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Quick Strikes: NHL All-Star Weekend begins in Tampa Bay

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Tonight, right after the NHL All-Star concert at Curtis Hixon Park, walk around the corner and talk hockey with Raw Charge and one of the best podcasters in the sport.

Photo by Tampa Bay Lightning VP of Marketing, Eric Blankenship

All-Star Weekend

Amalie Arena and the Tampa Bay Lightning are all ready to play host to the league’s best players! Eric Blankenship, Bolts’ VP of Marketing, took our top photo early this morning to show the lovely new wrap that our arena has in honor of the event.

We’re having a relaxed hockey gathering tonight at Fly Bar’s rooftop after the All-Star Game opening concert! It’ll start at 9 and end whenever. Come chat with Raw Charge staff and Greg Wyshynski about all things Tampa Bay Lightning and hockey. (Ask Greg about his WWE experience last week.) [Raw Charge]

Need a refresher on what happens when? We’ve got you covered. Raw Charge’s Guide to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. “With the NHL opting out of the Olympics this season, that means the All-Star game is on. Why spend two weeks in Pyeongchang when you can spend a long weekend in Tampa?” [Raw Charge]

Something that would get anyone excited, seeing this awesome guy again:

Hmmm. What do you guys think?

The Bolts

Last night’s game was a return to the Lightning we like to see. Lightning defeat Flyers 5-1 to secure NHL-best record going into All-Star Weekend: “Though the Bolts didn’t command the game entirely, it was a somewhat surprising performance for a team that has seemed a little gassed recently. The win does give the team a three-win streak going into the break, but some questions remain about the lineup. Call-ups Matthew Peca and Michael Bournival played well tonight in place of some recent Lightning injuries.” [Raw Charge]

Lightning 5, Flyers 1: 10 things we learned from a bumpy end to the pre-All Star break schedule. “Yet the Lightning still utterly torched the Flyers on the scoreboard. That’s because they possess two things that Philadelphia lacks: game-breaking skill up-and-down their lineup and a high-end netminder. Finishing talent and puck-stopping talent can take a team a long way even if it doesn’t drive play, yet the Lightning do that as well on a regular basis.” [Paid content: The Athletic]

Burns: 3 things we learned from a third-straight win -- “But here’s another reason to get downright giddy: the Lightning have plenty of young, talented players breaking their way in the lineup, ensuring the team should remain a contender for the foreseeable future.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Aw, kid, please stop worrying. Even Jonathan Drouin was benched his first season. Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev contrite about ‘huge mistake’: “I think it’s impressive at (Sergachev’s) age that he’s in the National Hockey League,” coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. At the end of the year, he’s going to have a lot more games in the lineup than out. It never hurts to take a step back, watch and learn. He’s a really, really talented player and has got a long future in this league.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Lightning top Flyers. “It started this night in net. Andrei Vasilevskiy was brilliant again, racking up 36 saves in a return to the site of his NHL debut. Vasilevskiy was at his best in the first period, thwarting a few odd-man rushes, including stoning the Flyers’ Travis Konecny on a breakaway.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Lightning, Golden Knights enter All-Star Break atop Stanley Cup odds. “The Lightning have been a model of consistency since opening the season as a +1000 bet on the NHL futures, suffering consecutive losses just once through their first 39 outings before struggling through a bumpy 2-4-1 run earlier this month, but ride a three-game win streak following Thursday’s 5-1 win in Philadelphia as -114 favourites.” [Sportsnet]

The Prospects

Syracuse Crunch forward added as replacement for AHL All-Star Classic. “The AHL announced that Crunch center Mitchell Stephens has been added to the North Division roster for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic to be held Sunday and Monday in Utica.” [Syracuse.com]

Rocket vs. Crunch recap & highlights: Laval stumbles in front of the Montreal brass. “With many of those in chage of personnel for the Montreal Canadiens in attendance, including Marc Bergevin, Claude Julien, Trevor Timmins and many of the team’s scouts, it was a start to forget for the Rocket. The Crunch hemmed Laval in their defensive zone for most of the opening four minutes of the game, while not surrendering a single shot against.” Good. [HEOTP]

Read this if you read nothing else

Marc Savard, a game in January and the beginning of a life of loving hockey. “When Marc Savard formally announced his retirement earlier this week, a small piece of my love for hockey died.” [SCOC]