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Quick Strikes: Kucherov’s Russian reign

Hats fall on the ice at Amalie last night for Nikita Kucherov’s natural hat trick.

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 and Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the win against the Ottawa Senators at Amalie Arena on February 27, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mark LoMoglio / Contributor, Getty Images

ICYMI

We wrote SO MANY things yesterday. Just in case you missed something, here’s what we published at Raw Charge.

Nikita Kucherov powers Lightning to 5-1 win over Senators -- comment for a chance to win some Upper Deck cards!

Watch: Nikita Kucherov’s natural hat trick in second period

2017 NHL Trade Deadline: Lightning send Brian Boyle to Toronto Maple Leafs

The Tampa Bay Lightning claim Greg McKegg off waivers

Peter Budaj will be missed: Hello from the other side...of the trade

Our favorite Ben Bishop moments as a member of the Lightning

91 Days of Stamkos: Day 57, Stamkos is not a friend to goaltenders

The Bolts

Kucherov hat trick leads Lightning past Senators. 'Nikita Kucherov spent a good chunk of Monday's optional skate ripping one-timers from the right circle. "He loves that shot," wing Jonathan Drouin said. "That's his favorite shot. I've seen him practice that a lot."' [Tampa Bay Times]

As he offers a good bye, Ben Bishop says Lightning in good hands with Vasilevskiy. "Before Bishop suited up for his first game with the Los Angeles Kings, he granted an exclusive interview with LightningInsider.com and had a special message for a Tampa Bay hockey community that welcomed him like a neighbor, to a community he calls a friend." [Lightning Insider, subscription content]

Time for Vasilevskiy to prove he can be Lightning's No. 1 goalie. "We as players have a tremendous amount of belief and trust in him and his abilities," defenseman Anton Stralman said. [Tampa Bay Times]

Jones: Lightning season feels over, but that's okay as long as focus on future. "Ultimately, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup, whether that is this year or next year or beyond, our goal is to do that,'' Yzerman said. "I want to make the playoffs. We're going to do everything we can to make the playoffs. But I'm going to make my decisions on what gives us the best chance of winning a Stanley Cup, whether that's now, a year from now or two years from now.'' [Tampa Bay Times]

Filppula remains in play for the Bolts. "Trade talks involving Filppula are believed to have increased, TFP has learned, as the trade deadline quickly approaches." [The Fourth Period]

Tampa Bay Lightning: Brian Boyle, Ben Bishop Trades Send Wrong Message. "Simply put, both players were veterans that weren’t afraid to speak up and demand change when the Lightning needed it most. Neither was the captain or alternate captain, but in a season where both Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan have been injured for a good chunk of time Boyle and Bishop kept the team afloat." [Inscriber Magazine]

Happy Steven Stamkos news looking forward, he was on the ice for optional skate yesterday:

The League

Kings get Ben Bishop from Tampa Bay in exchange for Peter Budaj. "And while that doesn’t address the team’s sagging offense, it does give the Kings arguably the NHL’s best goalie tandem for the final 21-game push for the playoffs." [The LA Times]

Toronto Maple Leafs address centre-ice depth, acquire Brian Boyle from Tampa Bay Lightning. "Boyle is huge at six foot six and 244 pounds – a big plus for the head coach – and he’s capable in the faceoff circle, winning 53 per cent of his draws this year, including 50 per cent on the penalty kill. The 32-year-old will likely be trusted to take not only shorthanded faceoffs, but key defensive zone draws, both areas of instability for Toronto this season." [Canadian Press]

Leafs acquire Boyle from Lightning. “It’s definitely a feeling I haven’t had as a player before this,” Boyle said. “It’s a lot of different things. Do I start packing a bag? Do I take a shower? It’s a great opportunity. I moved up in the standings in the matter of a couple hours and it’s exciting for me.” [TSN]