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Quick Strikes: Andrei Vasilevskiy sets Tampa Bay Lightning record for single season wins

injuries (good and bad), rookies, and ECHL realignment

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NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), defenseman Anton Stralman (6) congratulate each other as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

After being handily beaten for two periods, the Tampa Bay Lightning ripped victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring four unanswered goals in less than 13 minutes to give the Bolts a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Raw Charge]

When Tampa Bay was trailing and looking for any kind of offensive presence, one would surmise the veterans who have been the playoffs and know what playoff hockey is would step up and make an impact. That wasn’t the case this evening. Adam Erne, Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point, and Anthony Cirelli were the most noticeable forwards when the Lightning was struggling.

Can’t come back from a 3-goal deficit if you never give up the lead in the first place ;)

Some more fun to come out of the game, Andrei Vasilevskiy broke the record for the most wins in a single season by a Tampa Bay Lightning goalie. Wins are a team stat, but boy, where would we be without Vasy.

More fun, Ondrej Palat made his return to games for the first time following his high-ankle sprain in late January. He had a generally quiet night, which is good when it comes to the defensive side of things. Scoring will come once he gets his feet under him, so the lack of offense isn’t too troubling.

On the flip side, Ryan Callahan left the Leafs game early favoring his shoulder and never returned. Coach Cooper hopes he isn’t out for too long but he won’t be travelling with the team as they embark on their road trip.

There are four teams in a war with each other to make the playoffs and only one will face the Lightning. When April comes, will the Bolts be as ready as these teams who have been playing playoff hockey every single night? [Tampa Bay Times]

With the Florida Panthers 10-2-1 in their past 13 games, all the contending Metro teams save for the Capitals and Penguins can’t even feel safe. It’s why Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said, “Right now we’re just trying to get into the playoffs.”

That kind of desperation has paid off for the streaking Blue Jackets, who have won eight in a row to solidify themselves. Five of those victories have come against teams currently in playoff position.

The Prospects

The Adirondack Thunder have gone on a tear as the season winds to a close, completing a perfect three wins in three nights to tie them with the division leading Manchester Monarchs. There is also a great explanation of the ECHL’s realignment that is coming soon. [Raw Charge]

Two new teams, both former AHL cities, will join the league in 2018-19. Portland, who was without a league after the Pirates relocated to Springfield following the 2015-16 season, will be home to the Maine Mariners. St. John’s will field a team after losing their AHL franchise, the IceCaps, following the 2016-17 season. It is believed they will be affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who currently use Orlando as their ECHL affiliate.

The Syracuse Crunch are in the middle of a five day break following a perfect 3-0-0 week. [Syracuse Crunch]

Syracuse locked in its second straight Calder Cup Playoffs berth by sweeping a three-game Week 24. The Crunch are headed to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 14th time in franchise history; it’s the first time they’ve made it in consecutive seasons since 2011-12 and 2012-13. The Crunch are 39-19-3-4 and remain in second place in the North Division with 85 points, within five of the Toronto Marlies.

This Olivier Archambault guy is pretty good in the offensive zone. Or so I’ve heard. [Auburn Pub]

Archambault has recorded eight goals and five assists in 19 games with Syracuse. The 25-year-old is riding a three-game goal streak and a five-game point streak.

“You always have to prove yourself everywhere,” said Archambault, a fourth-year pro. “I think this is the first year I have a good opportunity and I’m taking it right now.”

The boys spent their day off helping Change for Change at a fun fundraising event.

Move that hockey butt!

The Game

The Calgary Flames are bad and their GM is “shocked” [National Post]

“It’s been a tough stretch for us,” Treliving said at the GM meetings on Tuesday. “It’s put us in a real tough spot. It’s frustrating, so we’re going to get ready for our next one but we certainly put ourselves in a position where the hole’s that much deeper and we have to address some things.”

Larry Kwong, the first hockey player to break the race barrier, passes away at the age of 94. [The Globe and Mail]

His great speed on ice earned him the nickname the China Clipper, while his diminutive stature – he stood 5-foot-6 and weighed 150 pounds – led sports writers to jokingly describe him as King Kwong. His ethnic heritage featured in nearly every profile. He was a “Chinese puckster” in English and “le petit Chinois” in French. One newspaper headline read: “China Clipper Kwong only hockey Orientalist.”

Want to see me come back to a forgotten season and play through an injury that I didn’t let fully heal? Want to see me do it again? [NHL dot com]

“I wouldn’t be playing tomorrow night if I was nervous about the condition of my head, so I’m very confident,” Price told the Canadiens website. “You don’t know how long those types of things are going to take, but as an athlete you want to try and get back in there as soon as possible.”

”Carey absolutely wants to play,” Julien said. “He wants to do everything he can to finish strong. We want to see Carey in our net.

The NHL’s competition committee 31 GM’s don’t want to change anything when it comes to offside review, they are willing to alter goalie interference in time for the playoffs. [Sportsnet]

The league announced Tuesday that GMs want the final decision on video reviews of goalie interference to rest with the hockey operations department in Toronto instead of referees on the ice.

”We had to first define the standard of review and get more clarity on that,” Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee said. “We have that now, and then to have that decision made in Toronto, I think affords more consistency.”

Highlight of the Night: Threading the needle so you can eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks from playoff contention.

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