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Quick Strikes: Jon Cooper named coach for Atlantic in NHL All-Star Game

Cooper earns the honor by having the best record in the division heading into January.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Congrats to Tampa Bay Lightning Coach Jon Cooper for earning his first NHL All-Star nod. “Jon Cooper named Atlantic Division coach for 2018 NHL All-Star Game: Cooper’s Lightning (.744, 29-9-3) posted the top points percentage in the Atlantic Division through games of Saturday, while Laviolette’s Predators (.659, 24-11-6), Trotz’ Capitals (.646, 25-13-3) and Gallant’s Golden Knights (.725, 28-10-2) similarly wrapped up the highest points percentages in the Central, Metropolitan and Pacific Divisions, respectively.” [NHL.com] [Tampa Bay Times]

Last season we had a lot of questions about Andrei Vasilevskiy and how he was tasked, so many that a year ago, Saima wrote up an article analyzing his season. This season he’s mostly been fantastic, and according to Tampa Bay Times, Coach Jon Cooper has been ‘extremely comfortable’ with his workload. [Tampa Bay Times]

After calling out his team for having “a little bit of entitlement” running through the roster, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper blended his lineup into a winning recipe, and the Bolts beat down the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on the road. [Raw Charge]

Tampa won the game against the Red Wings last night, but at a cost. Dan Girardi took a puck to the head and had to leave the ice. At least he could sit up under his own power, but here’s hoping he’ll take all the time he needs to recover. [Yahoo Sports]

I laughed at this headline because it was a scrappy game. “Red Wings show fight, but unable to figure out Lightning in 5-2 loss: With 3:25 to go in the first period, Dylan Larkin and Brayden Point got into it during a heated battle along the boards. Both kept throwing punches as two officials pried them apart. Tomas Tatar got into it with Gourde with 1:37 to play, with Tatar taking the brunt of the punches.” [Detroit Free Press]

This was an interesting piece from Joe: Raw feelings from 2017 keep Lightning focused on this year’s ultimate prize. “This group, when we had our success as a team, we were always lacking the experience. Well, we have that now,” Stamkos said. “We have a lot of confidence in our ability. But we know we haven’t accomplished anything yet.” [TBO.com]

The Hockey News wrote their best and worst of 2017-18 so far, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the Lightning were at the top. “Let’s start with an easy one. The Lightning have been the class of the NHL this season, full stop. Tampa Bay has the best overall record, best road record and second-best home record.” [THN]

The Prospects

“Crunch goaltender Connor Ingram earned his third straight win with 31 saves. Marek Mazanec stopped 28-of-31 in net for the Wolf Pack. Syracuse was unable to convert on two power play opportunities, while Hartford went 1-for-3.” [Local Syr]

Adorable article about Ingram: Connor Ingram era begins in net for Syracuse Crunch, but it was almost over before it started. “But there was a time not that long ago when he might have imagined himself thriving not as a netminder, but as a defenseman. A few years ago Ingram, 20, didn’t like playing goal and was nudged toward that position only by demographics and urging from his parents.” [Syracuse.com]

The Game

I kind of love articles about the Oilers, especially one titled thus: Oilers missing playoffs would be spectacular failure. “With the final wild card team in the West currently on a 94-point pace, the Oilers would need to collect 56 points the rest of the way to pass that. That would be a 118-point pace over 82 games, meaning the Oilers would need to pretty much be the best team in hockey the rest of the way just to get the second wild card spot.” [NBC]

D’aw: Penguins Treat Four-Legged Fans to Game. ‘The special guest dogs and their owners were given a red carpet entrance prior to puck drop. The “Puppy Party Suite,” sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish, a signature brand of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, gave pets and their owners a night to remember as they were able to watch the game from one of PPG Paints Arena’s large party suites.’ [NHL.com]

Oh? Struggling Habs not ready to ‘throw in towel,’ says Bergevin: “I believe it’s possible [to make the playoffs] but I also believe a lot of things have to change for us to do it. If we keep on the same pattern as the first half, it’s not going to be possible, but I believe.” Please, keep fighting. [CBC]

And we’ll end with a heart-warming story: