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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning win fifth victory against Montreal specifically

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If Tampa Bay is a measuring stick, the Habs came up short.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Headline

Last night’s victory was a bit chippy, to say the least. A few rivals we love to hate trolled the ice for punching bags to “tilt the ice in their favor,” but despite Andrew Shaw’s best attempts, were unable to break Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shutout.

Canadiens @ Lightning game recap: Solid effort comes undone in the third period [HEOTP]

The results weren’t pretty for the visiting team, as the Lightning outshot them to the tune of 14-3 in a third period where the Canadiens needed to find two goals but were unable to locate the puck. The positional discipline evaporated as the league’s top team simply stayed back in the neutral zone to thwart any potential rush and then countered when they regained control.

Vasilevskiy posts back to back shutouts, sets a franchise mark as Lightning down Canadiens 3-0 [Raw Charge]

Tampa Bay entered the second with 20 shots and at the moment of the above tweet they had 32—they ended the game with 37. Montreal’s shenanigans wouldn’t completely go away as Andrew Shaw started a tussle with Anthony Cirelli that saw both players receive a game misconduct. Cirelli received an additional two minutes for roughing when he wrapped Shaw up and took him down to the ice. Note, there were 15 seconds left in the game at this point, but sure Shaw go “send a message” when your team decided to stop playing hockey in the final period after playing a great game for two periods.

Several records were set in last night’s victory:

  • Vasilevskiy now has 18 career shutouts and has passed Ben Bishop to lead the franchise in shutouts.
  • The Bolts continue to set ridiculous standings records, making this season hard to top forever in franchise history, with 92 points through 59 games.
  • Tampa has won five in a row against the Habs. [Insert smirky face here.]
  • Kucherov leads the NHL in multi-point games this season, with 28.
  • At 67 assists, Kucherov is also in line to match the single season franchise assist record (set by Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards) at 68. Maybe next game?

[All numbers neatly compiled by Bryan Burns post-game, thanks Bryan!]

Here are some more takeaways from last night’s game:

The Bolts

Year 2 of the Jonathan Drouin-Mikhail Sergachev trade: An evaluation from both sides [The Athletic, paid content]

Drouin came into a very tough predicament because the whole team was bad last year. He was brought in to drive the offense playing out of position, so it was not exactly the best situation to succeed.

Since then, what saved the day was the Max Domi trade. The Canadiens tried something similar, seeing if a winger who had nibbled at the center position could become a permanent center. It worked with Domi, and it brought Drouin back to the wing. Then all of a sudden, the pressure of becoming a center who could be responsible defensively was off Drouin’s shoulders.

The Lightning’s dominance might cost Kucherov the Hart Trophy [THN]

Kucherov was all-world last season, reaching 100 points for the first time, but could only finish sixth in Hart voting. Hedman received one fifth-place vote, and no other Bolt landed on any ballots – not even the Vezina finalist Vasilevskiy. It was as if they were all killing each other’s votes via their mutual awesomeness.

The Prospects

Syracuse Crunch lose to Rochester 3-2 in a shootout [Raw Charge]

If there can be anything approximating playoff hockey in the doldrums of February, it’s been the recent three games between the Syracuse Crunch and the Rochester Americans. On Saturday night, the Americans edged the Crunch 3-2 in a shootout following another closely contested game. In just over a week the teams have met three times, neither team has led by more than a goal and two of the games took the skills session to decide while the other was a 1-0 regulation win. With the victory Rochester moves back into first place by a single point.

The Game

Let’s talk about the Carolina Hurricanes’ goal celebration, shall we? It’s been awesome, and as a result, certain people from up north have been having a veritable poop fit.

So what do you guys think? Personally, I’m glad my team of choice is making headlines for victories rather than cellies, but these don’t bother me much.