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Quick Strikes: The Lightning lose to Anaheim, Buffalo dominates the news

Plus: People are already freaking out about the playoffs, because of course they are. Also, I talk a lot about Buffalo.

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NHL: New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning got themselves pumped for a game versus the Anaheim Ducks last night. Louis Domingue started his 8th consecutive game.

Speaking of Domingue, I believe this chart means he’s doing almost as well as Andrei Vasilevskiy was before he was hurt:

Mathieu Joseph took his place in last night’s starting lineup. (Proud AHL mama here)

The game featured an old friend: Defenseman Jake Dotchin suited up for the Ducks, facing his old team for the first time since their separation last month.

At the end of the first, things looked like this:

...Splat, indeed.

After the second, things looked a little better. Kind of.

Brayden Point was the only scorer for Tampa.

Sadly, by the end of the third, Point’s goal was the only one scored and the Lightning lost the game 3-1. As Matt said in his recap: “Sometimes you just get goalie’d, folks.”

And now, we bring you...

Paywalls!

(Seriously, there’s a lot of content from The Athletic yesterday that was either interesting and/or about the Lightning and/or both. If you, like me, don’t have a subscription, you can just skip this section)

Domingue is proving he can do the job the Lightning always envisioned him doing, writes Joe Smith.

Dom Luszczyszyn wrote about Brayden Point’s fantasy projection. We’ll all just pretend I know what that means.

The race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs - uh, wait, can I call it a “race” if it’s still November and the season doesn’t end until April? Um. The...marathon (there we go!) to the Stanley Cup Playoffs isn’t exactly shaping up like many anticipated, claims Scott Burnside. I think that’s what he’s claiming. That’s what the beginning of the article seems to indicate, anyway.

Could the stalemate between the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander be repeated several times this upcoming off season? Pierre LeBrun thinks so, so better buckle up.

Dallas Starts GM Jim Nill sat down with Sean Shapiro to talk shop, including trade chances. Sean also did a really nice article about goalie Landon Bow’s mask design, one that honors the victims of the Humboldt bus crash.

...and we’re back!

Speaking of Sean Shapiro, he’s figured out a diabolical plot:

Stanley Cup of Chowder has a similar article to the Burnside one from The Athletic, but it isn’t behind a paywall. Score!

I don’t know how we got here, guys. Somehow, the Buffalo Sabres are good? Like, really good right now. They are currently on a nine game winning streak. What world are we living in? I wish I knew. Here’s what’s going on across the Atlantic.

Speaking of Buffalo, you know things are going well when your star player can’t remember when your team last lost.

The Buffalo Sabres are on such a roll, captain Jack Eichel was having difficulty recalling the last time they lost.

“Um, was it Calgary?” Eichel said Monday, before being reminded that the 2-1 overtime defeat to the Flames was three losses ago.

(My God, next up is another Sabres thing. Sorry, everyone. I swear we’re not a Buffalo blog, but...they’re kind of newsworthy right now.)

These scarves are certainly a neat giveaway from the Sabres.

(Um, okay, er, one more?)

Kyle Okposo is beating the odds and having a great season, something that is getting lost in Buffalo’s success.

He looks like a different player than we saw in the first half of last season. It’s clear that the scary medical situation he went through in 2017, had an impact on his performance for most of the 2017-18 season.

Moving on (finally!), the Syracuse Crunch is on a roll, and it’s a fun one indeed. Justin broke down their three games last week, games that continued their winning streak and propelled them into second place in the North.

What’s truly scary is that this may not be the best version this team can be. Not only are they still missing several key pieces due to injury and recalls, there have been very few “complete” games during their ten-game points streak. The penalty kill, although it was fantastic this week, is still middle of the road and there have been periods, like the second period on Friday night, where the Crunch stop skating and things go haywire for 15-20 minutes.

If/when this team puts it all together and is completely healthy...woe to the rest of the teams in the American Hockey League.

The Crunch’s week wouldn’t have been so great had it not been for Connor Ingram, who took the sudden spotlight being shined on him after his AHL Player of the Week nod with his usual good humor:

(For reference, the Crunch nominates it’s own Player of the Week through a promotion with Toyota, and this past week it picked Cory Conacher, not Ingram)

Do you want to watch the Crunch play for free? You’re in luck! Their game in Cleveland this Friday is the AHL’s free Facebook game of the season:

Syracuse’s Teddy Toss will be December 8th.

The Crunch and Stanley Steemer encourage fans to join the team this holiday season in collecting new and gently used stuffed animals for local children. When the Crunch score their first goal on Dec. 8, fans will toss the puffy pets onto the ice. The cuddly critters will be collected and refurbished by Stanley Steemer before being donated to The Salvation Army. Once the stuffed animals are refurbished, they will be brought to a special Christmas Bureau Distribution event and handed out to children and families in need.

The Crunch is still searching for children older than four but younger than eleven to serve as junior reporters this season.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to complete the application on the Syracuse Crunch website and submit a sample video showcasing why their child should be selected as a NY529 Crunch Junior Reporter. From the nominees, five children will be selected to be the NY529 Crunch Junior Reporters for the 2018-19 season. Each Junior Reporter will be invited to the War Memorial Arena to interview at least one Crunch player or coach after a scheduled practice.

The Maple Leafs got some good news of the Auston Matthews variety yesterday:

Speaking of the Leafs, there was a late-night trade involving minor league players last night between their organization and the Calgary Flames org:

The Rochester Americans, farm team of the Sabres (OH MY GOD), had some visitors to their practice the other day:

Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, and the Orlando Solar Bears decided to give back to their local fire department:

The Solar Bears made a trade yesterday, acquiring Matt Schmalz from ECHL Wichita in exchange for forward Stefan Fournier and future considerations.

Montreal’s Karl Alzner is now earning six million dollars to play in the AHL.

The Ottawa Senators continue to be a tire fire on top of an open sewer. Now their arena deal is at risk of falling apart. Once you’re done reading about that depressing news, scroll down to the bottom (numbers 23-25) and check out more about Point and his awesomeness.

Arno Del Curto has resigned as head coach of Swiss club HC Davos. Del Curto was in his 23rd season with HC Davos, and was one of the longest-tenured coaches in professional ice hockey.

The news comes as a shock not only for Davos, which won six championships under Del Curto, but for all Swiss ice hockey. Besides having fans across the country, HC Davos also has a few detractors and haters as with any team. But Del Curto was well-respected in all circles, for what he has done far beyond the borders of his Alpine club.

When you’re an EBUG, you don’t really figure you’re going to actually have to play. But when this conversation happened, Nick Niedert realized he was actually going in for ECHL Reading:

“Well, you’re going tonight,” Marcou told him.

“Going where?” Niedert replied before it finally hit him after a beat. “Oh s—-. Alright. Let’s go.”

“You ready to go?” Marcou followed up.

Said Niedert: “Does it really matter?”

And, finally, a gif featuring none other than the Buffalo Freaking Sabres, because why the heck not:

I ended QS here late last night, but then Joe Yerdon posted an article for The Athletic about this specific celly by Rasmus Ristolainen, so...I guess here’s one last article about the hottest team in the NHL right now, although sadly it is behind a paywall.