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Quick Strikes: Bolts’ Nikita Kucherov topped NHL in goals, points in 2017

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And do the Tampa Bay Lightning already own the 2018 Atlantic Division banner?

NHL: DEC 29 Flyers at Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) in the second period of the NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning on December 29, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bolts

2017 was a very very very good year for Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov. Most goals, most points, and the only other player to hit 100 points was Connor McDavid (in two more games).

Charged Up: A Raw Charge Podcast is back for another episode! Saima joins Matthew Esteves to talk about the roller coaster December the team had. [Raw Charge]

The Tampa Bay Lightning have all but secured the Atlantic Division crown barely a day into 2018. They are also Down Goes Brown’s cup favourite. [Sportsnet]

“The Tampa Bay Lightning are the league’s best team, and are holding a 10-point lead for first place in the division. That’s not insurmountable, but it’s pretty darn comfortable, especially when every other division is within three points. We can already pencil the Lightning in for the division’s top seed.”

The internet got J.T. Brown to rage-quit while playing live on Twitch! It’s okay Brownie, it happens to us all. For example, I quit January 1st after sleeping in all day!

The Tampa Bay Lightning rang in the new year with a 5-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tyler Johnson scored his 100th goal of his NHL career, all of his goals coming as a member of the Lightning. They fly north of the border to play the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. [Raw Charge]

Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be an absolute wall, earning his league-leading fifth shutout of the season. He’s exceedingly comfortable in his role as starting goaltender. I know we’ve gotten used to his immense talent, but he deserves special recognition.”

Personally, I’d use one of Raw Charge’s monthly schedules but these are okay too.

The Prospects

Crowning the 20 celebrations of 2017 for the Syracuse Crunch compiled by the captivating Crunch Cast crew! [Raw Charge]

11. Crunch win in double overtime against the St. John’s Ice Caps in game 2 of the North Division semifinals, April 22nd, 2017. [YouTube]

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Syracuse Crunch are a match made in hockey heaven.

Come play some Texas Hold’em with the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, January 3rd!

The Game

Declan Farmer has been named to the United States’ Men’s Sledge Hockey team for the 2018 Paralympics. USA’s new alternate captain is a former forward of the Tampa Bay Lightning Sledge Hockey Club. Go to Achariya’s twitter feed for everything you need to know about Declan and the team! [Raw Charge]

“In Sochi, Farmer was Team USA's leading scorer, with 3G/2A for 5 points. His two goals against Canada in the elimination game leading to the gold medal match enabled Team USA to play against Russia for the gold. Due to his play, Farmer was awarded ESPN's ESPY for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.”

ESPN’s NHL year in photos takes you through the year that had legends of the past, present, and future plaster themselves to the front pages of every newspaper, blog, and twitter feed. [ESPN]

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns won the Norris Trophy in 2017, beating out the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson and Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman.
ESPN and Getty Images

AHL Milwaukee Admirals forward Bobby Butler tells his father that he made the USA’s Olympic roster and their moment was something to behold. [SB Nation]

Here is the full roster that was announced yesterday. [SB Nation]

Brian Gionta, James Wisniewski, and World Juniors legend Troy Terry lead Team USA’s men’s hockey roster for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The team was revealed Monday afternoon during intermission of the Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers.”

Highlight of the Night: I don’t know who Paul Carey is but every time the camera panned to him in this clip he was screaming so he gets my vote for the best moment in a Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers that was, frankly, very pedestrian.