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Quick Strikes: Could the Tampa Bay Lightning slip to second and play Toronto in the first round?

At least we got to see those Tampa Bay Rays jerseys. Beauties.

Arizona Coyotes v Tampa Bay Lightning
Nick Cousins #25 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates a goal from Derek Stepan #21 (not pictured) during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on March 26, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lost 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes, bringing the Boston Bruins to within two points of the division lead with two games in hand. [Raw Charge]

The Tampa Bay Lightning were outplayed by the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-1 loss that was never in reach. Uninspired is probably the best way to describe how the Lightning played this evening. They had surges of control, but it was far and few between.

The Lightning were without captain Steven Stamkos, who is out with “lower body maintenance,” he might as well get his rest now because we need him at 100% come playoff time. [Tampa Bay Times]

“Ultimately making sure our team is healthy going down the stretch is the utmost importance,” Cooper said. “We wouldn’t be in the situation here if we didn’t feel like it was necessary to get guys 100 percent healthy, so that’s what we’re going to do. There’s no long-term fears whatsoever in this situation, but we want to make sure we got our guys ready.”

Nice threads, boys!

Arizona may be at the bottom of the league table, but they have played like one of the better teams in the league since the trade deadline. We should’ve seen this coming. [Raw Charge]

Since January of 2018, Arizona has gone 15-11-6, a win average of above .500, at least. The young core that Chayka is talking about consists of a few kids, including the seventh-overall pick from the Auston Matthews draft, Keller. Keller is leading the team in goals and points with 23G/57A, and has broken the franchise record for rookie points, previously held by Peter Mueller.

An update on who our first round matchup might be come playoff time. Hello, Toronto. [Raw Charge]

The Maple Leafs, Devils, Panthers, Blue Jackets, and Flyers are all still crammed between a 13% and a 24% chance of opening the playoffs against the Lightning. With the season down to exactly two weeks, we’ll likely be paying attention to at least two or three of these teams until the final days of the season.

The Prospects

Another week, another couple of wins banked for the Syracuse Crunch. After winning five in a row the Crunch are knocking on first in the North divisionp. Hello, Toronto. [Raw Charge]

It was a relatively light week for the Syracuse Crunch as they only had two games on the schedule. The reduction in games came at an opportune time for them as they are a little banged up, especially on the defensive side. The rest did them some good, and they didn’t lose their mojo as they picked up two more wins.

*record scratch*

“Yes, this is me. You might be wondering how I got into this situation...” - Gabriel Dumont, probably.

The 2015 draft for the Tampa Bay Lightning was brought forth an outstanding group of prospects to the Bolts organization. Let’s have a look at all of the great picks. [The Hockey Writers]

The players all seemed to fit a similar mold: two-way forwards with high-offensive ceilings that had yet to be reached. There wasn’t a single stand-out pick, but there were enough solid selections that you could easily see this draft class producing a handful of productive role players for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch.

The Game

Geoges Laraque said a thing. It was a terrible, personal thing that should never have been shared. Edmonton media ran with it, made it worse. And now it comes out that the whole premise of the thing is a lie. Shocking. [Copper and Blue]

People struggle with addiction in a variety of ways, and it seems especially disgusting for Georges Laraque to out Taylor Hall (or anyone else) in such a manner. It’s no secret that hockey has had a fair share of players past who have struggled with various addictions, and it’s garbage that Laraque appears to justify Edmonton’s lacklustre return because of a player trying to beat an addiction.

The Montreal Canadiens finally have someone with 30 goals! Cute.

Brendan Gallagher is also the first Hab not named Max Paccioretty since center/not-a-center Alex Galchenyuk to score 30 goals. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

The goal was a beauty too. Great deke and snipe.

Highlight of the Night: Love the fake with the leg from Kevin Lebanc.