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Quick Strikes: Defense a sticking point for the Tampa Bay Lightning

Don’t worry J.T. and Lexi, we won’t forget about you.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen (3) skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) defends during the third period at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Former Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown spoke very highly of his former team and the community that surrounds it in an in-depth interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “I won’t ever forget Tampa, and hopefully they won’t forget me, as well.” [ESPN]

I definitely keep in touch with them and want to see how they’re doing. I still text those guys every now and then, to see how the games are going, see how they’re playing. They’re in a different conference, so it’s easy to wish them as much success until the playoffs come, and then we’ll see it goes from there. Obviously, I wish them all success.

The Lightning’s defense has been leaking lately. With the Trade Deadline approaching quickly, help might be on it’s way, but until then the team will need to clean up their sloppiness. [Tampa Bay Times]

The Lightning lost 4-3 despite sending a season-high 51 shots on net and scoring twice on the power play. The reason: too many defensive breakdowns that were not a product of being out-played or overpowered. “It was just not making the right reads at the right time,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “Bad changes. Bad pinches. Bad defensive zone coverage. When we did make a mistake, they capitalized on it.”

*insert comment about no defense in the scrimmages*

It’s hard for players to not think about the possibility of being traded, especially near the deadline where the odds are exponentially higher. [Tampa Bay Times]

GM Steve Yzerman helped put Johnson’s mind at ease in conversations before signing him to a seven-year, $35 million deal in July.

”(Yzerman) came up to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about all of that,’” Johnson said of the trade rumors. “I saw all that stuff, and I know that nothing is real, there’s really no smoke there at all. But people, for whatever reason, still try to talk about it.”

Andrej Sustr notes that he was very fortunate that the cut on his face only required 23 stitches (to both flesh and muscle) and nothing more. [NHL dot com]

“There were some (stitches) on the inside because I was cut all the way to my cheekbone,” said Sustr. “They had to stitch up my muscles and, obviously, the outside too. Once the buzzer went for the second period, I was already in the locker room ready for the third.”

The Lightning are looking for consistancy in their all-around game. “I think we’re working towards something that is better than what we’ve shown. Sometimes it just takes a little while.” Re-acquiring the crispness that the team had early in the year will be key for the run into the spring.

The Prospects

Lightning 7th round pick in 2017 Samuel Walker a finalist for the “Mr. Hockey” award for the top high school senior hockey player in Minnesota. [Raw Charge]

Libor Hajek’s Regina Pats are the Memorial Cup hosts, so they have a spot in the national championship locked up. Right now they would play either the Swift Current Broncos or Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round, depending on which one finishes second. For the Pats best chance to go far in the playoffs they should finish with the first wild card spot and work their way through the Central Division - they would be first in that division - rather than the super teams of the Broncos or Warriors.

2016 second-rounder Taylor Raddysh has settled in with the Sault ste. MArie Greyhounds and is beginning to unleash his potential. He has seven points in his last three games. [NHL dot com]

Raddysh has goals in three-straight games and posted a three-point night in the Soo’s 7-1 win over Sarnia on Saturday. He has recorded multi-point efforts three games in a row.

Katchouk recorded three assists in two games this weekend and now has points in four-straight games (2g-4a). He is tied for second in Soo scoring with 71 points (fellow Bolts prospect Taylor Raddysh also has 71 points).

This week could’ve been perfect for the Syracuse Crunch if it wasn’t for an offensive outage against Charlotte. A lengthy Crunch Corner with lots of hidden gems for you this week. [Raw Charge]

The good news is that the defense and goaltending played very, very well. Eddie Pasquele and Connor Ingram combined to stop 77 out of 81 shots for a ridiculous .951 save percentage. That includes two games against the Charlotte Checkers, one of the better scoring teams in the league. They also went 6 for 6 on the penalty kill, which is remarkable because they only had to kill six penalties in three games.

The Game

The Detroit Red Wings traded goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick and a 2019 third-round pick. Both picks are conditional on games played in the playoffs and if Mrazek re-signs with the Flyers. If Philly goes far enough in the playoffs, the Red Wings could be rewarded with a second-round pick. [Broad Street Hockey]

With Neuvirth likely out for “weeks”, it’s not hard at all to see Mrazek winning at least five games with the Flyers, which would bump the initial fourth-round pick up to a third-round pick. As for the second condition, I think most Flyers fans would live with the pick bumping from a third-rounder to a second-rounder if Mrazek is a big part of the Flyers advancing to the conference finals.

Those four racist fans at the Chicago Blackhawks game have been banned for life by the team. “We’ve got to learn from something like that. It can’t happen.” [ESPN]

“Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,’’ team spokesman Adam Rogowin said Monday in a statement.

”Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society today,’’ Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate ahead of Monday night’s home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Evgeny Kuznetsov earned both an assist and a minor penalty at the same time in a weird play that involved reviews, stoppages, and then more reviews. The assist was later taken away because of a completely different reason. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

As the goal was called good, the twenty seconds between the goal and when play stopped were put back on the clock. Due to a weird NHL rule, Kuznetsov’s penalty would still be valid even though the play didn’t happen. (Officially, the goal and penalty both occured at 13:33 of the second period.)

Another trade but it barely matters so here’s a tweet. Hope it’s enough.

The weird parallels in Toronto continue.

Highlight of the Night: ATTAAAAAAACK!!!!!