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Quick Strikes: Yanni Gourde named Rookie of the Month for February

Anthony Cirelli also made his NHL debut, getting a goal and an assist.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars
Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) checks Dallas Stars left wing Remi Elie (40) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Anthony Cirelli makes first NHL start and scores first NHL goal. The Lightning defeat the Stars 5-4 in overtime.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Before we get to the game, our very own Yanni Gourde was named Rookie of the Month for February. With five goals and 11 assists in only 14 games, it was Gourde’s jack-of-all-trades versatility that put him above the rest. [NHL dot com]

Gourde registered at least one point in 12 of his 14 February appearances, highlighted by a seven-game streak to open the month (Feb. 1-13: 5-5-10). He also led all rookies with three power-play goals, six power-play points (3-3-6) and a +8 rating (tied).

Speech! Speech! Speech!

Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL game. Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL goal. J.T. Miller’s first point as a Bolt. Goalie interference review. Cory “Clutch” Conacher ending it. This game had it all. [Raw Charge]

Two points against a good team on the second night of a road back to back is always a good outcome. But the coaches will likely not be happy with the way the team played in the third period. After playing so well in the second, the team sunk into defensive shell and bled shots and chances putting undue pressure on Domingue until he finally broke.

A goal in the second period, an assist right after, this was a very impressive debut for the Lightning’s young center drafted in the 3rd round in 2015. No, not Brayden Point, he was the 2014 edition. ANTHONY CIRELLI!

The quotes by the players in reaction to all that happened last night are definitely must-read material. The diversity of stories is really interesting, from the rookie’s debut, to goalie interference, the guys had lots of opinions. [Tampa Bay Times]

“The guys on the bench were joking after he got the assist whether he’d get in a fight to top it off,” Cooper said. “He’s a phenomenal kid. Couldn’t be happier for him.”

Wait, hold up, what? Anthony Cirelli was call up?? Since when???

OH MY GOURDE.

One of the Lightning’s best prospects — and definitely the best center prospect — Anthony Cirelli didn’t get traded to the New York Rangers as everyone predicted, but instead made his NHL debut on the same day as his call up from the Syracuse Crunch. [Raw Charge]

I do think that he can be a very, very good fourth line center. And that’s probably the floor for his potential in the NHL. Anything more than that will be a big win in my book. Something to keep in mind is that Jon Cooper rarely trusts rookies. Especially late in the year and into the playoffs. Cirelli could be an exception to that.

It’s ironic that Paquette himself was such an exception. As a professional rookie, he was called up for the last two games of the regular season for the Lightning. He then played in all four of the Lightning’s playoff games.

When your friends see you at your new job.

All the Crunch players and team reacting the Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL goal

This is your classic Bolt meet Crunch meet Tampa Bay Lightning Family Carnival meet Hockey is for Everyone. I bet you’ve seen it a million times. [Raw Charge]

Alex is Raw Charge’s Syracuse Crunch editor, and is no stranger to all of the things that a hockey organization does to draw in the many diverse parts of a hockey town’s community (in fact, she wrote about the Crunch’s community involvement over here). While watching the carnival rise out of center ice, we chatted about how the Lightning and Syracuse Crunch work to make everyone feel at home.

Are you a fan of Brayden Point? Nikita Kucherov? Calendars? Boy, do I have something for you. [Raw Charge]

The Prospects

Alex Barre-Boulet is a 20-year-old QMJHL player who was never drafted, signed as an undrafted free agent to a three-year entry-level contract. Not quite Yanni Gourde’s story but we’ll take it nonetheless. Comparables aside, this is a great signing for the Lightning. The confidence the Lightning had in giving this player an NHL contract of maximum length is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It means they think this kid could be something, maybe even before he’s 24. And from everything I’ve heard, it seems like everyone in the Q have been pulling for this kid to be noticed for years, he deserves this for sure.

Prospect-wise, it is also very pleasing to see how quickly the Lightning were able to replenish a bit of their prospect depth after the departures of Brett Howden and Libor Hajek (as well as maybe Cirelli too?). If you look at Barre-Boulet’s production in his draft year, it is not impressive for the Q. But if you pretended he was drafted in the mid- to late-rounds of the draft and he had the same numbers he does now in his Draft+1 and Draft+2 seasons, you’d be excitied for this prospect. It is very encouraged to know that the Bolts also see that. [Raw Charge]

Cirelli going up meant someone had to come down. That player was Michael Bournival. [Syracuse]

Bournival logged 9:20 in ice time Wednesday night against the Buffalo Sabres at AMALIE Arena. Bournival has skated in 49 games with the Crunch this year, recording 15 goals and 31 points. He ranks third on the team for goals and is tied for fifth for points.

If you see someone being bullied, or are being bullied, the Syracuse Crunch got your back. #BackinBlue

The Game

Nashville Predators GM David Poile has become the NHL’s winningest General Manager of all time after the Preds won him his 1,320th goal of his executive career. [ESPN]

Viktor Arvidsson scored a pair of goals as Poile’s Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

The victory was the 1,320th in Poile’s career, surpassing Glen Sather, the front-office leader for the Oilers’ dynasty of the 1980s who later took over the New York Rangers in 2000.

Looks like Seattle is getting an NHL franchise. [Seattle Times]

The Oak View Group had set a goal of 10,000 season ticket deposits of $500 and $1,000 for a future NHL expansion team at KeyArena when an online submission portal went live at 10 a.m. PT on Thursday. By 10:12 a.m., the goal of 10,000 had already been surpassed and the online reservation system set up through Ticketmaster couldn’t keep up.

Highlight of the Night: Looks like Bread is too Quick for Jonathan.