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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Mitchell Stephens named AHL Rookie of the Month

What was Radko Gudas doing last night?!

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits
Mitchell Stephens poses after being selected 33rd overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning extinguished the Calgary Flames in a game that can only be described as a barn burner. 11 goals scored between the two teams, two crazy angle goals, one broken goalie stick, and a whole lot of fist bumps. [Raw Charge]

Alex Killorn was a surprising forward for the Bolts to lean on Thursday night. His four-point game (including his first goals in 11 games) pushed him to 202 career NHL points. The Lightning spread the riches, with five different players scoring goals in securing the victory.

The fist bump.

The crazy angle.

The broken stick.

If you were painting a picture of this season’s Tampa Bay Lightning, the last 10 games would be a rough patch. [Raw Charge]

The most obvious problems are on defense. Suppressing shots and the danger of those shots has been a strength all year for the Lightning and part of the reason that goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has had such an outstanding season. But recently, the team is surrendering more shots and more dangerous shots.

Both the Lightning and Flames have had some bad losses lately. The Lightning would struggle to get up in time for puck drop; the Flames would blow leads late. The way each handle their losses is curiously different when it came to practice. [Tampa Bay Times]

“You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react to it,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “You’re in charge of that.”

Desktop backgrounds are available for the month of February! Please make sure to send your thanks to RxlandS! [Raw Charge]

Super team you say? I like the sound of that. [TSN]

This brings us to Tampa Bay, Erik Karlsson and the plausibility of the NHL’s first modern-era super team. You may think Karlsson is going to extend in Ottawa. You may think Karlsson is going to leave Ottawa, be it by trade or when his contract expires in 2018-19. All situations remain in play. But we do know that the following factors are at play here...

The Prospects

33rd overall pick in 2015 Mitchell Stephens has been a firecracker among the rookie crop, heck, among the entire Syracuse Crunch roster all month. As a result, he has been named the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for January. [Syracuse]

He recorded his first three-point game as a professional on Jan. 13, picking up a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win over Rochester. Stephens made it four consecutive games with goals by scoring on Jan. 15 vs. Binghamton, Jan. 17 at Belleville and Jan. 19 vs. Toronto, then picked up three more points including the game-winning tally in a 3-2 win at Laval on Jan. 24.

The Syracuse Crunch have also called up Shane Conacher from the Adirondack Thunder. With big brother Cory sccoring goals in the NHL, there must always be a Conacher in Syracuse! [Syracuse Crunch]

A native of Burlington, Ontario, Conacher has appeared in 16 career AHL games with Syracuse and Toronto recording two goals and one assist. Prior to his professional career, he spent three seasons at Canisius College from 2013 to 2016, appearing in 106 games. He paced the team in points during the 2015-16 season with 46 (20g, 26a) and was named to the AHA First All-Star Team. His 37 points, including a team-high 26 assists, ranked second in the 2014-15 campaign.

The Game

Hockey is for everyone and we want you to be heard. Please read @nowyousieme’s story because it is amazing and it exemplifies what this month is all about. [Fear the Fin]

Two years ago, my dad — a life-long Red Wings fan — told me that I know more about hockey than he does and it was a victory I felt in my bones. The NHL isn’t much different from my parents. They never planned on having a queer daughter with depression fall in love with something deemed traditionally masculine.

What else can I say about the next video other than simply “oh, Phil.”

Oh no the Toronto Maple Leafs might have real defensemen! [TSN]

“We seem to have some good depth that you didn’t know until you try,” Babcock said. “That’s positive. We’re deeper than we’ve been, we’ve got four lines, and let’s be honest, all of them – I didn’t know [Nikita Zaitsev] could be this good, I thought Justin Holl was real good. Travis Dermott has been real good.”

It sure feels like it’s been longer.

What was Radko Gudas thinking???

Highlight of the Night: the Winnipeg Jets vs Vegas Golden Knights overtime period. Context: [Knights on Ice] [Arctic Ice Hockey]