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Quick Strikes: Could Tampa Bay Lightning have beaten the Vegas Golden Knights?

Let’s go with yes.

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2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Avi Gerver/Getty Images

Last night, staring at Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final, I thought to myself: at least the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to what looks like the Cup winner, and not only that, we had a better showing than the Vegas Golden Knights when we pushed the Washington Capitals to seven games.

After listening to some analysis about what the Caps are doing right (thanks, Hockey PDOcast), it seems that two things are currently at play: first, the VGK were riding Marc-Andre Fleury’s ridiculous playoff SV% (something near .950), and second, the Capitals’ ability to deploy a 1-1-3 position in the offensive and neutral zone stifle any Vegas attempts to move through it with possession. This was deadly to the Bolts, and deadly to Vegas as well.

Would Vegas have been a better match against Tampa than the Capitals? At the very least, the two teams play the same style of hockey, and watching the final would have been high-scoring good fun, rather than these lopsided victories. Oh well: next year.

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bolts

Too Early Projection: Tampa Bay Lightning organizational depth chart for 2018-19 [Raw Charge]

The Stanley Cup Final isn’t quite over yet. But for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the planning and preparation for the 2018-19 season has been underway for some time. The NHL Entry Draft and free agency are officially less than three weeks away. Trades and signings can and will change the course of what the Lightning do for the 2018-19 season. But before we get to that point, let’s to take a look at the organization and where it currently stands for next season.

Poor Caley! Former Canadien Chris Chelios still keeping himself in top shape at 56. [Montreal Gazette]

Chelios’s daughter, Caley, posted a photo on Twitter Monday afternoon with her father of what she thought was going to be a leisurely, vacation bike ride in Malibu Hills, Calif. That changed when her dad, who was always a fitness freak during his playing career, showed up.

Should Lightning Trade Tyler Johnson? [THW]

The problem is, the Lightning may have found a better, younger and cheaper option for this role in Brayden Point. This season, Point largely took over second line duties, forcing Johnson to find new ways to contribute to the Lightning. Some nights he found himself playing on the third line, other times he was on the top-line playing wing-man to Steven Stamkos, and in the playoffs, he was featured on the second line with Point and long-time linemate Ondrej Palat.

The Prospects

Tampa Bay Lightning ECHL affiliate season in review: The 17-18 Adirondack Thunder in their own words. [Raw Charge]

Tapper had a very good debut behind the bench, winning the North Division title and getting to within three wins of a Kelly Cup Finals berth. He also served as the team’s director of hockey operations, which also meant he was responsible for recruiting the right players to go to battle for the “Red Army.”

The Game

It’s all happening. The Capitals are one win away from the Stanley Cup. [Washington Post]

Coach Barry Trotz has often spoke of the “hockey gods,” and they seemed to be smiling on his team from the start. Vegas forward Erik Haula tipped a shot just 1:07 into the first period, but the puck caromed off the post. That lucky break didn’t compare to the one Washington got 4:31 into the game, when James Neal had a wide-open net to shoot into with Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby out of position during a Golden Knights power play. Neal inexplicably hit the post, squandering an opportunity to lift Vegas to an early lead.

Canada v Sweden: Gold Medal Game - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Dahlin, Svechnikov, Tkachuk, Zadina top NHL.com mock drafts [NHL.com]

NHL.com writers Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Guillaume Lepage agree that the Buffalo Sabres will select the defenseman from Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League with the first pick of the draft, which is June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Oshie, Capitals have good luck charm during Stanley Cup Final [NHL.com]

”I’m worried about getting sick again, and watching the Caps makes me forget it,” Flint said. “It gives me something to focus on. I love watching the games, especially T.J.”

Flint and Oshie became friends after they were paired at the Capitals’ Hockey Fights Cancer skate for children from Make-A-Wish’s Mid-Atlantic chapter in November 2016. Flint, who diagnosed in March 2013 when she was 4, was in remission at the time, but the cancer returned a year ago.

Why Secondary Ticket Prices For NHL Finals Are Higher Than For NBA Finals In 2018 [Forbes]

The reason for this discrepancy is a simple lesson in Economics 101, and a concept called diminishing marginal utility. This simply means that the more we consume a particular product, the next unit consumed of that product will generate less consumer satisfaction than the previous unit. And if it generates less marginal satisfaction (i.e. less marginal utility), then you are going to pay less for the next unit of the same good.

Ranking the top NCAA coaches ready to jump to the NHL [ESPN]

There is a coaching metric that was developed for the NHL back in 2009 that has been applied to other leagues such as the AHL and the Canadian Major Juniors over the past three seasons, and it might prove useful for U.S. college hockey, as well.

How the NHL combine has entered the information age like never before [Subscription content: The Athletic]

Several teams, including the Canadiens, have a psychologist in the room to help conduct the interviews. In the case of the Calgary Flames, the psychologist basically runs the whole thing.

“You’re always looking for an edge, right?” said Tod Button, the Flames director of amateur scouting. “Every team has got video now, analytics are everywhere, so you’re always looking at what’s going to separate us from the next team.”