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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals reunite in a Southeast Division reunion

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I wonder if Braden Holtby remembers Nikita Kucherov?

NHL: All Star Game
Atlantic Division forward Nikita Kucherov (86) of the Tampa Bay Lightning scores a goal past Metropolitan Division goalie Braden Holtby (70) of the Washington Capitals during the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

How did the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins in game 5, and how can it help us in the next round? [Raw Charge]

The penalty kill continued to have some issues. I guarantee that over the next handful of days, that is going to be one of the primary focuses of the Lightning’s practice. Jon Cooper, Rick Bowness, and the rest of the staff need to find some answers. I will give it to David Krejci for his goal. He made a great shot from a spot that’s hard to defend.

The Lightning are doing everything right in these playoffs. But something’s bound to go wrong eventually, right? [The Hockey News]

The Tampa Bay Lightning are checking off a lot of boxes these days. The Bolts came into the playoffs as one of the top threats in the East, but as we know the post-season is full of pitfalls. While it seems unfair, for example, either the Jets or the Predators are going to remember 2018 as the year they ‘only’ got to the second round.

But anyway, the Lightning now know who their opponent will be after the Washington Capitals actually did the thing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Here’s a quick preview of the series. More is definitely on its way. [Tampa Bay Times]

The best-of-seven series will be the third postseason meeting between the two teams. The Lightning won both, taking the 2003 Eastern Conference quarterfinals in six games and the 2011 conference semifinals in four.

“I did my waiting! 20 years of it! In Azkaban!” The Caps make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998. [ESPN]

Alex Ovechkin had played in 1,003 regular-season games and 109 playoff games without advancing beyond the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Barry Trotz had coached 1,524 regular-season games and 101 more in the playoffs, without ever advancing to even the conference finals.

After Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night, that particular smear against the Washington Capitals’ star player, their coach and the franchise itself was wiped away.

(Where they will lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games).

The Prospects

Game 4 between the Syracuse Crunch and the Toronto Marlies is tonight. Here is a dissection of Game 3 that I highly recommend you read; it’s very good. [Raw Charge]

The first 30 seconds of the game was encouraging for the Crunch. They had a chance on net and drew a penalty as Pierre Engvall was sent off for hooking. With the extra man, Alex Volkov swung a pass towards the net and Carter Verhaeghe just missed out on converting it. It’s very easy to wonder, had that gone in, would the game have played out differently?

The stars have realigned to give the AHL’s North Division a new friend/enemy; the Cleveland Monsters. [Syracuse Crunch]

Changes from the 2017-18 season include:

Colorado joining the AHL as its 31st active team and playing in the Pacific Division

San Antonio and Texas moving from the Pacific Division to the Central Division

Cleveland moving from the Central Division to the North Division

The playing schedule for the 2018-19 regular season, which begins Oct. 5, will be announced this summer.

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds lost the first game in Hamilton by a score of 6-5, and now trail 2-1 in the OHL Final. Boris Katchouk had three assists in the loss. [Boxscore] [Video]

Sault Ste. Marie. Blainville-Boisbriand. Syracuse. Only three teams with Lightning prospects remain at this point in the season. [NHL dot com]

The Crunch face a do-or-die Game 4 at home on Tuesday … Matthew Peca leads the club with nine points and is tied for first in goals (3) and assists (6) … Gabriel Dumont, Mathieu Joseph, and Alexander Volkov all each have three goals as well … Carter Verhaeghe shares the assists lead with Peca.

The Game

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the overtime winner on a breakaway to eliminate the Penguins for the first time in three seasons; when they lost in the same year the Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup over...uhh never mind...change this subject, quick! BIRD WINGS FLAPPING! [Japers Rink]

Washington was without second line center Nicklas Backstrom, the Swede falling injured in Game 5 with an upper body injury. A point-per-game player this series, the Capitals would miss Backstrom’s ice time and puck presence.

The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets are the only teams stuck in the second round. Their Game 7 will go Thursday night in Smashville. [On the Forecheck]

The Nashville Predators put up yet another perfect road game in Winnipeg, beating the Jets 4-0 behind two Filip Forsberg goals and another road playoff shutout from Pekka Rinne.

This was the best game of the series from Nashville. They owned the puck when it mattered most and capitalized on their chances. And even though the Jets had some dangerous chances, Pekka Rinne bounced back with a great performance to keep the home team off the board.

Highlight of the Night: They finally did it.

But also...

And...