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Quick Strikes: Nikita Kucherov leads the league in power play goals

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins, Kucherov continued his dominant season, and several prospects geared up for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

The Bolts

Nikita Kucherov’s hat-trick powers the Lightning past the Bruins. “The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 6-3. By winning in regulation, the Lightning gain traction in their race to make the playoffs while also keeping points away from a divisional rival. The Lightning trail the Bruins by the 3 points for the second wild card spot.” [Raw Charge]

Two of Kucherov’s goals last night came on the man advantage, giving him a league-leading 17 power play goals on the season.

“Jonathan Drouin's celebration said it all. After the wing's go-ahead goal in Thursday's third period snapped a 13-game drought, he let out a huge yell and a fist pump. Then he reached over one shoulder to emphatically remove a metaphoric weight. ‘A monkey off my back,’ he said.” [Tampa Bay Times]

With an injury to Jason Garrison last night, is it possible that the Lightning will recall Slater Koekkoek? “I’m sorry to burst everyone’s bubble. Slater Koekkoek will not be getting a recall phone call. And the simple reason is, the Lightning can’t recall him.” [Raw Charge]

Anton Stralman, Braydon Coburn, and Ryan Callahan recently visited Lowry Park Zoo with their families. It was adorable, as expected.

The Game

Junior hockey playoffs started last night. The Erie Otters traded for Lightning prospect Anthony Cirelli earlier this season, believing his leadership and experience would be incredibly valuable. “When the Otters face tough challenges, when they face adversity come playoff time, they know who they can rely on. He’s overcome adversity before; he’s overcome staggering odds; and he’s won what the Otters are so desperate for: a Memorial Cup.” [Otters Hockey]

The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship playoffs begin this weekend. Lightning prospect Ryan Lohin is proving to be a valuable player in his freshman year at UMass-Lowell. “Over the course of the season, Lohin has quietly established himself as a do-it-all center. The native of Chadds Ford, Penn. leads the River Hawks' young guns in goals (10) and points (26).” [Lowell Sun]

“Senators defenseman Marc Methot had to leave Ottawa’s game against the Penguins in the first period thanks to a slash from Sidney Crosby. Where did it get him? Right on the hand, tearing part of his fingertip off in the process.” [SB Nation]

Our own ElSeldo wrote an impassioned editorial about the OHL. The OHL Playoff structure is hurting the best teams. "Last summer I wrote about how the OHL needs to change it’s conference/playoff structure." [Bloggers Tribune]