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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay’s top prospects look for hardware today in Buffalo

and Joe Thornton got a shave

Czech Republic v Canada: Semifinals - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship
Jakub Skarek #1 of Czech Republic eyes a rebound off the stick of Taylor Raddysh #16 of Canada during the third period of play in the IIHF World Junior Championships Semifinal game at KeyBank Center on January 4, 2018 in Buffalo, New York.
Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

The Bolts

Carey Price stood on his head (literally) for the Montreal Canadiens, giving them a 2-1 win in the shootout over Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning. [Raw Charge]

“Sometimes overtime periods can be a bit boring until they aren’t. This one started off with some excitement. The Canadiens controlled the puck early until Johnson and Palat went on a two-on-one rush. Johnson took a shot that Price made the initial save on. Price was off balance and sprawling around on the ice. Palat was all alone in front of the net and a wide open cage and he hit Price’s pad while he was prone on the ice!”

Steven Stamkos is back, but he will never be the same. [Raw Charge]

“I’ve been fortunate to get off to a great start with some of the teammates I’ve played with. Obviously the team has had a ton of success, so it’s just been fun honestly to be back out there playing with the guys and helping out.”

In his interview with Sportsnet, Stammer also spoke about the All-Star Game in Tampa Bay this year.

“It’s gonna be crazy. It’s like the Mardi Gras of Tampa. It’s the pirate invasion. It’s gonna be a great time for everyone. I think when we knew we were going to have the All-Star Game and have it surrounded by Gasparilla - I don’t want to give away all the secrets, but it’s gonna be a really fun time and there’s gonna be a lot to do.”

Stamkos also said that being named captain of the Atlantic Division for the All-Star Game makes the experience that much more special. [Tampa Bay Times]

“It’s going to be a great showcase of a hockey city. And I’m sure I’m going to have a couple teammates there as well. Probably deserves to be more, but with the format, we’ll see what happens.”

Halfway through the season, how are the Lightning doing? The fun edition. [NHL dot com]

“I’ve heard Lightning head coach Jon Cooper explain his gum-chewing ritual a few times, so I’ll rehash it here. When he first started coaching, Cooper claims he would open a piece of Bazooka Joe on the bench before the start of the game, read the joke and then ball up the wrapper and throw it at his backup goaltender in a lighthearted way.” - Bryan Burns

Mikhail Sergachev leading all rookie defensemen in points, Yanni Gourde sixth among rookie forwards.

The Prospects

@ElSeldo and Scott Matla from Habs Eye on the Prize team up to give us a Final Four preview of the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects including interviews with Czech Republic’s Libor Hajek as well as Canada’s Cal Foote and Taylor Raddysh. [Raw Charge]

“Hajek: Yeah, I think the first period when we scored a goal, it was like, YEAAAAH, and it feels better. We talked in the dressing room between periods that we have to play better, and the coaches also helped.”

The Semi-finals concluded and Canada vs. Sweden will be the gold medal game, with USA vs. Czech Republic fighting for bronze. Here is a recap of the Canada vs. Czech game. [Habs Eye on the Prize]

“After coming close all game, Comtois finally found the back of the net off a quick passing play by Brett Howden. Howden took the puck behind the net, with Comtois cutting in front, a quick pass gave Korenar no chance to react and Comtois tallied their fourth goal of the game.”

After Canada’s 7-2 victory, Hajek was, deservedly, named one of his country’s best players of the tournament.

He’s too old for the World Juniors, but I don’t think Matthew Peca will mind because he is headed to the AHL’s All-Star Game in Utica! [Syracuse]

“Peca, 24, has appeared in all 33 games with the Crunch this season. He paces the team in both points (26) and assists (19). He also leads the team with seven multi-point performances, including two three-point games, and is tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.”

The Game

Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton care A LOT about faceoffs, so it’s no surprised they literally fought over it right at the start of the Leafs vs. Sharks game.

Now, you see, Lou Lamoriello has a rule on his Toronto Maple Leafs team that no one is allowed to grow facial hair. Nazem Kadri took that philosophy to a whole new level when he RIPPED OUT A CHUNK OF JOE THORNTON’S HAIR!

Kadri either really wants Joe on his team, or is really jealous that he isn’t allowed to grow a beard like that. Full story at Sportsnet.

IIHF president Rene Fasel has made it clear that he wants the NHL to be at the 2022 Winter Olympics. [The Hockey News]

“To have the best on best in the Olympics in Beijing, this is my mission to do it, to make this happen, but the problem is dollars,” Fasel said, rubbing his fingers together. “The answer is (in collective bargaining). How big will the pressure be from the (NHL)PA? I would say the solution is in the hands of the players because without the players, what do we do? If they want to come to the Games, they have to say so.”

Highlight of the Night: underrated player of the year “Swedish” Sebastian Aho took on two Pittsburgh Penguins defenders and Matt Murray... And beat them all.