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Quick Strikes: Ben Bishop invites his biggest fan to practice with the team

A young goalie gets to meet his favorite player, Brian Bradley tells a crazy story about the early days of the Lightning franchise, and the “French Connection” line gets some appreciation

Ben Bishop shares words of encouragement with young aspiring goalie Mike Mankowski
Fox Sports Sun

The Bolts

Saturday’s game was Heart Health Awareness night at Amalie Arena. As part of that initiative, the Lightning invited aspiring goalie and heart surgery survivor Mike Mankowski to spend some time with the Bolts. Ben Bishop was predictably adorable.

Matt Larkin of The Hockey News interviewed six players who were part of past expansion teams. Former Bolt Brian Bradley shared a very, um, unique situation. “All of a sudden, a door opens up to the back of the Fairgrounds, where the dressing rooms are. It was February, and the State Fair was going on in behind. So a guy came in, he had a corn dog, a pop and some popcorn in his hands. He said, ‘Hey is this the bathroom here?’ He walks right in the middle of the dressing room. ‘Is this the bathroom here? ‘Cause I’m at the fair, and I’ve got to go to the bathroom.’” [The Hockey News]

On-point: Rookie Point becomes Lightning's go-to shootout opener. “Cooper didn't hesitate to call on rookie center Brayden Point to take that first shot. In four previous attempts, the rookie had scored three times, and Saturday again proved that the moment is not too big for him. Point sped in and blistered a shot past Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier. The Lightning went on to win the shootout 3-2 and the game 3-2.” [Tampa Bay Times]

“January’s Thunder of the Month award goes to a line that made some difference at the beginning of the Bolts’ last road trip. It is the ‘French Connection’ line, named after two Syracuse Crunch compatriots, Gabriel Dumont and Michael Bournival, with the addition of another French-speaker, Cedric Paquette.” [Raw Charge]

The Lightning players seem to enjoy sneaking up on each other during post-game interviews. “The video bombs are so amusing because of its spontaneity — you’re not expecting anything other than a straight interview before some player decides to be silly.” [Raw Charge]

In other news, several of the prospects in the pipeline are doing very well. [Raw Charge]

The League

The St. Louis Blues are having a rough season. “They've already fired their coach, endured terrible goaltending and remain out of a playoff spot. Now the St. Louis Blues have lost Robby Fabbri.” [The Hockey News]

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones made an impressive glove save against the Arizona Coyotes.

The Washington Capitals ended LA Kings goalie Peter Budaj’s 147:21 shutout streak in formidable fashion, defeating the Kings 5-0. [Japers’ Rink]