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Quick Strikes: Boston Bruins starting to breathe down the Tampa Bay Lightning’s neck

4 points separate the two teams with Boston having played 2 fewer games, see you on Saturday!

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Ottawa Senators v Tampa Bay Lightning
Adam Erne #73 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ben Harpur #67 of the Ottawa Senators fight for the puck during a game at Amalie Arena on March 13, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bolts

J.T. Miller scored a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators but the Tampa Bay Lightning couldn’t get anything else going at either end of the ice. Lightning lose 7-4 at home. [Raw Charge]

I’m not surprised, and none of you should be either. I’ve repeated myself ad nauseam about the Lightning’s defensive issues. This team left Andrei Vasilevskiy out to dry this evening. Anyone carrying on about workload needs to stop and take a good look at this game. You can only blame Vasilevskiy on one goal—Dzingel’s goal (which, in all honesty, was just a damn good shot—those happen and sometimes a goalie can’t do anything). However, let’s not be lazy and jump on a narrative that completely ignores the real issue the Lightning have.

Even though the Lightning have gone 9-1-1 in their last 11, the Boston Bruins are right in our rearview mirror. [Tampa Bay Times]

It was the Lightning’s first regulation loss in its last 11 games (9-1-1), and it was a costly one. The surging Bruins erased a three-goal, third-period deficit in Carolina, pulling within four points of first-place Tampa Bay. If Boston wins Thursday in Florida, Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day showdown in Tampa will be for the Atlantic Division lead.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made a goalie swap yesterday, Louis Domingue is going to Syracuse while Peter Budaj is being activated from the IR. This doesn’t appear to be a permanent swap but more of an opportunity for Domingue to get some reps with the Lightning carrying all three goalies by the weekend. [Raw Charge]

It will be interesting to see how this next stretch goes in net. If Domingue ends up back up with the Lightning, the last starts that he and Budaj get very well could be auditions for who ends up backing the team up in the playoffs. My personal belief is that Domingue will be back with the team and is the presumptive back-up going into the playoffs.

It’s East vs. West. Young vs. Old. Russia vs. Finland. Andrei Vasilevskiy vs. Pekka Rinne. Who wins the Vezina? (The answer is probably Sergei Bobrovsky) [USA Today]

Rinne, meanwhile, made 32 saves in a 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets, whose goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck, is also in the Vezina mix. That moved the Predators past the Lightning into first place overall in the NHL. Both have 100 points, but Nashville has a game in hand.

The Prospects

Sammy Walker may be along one of the more rare paths to the NHL, but with his high school season over, his stock might have seen the most improvement. [Raw Charge]

Sammy Walkers season ended with a loss in the Minnesota high school tournament, but he had an incredible post draft season, scoring 110 points in 66 games across three leagues.

In this week’s Crunch Corner, we look at Peter Budaj’s weekend in New York. [Raw Charge]

All eyes were on Peter Budaj as he made his Crunch debut on Friday. The results were...well...mixed. He only allowed two goals, but he also only faced 18 shots as the players in front of him went out of their way to block shots and make his return a bit easier.

After the game, the veteran goaltender admitted to the press that his timing was a little off. That’s to be expected after not seeing live game action in almost three-and-a-half months.

KARAOKE BATTLE!!!

Ben Thomas has been suspended one game by the AHL’s supplementary discipline provision because of a dangerous boarding penaly that resulted in his second game misconduct of the season, which is an automatic one-game suspension in the AHL. [Syracuse]

As a result, Thomas received an automatic one-game suspension for accumulating his second game misconduct in the “physical fouls” category this season. He will miss Syracuse’s game Wednesday at Binghamton.

Syracuse is expected to add blueliner T.J. Melancon on a tryout deal. Melancon has produced 14 goals and 28 assists for Norfolk of the ECHL this season.

The Game

Declan Farmer and Team USA have made it to the Semi-Finals of the 2018 Paralympic Men’s Sled Hockey tournament. [Tampa Bay Times]

Declan Farmer of Tampa helped pace Team USA to the semifinals in sled hockey at the Paralympics Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with a tournament-high 13 points.

The United States, undefeated and unscored on in three games during Group B play, faces Italy at 7 a.m. Thursday. TV coverage is still to be determined but the game will be streamed live at NBCOlympics.com.

The Montreal Canadiens are broken.

Shea Weber has undergone successful foot surgery yesterday, he will be out 6 months. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

That would mean he’ll only be able to start training for the 2018-19 season in mid-September, when most players are wrapping up their summer workouts and getting themselves into game shape.

Andrew Shaw suffered a serious concussion in Tuesday’s win over Dallas. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

In the third period of Tuesday’s game versus the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw lined Greg Pateryn up for a hit, but his head made contact with Pateryn’s helmet as the two were headed in opposite directions.

Shaw had to be helped to the bench, essentially carried to the dressing room as he clearly wasn’t able to walk under his own power.

After the game, Pateryn — Gallagher’s former teammate — had this to say about the injured winger.

It was 4-1...

The Carolina Hurricanes were up 4-1 on the Boston Bruins with 10 minutes to play in the third period, a huge victory for Boston’s opponents in the Atlantic Division, but found a way to give up five goals (plus an empty netter) to give the Bruins a 6-4 regulation win on the road. Here’s Justin Williams’ quote after the game. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Highlight of the Night: This was a short-handed goal for the Nashville PRedators. They would score a second ON THE SAME PENALTY. [On The Forecheck]