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Quick Strikes: Lightning center Anthony Cirelli thankful for everyone who helped him make the NHL

I need one of those Tampa Bay Lightning Collectors Coke bottles

NHL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli (71) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The KHL is being ruined by Team OAR winning Gold at the South Korean Olympics. [Raw Charge]

I’m a Russian hockey fan, and here’s an unpopular opinion that has received quite a few sweet words of criticism from some of my fellow Russians: I did not want the Olympic athletes from Russia men’s hockey team to win gold.

We talkin’ bout practice? Yes, we are. The Tampa Bay Lightning need all the practice time they can get during this homestand. [Tampa Bay Times]

“The guys have been looking forward to it,” captain Steven Stamkos said, “getting more practices, getting more touches in practice, fine-tuning the game down the stretch to getting into the playoffs. It’s a welcome stretch for us. We need to make some improvements, for sure, but we love playing in front of our fans and want to take advantage of that schedule.”

Anthony Cirelli would like to thank the Academy... Oh, wait, it was the Oscars last night. Wrong awards show!

Another hot take from iSportsWeb: “The Tampa Bay Lightning could not be playing better hockey right now…and it’s not just because they are winning” [iSportsWeb]

While a streak of five consecutive overtime and/or shootout finishes likely isn’t going to last long, the Bolts ability to be successful is absolutely crucial. As this playoff-tested team knows as well as basically any other, the games a hockey team competes in throughout April and May are nothing like what they will see the balance of the year. To win, and win consistently, a team needs to overcome adversity, show grit and toughness, and manage to play their strongest late in games when it matters most.

WANT!

UPDATE: iActium got a six pack and is shipping a bottle to me this week!

The Prospects

Attention Crunch fans! The Syracuse Crunch are hosting a PS4 NHL18 tournament on March 10th. Sounds like fun! [Syracuse Crunch]

Alex Barre-Boulet made a pretty impressive weekend debut in his first games as a prospect in the Lightning roganization, he continued his torrid pace with another two points on Saturday night. [Bolt Prospects]

Barre-Boulet and linemate Alexandre Alain (undrafted) combined for each a goal and an assist to rally the Armada from a 3-0 deficit in the 1st period to force overtime and the eventual shootout. All three Armada shooters, including Barre-Boulet, failed to convert in the shootout, and lost to the Voltigeurs when Nicolas Guay (2018 draft eligible) beat Blainville-Boisbriand goalie Mikhail Denisov (2018 draft eligible).

The Game

The Carolina Hurriccanes have been stick at the playoff bubble for years. They are there oncce again and in need of a hot streak. [News and Observer]

Still can’t stand prosperity. Still can’t string wins together. Still can’t get over the hump.

Nothing is going to change for the Carolina Hurricanes until they figure out how to change the essence of who and what they are.

Once again with a chance to move into a playoff position with a win Sunday, the Hurricanes once again piled up shots but once again not goals in a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The winning streak ended at two.

Does this mean Tampa finally gets an outdoor game? [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

“You guys are 3-0 in outdoor games,” Hersch said. “How do you explain that success?”

Ovechkin let out an Uhhh, and found the perfect joke.

“I hope outdoor games going to be in the playoffs,” Ovechkin deadpanned. “We can have more success over there.”

How should the New York Rangers handle Jimmy Hayes and Vladislav Namestnikov’s futures this summer? [Blue Shirt Banter]

In December I wrote a piece with the title, “Has Kevin Hayes Been #ActuallyGood for Rangers In 2017-18?”

It was an analytical look at the plight of Hayes, a forward who was doing a lot of good things without being rewarded for them. At the time, Hayes had just 12 points in 30 games played which a decline from the 21 points he had during the same span of time the season prior.

Highlight of the Night: what a move...What A Move!...WHAT A GOAL!