have a picture from Brett Howden but he stole Taylor Raddysh’s picture. I will not forget this lack of hustle, Brettward.
Libor Hajek was easily the Czech Republic’s best player in their loss to Sweden. He earned the player of the game for his efforts.
Greg Wyshynski ranked the 10 best people on twitter in 2017. Qualifications ranged from nation-wide inside jokes to cancer to standing up for what you believe in even when no one else will. [ESPN]
4. J.T. Brown
“There was no avoiding the collision between sports and politics in 2017, as much as we all tried to leap out of the way.
“Like Colin Kaepernick, Brown said he was inspired to action after speaking with active military about the right to protest and the right way to protest. Also like Kaepernick, Brown said he faced racial slurs and death threats for his actions.”
Did the Bolts end Montreal’s season? Some think that this game was the indicator that Marc Bergevin should throw this season in the trash and look forward to next year (whatever that will be). [Sportsnet]
“Captain Max Pacioretty, who came into the game with zero goals in his last 10 and one in his last 19, recorded one measly shot on net. Second leading goal scorer Paul Byron failed to record one. And Tomas Plekanec, who came into the action with one goal in his last 23 games, didn’t even register an attempt.”
This poor ice crew memeber in Buffalo wasn’t noticed by the Czech players who came out into the ice for the pre-game skate before their game against Sweden and started shooting pucks at the net. [SB Nation]
On the day Kris Letang, Matt Murray, Bryan Rust, and Chad Ruhwedel all hit the IR it came out that Letang has definitely been in trade talks with Jim Rutherford. Pensburgh asks: is trading their top defenseman the right move for the Pittsburgh Penguins? [Pensburgh]
“Letang is the Pens leader in Corsi, Relative Corsi, ice-time, assists and probably any other meaningful category. He’s turned the puck over too much, but is also 8 months removed from a major neck surgery and trying to adjust his game to take less abuse and be more available.”
Highlight of the Night: Thomas Vanek continues the disrespect trend that has been the HotN lately. Not only does he go inside-out on the defender, but then does it to the goaltender too! Brock Boeser has scored a lot of difficult goals this year and this was definitely not one of them.