The Tampa Bay Lightning flew north to shut down the high-flying offense of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2-0 win. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 29 shots he faced for his league-leading sixth shut-out of the season. [Raw Charge]
“Vasy was locked in. He knew exactly where the puck was at all times and he kept it out of his net with sheer determination. The only thing that rivals his talent is his competitive spirit. This is a guy who gives 200% every night and takes goals against as a personal affront.”
“Oh, what a win, gents!” - Dan Girardi
Cedric Paquette had his first goal in 349 days and it was the eventual game-winner against the Leafs. Throw that monkey, Ceddy!
Paquette evicts the monkey from his back. pic.twitter.com/OKIU6xshrc— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 3, 2018
20 points in 13 games earned Nikita Kucherov third star of the month honors in the NHL for December. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee took home the first and second stars, respetively. [NHL dot com]
“Kucherov posted an NHL-best 1.54 points per game, totaling 8-12-20 in 13 outings to power the League-leading Lightning (28-8-2, 58 points) to an 11-2-0 month. He found the scoresheet in all but one of his 13 December appearances, closing the month on a 10-game run (6-10-16).”
Vincent Lecavalier has been named the Grand Marshal for 2018 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. [NHL dot com]
"I am honored and grateful to Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla for selecting me to be the Grand Marshal of the 2018 Pirate Fest and Parade, especially at a time when the Lightning will be hosting the All-Star Game in our community," said Lecavalier. "Tampa Bay is a special place with great traditions and the Lightning and Gasparilla are two of them. I look forward to representing both with pride in the parade."
Team Canada eventually beat Switzerland handily to advance to the World Juniors semi-finals. Here’s the preview for that game, including a prospect update on the four Lightning draft picks on the team. [Raw Charge]
“Taylor Raddysh is in a five-way tie for first in scoring for Canada, with two goals and two assists. He’s getting a lot of highlight time with his goals and set ups
“Brett Howden has two goals for Canada in the tournament so far, both against Denmark and was named player of the game for Canada after that performance.”
Howden would get his third of the tournament in the game against Switzerland, and boy, was it a beauty. Howden would add three assists, his four-point night the best of all players.
Raddysh and Boris Katchouk would each notch an assist for Canada, who would go on to win 8-2. [TSN dot ca]
“It didn't take long for Canada to open the scoring. Comtois had a breakaway and pulled off to the right wing, feeding a streaking Howden who put it past Wuthrich just 48 seconds into the game.”
Canada’s win: not a shocker.
Now that the quarter-finals are complete, we know that there will be a Tampa Bay Lightning prospet participating in the final game. Raddysh, Katchouk, Raddysh, and Cal Foote will go up against Libor Hajek and his Czech Republic squad.
Speaking of Hajek, the young Czech defenseman earned himself an assist in his country’s big win over Finland in the quarters. The team’s top defenseman also played half the game. [Bolt Prospects]
“Hajek played 30:46, four minutes more than any other player in the game, and notched a power play assist in the Czech Republic’s come-from-behind shootout victory over the Finnish squad 4-3. The Czechs will play in the tourney’s semifinals on Thursday against Canada, who dominated the Swiss in quarterfinal play.”
The Syracuse Crunch played three games last week. They also won three games last week. Connor Ingram earning his second career shutout in one of those wins. [Syracuse Crunch]
“Goaltender Connor Ingram made the final two starts of Week 13 after Louis Domingue was recalled to Tampa Bay. Ingram, 20, earned wins in both games and finished the week with his second career shutout, a 29-save effort in Binghamton. For the week, he made 44 saves on 46 shots, a .957 save percentage, plus turned aside eight of 11 shootout bids Saturday.”
When you’re just that good.
Jordan Kyrou has a hilarious reaction after scoring with Drake Batherson’s stick pic.twitter.com/M95H4yrbNz— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 2, 2018
Alex Ovechkin has 100 game-winning goals... AT AGE 32!! He is the fastest to do so IN THE HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. For comparison, Phil Esposito has 717 career goals, 1590 career points, and 118 game-winning goals. He reached 100 when he was 34 and, if my quick maths is correct, is now the second fastest after the Great 8. [SB Nation]
Highlight of the Night: It has to be this living legends 100th NHL GWG.
We’re not done the QS just yet. We haven’t gotten to how bad the Edmonton Oilers are!
“The Edmonton Oilers lost 5-0 at home.”
“No, that was Saturday night’s headline. What was the score this time?”
“The Edmonton Oilers lost 5-0 at home.”
For a team with Connor McDavid it is astoundingly impressive that the Oilers have been shutout for 121:45 consecutive minutes.
Oilers haven't scored in 121:45 now, following their 2nd straight 5-0 loss.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 3, 2018
Is their season over? A lot of people seem to think so. [Edmonton Sun]
“Stick the fork in them. They’re done.
Bring in the opera singer. It’s time for the fat lady to sing.
And while you are at it, stick the fork in Conner McDavid because his Hart Trophy hopes are probably done, too.”
“In 39 games, No. 1 center Anze Kopitar has 28 even-strength points (14 goals, 14 assists). Last season, he scored only seven 5-on-5 goals and added 25 assists in 76 games. Kopitar is on pace to reach totals much closer to his best seasons when he scored 50 even-strength points in 2011-12 and 44 two seasons ago.”