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Quick Strikes: Connor Hellebuyck tells story of getting hit in the face with a Nikita Kucherov slapper

The Bolts lost but let’s talk about other stuff.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning
Mar 5, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) leaves the game after getting hit by a puck in the head against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. 
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

If only Dimitri Filipovic didn’t send that tweet, the Tampa Bay Lightning would’ve beaten the Minnesota Wild. Just kidding, we lost fair and square. Matthew Esteves with the details. [Raw Charge]

Overall, this was a tightly played defensive battle for two periods. Neither team gave up much in terms of quality to the opposition and both goaltenders were sharp. The Lightning had the possession edge 51% to 49%, but were crushed in the third period 63% to 37%. Both of Minnesota’s goals were deflections/tips that Vasilevskiy had no real chance on, but the problems that plagued the Lightning this evening showed early.

At least on the bright side, one of our old friends, J.T. Brown got to celebrate a win with his new team last night. We at Raw Charge still love your wife more than you!

Is Nikita Kucherov the best Russian hockey player in the league right now? Well, apart from Andrei Vasilevskiy, I think the answer is damn obvious. [The Hockey News]

His rise to NHL stardom was a rather quiet one, which is understandable given he joined the Lightning when Steven Stamkos was all the buzz. Kucherov had opportunities to play with Stamkos and Martin St-Louis during his 2013-14 rookie season, but he wasn’t showing signs of greatness at that point.

Speaking of Kucherov, Connor Hellebuyck took a slapshot from him directly to the head in their game this past week. Hellebuyck recounts his experience while he clearly recovers from a concussion. [NHL dot com]

A couple days have passed, but Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck still has a noticeable mark above his left eye. But that’s just the way he wants it. ”They wanted to stitch, but I just told them to glue it. It gives me a better scar,” Hellebuyck said with a grin. “I like scars I guess. Glue is faster and I don’t have to deal with needles.”

It’s cool to see Barb Underhill working with the Lightning during the season. As far as what we can tell, this is the first time she’s been brought in mid-season. She and Tracy Tutton are invaluable parts of this team’s success.

The Prospects

A couple days ago, we shared the pictures from the Syracuse Crunch joining Painting With A Twist for charity. Here is a TV spot that was produced from that day!

A lot of players (and staff) from the QMJHL have found themselves on the Syracuse Crunch in recent years. Two of those people have developed a pretty close relationship. Those players, of course, are Alex Barre Boulet and Gabriel Dumont. [The AHL]

“It was easy to talk with them at the beginning of the year because they were speaking my language,” said Barre-Boulet of his fellow French-Canadian teammates. “It’s easier than going in there and talking to someone you don’t know who’s not from the same place as you. We had good chemistry from the start.”

Oh, look. Two all-time legends.

Speaking of all-timers, don’t forget to vote on yours from the Crunch below.

There was a three-way trade in the ECHL yesterday and the Orlando Solar Bears were involved in it (don’t worry, Connor Ingram is safe). Here are the details. [Orlando Solar Bears]

The Orlando Solar Bears have executed a three-team trade with the Fort Wayne Komets and Rapid City Rush, in which Orlando has acquired forward Taylor Crunk from the Fort Wayne Komets to complete the Oct. 31 trade that sent forward Ryan Siiro to Fort Wayne. Orlando has subsequently traded Crunk along with rookie defenseman Myles McGurty to Rapid City in exchange for forward Shaquille Merasty.

The Game

Former Lightning prospect Libor Hajek made his NHL debut yesterday. Here’s how his night went. (I don’t miss him, you do). [Blueshirt Banter]

For the eighth time in the row, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s a heck of a streak. [Pensburgh]

Great to see Phil get off the schnide with a goal. Seemed like only a matter of time and now let’s see if the floodgates open up a little bit for him here in the future. Also, for a 17-game goal drought, Kessel scored his 22nd goal of the year tonight. All things considered, that’s pretty impressive to at least have stocked up goals early.

The Vegas Golden Knights are really loving their new Mark Stone. It’s almost like they drew a sword from it or something. [Knights on Ice]

Fast forward a couple weeks and Stone has already made a noticeable impact in Sin City. The Knights are undefeated since his arrival, winning each of their last five contests. And while Stone hasn’t made the biggest impact on the scoresheet (just a pair of assists in his five games as a Golden Knight), he’s still managing to improve the play of his new teammates.

Fuck cancer.

Highlight of the Night: Chara hit the ceiling there.