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Quick Strikes: Andrei Vasilevskiy nominated for Vezina for second year in a row

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And in less good news, the Crunch face elimination in their next game.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

First, it wouldn’t be Easter without posting this photo. Happy Easter, everybody!

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins is today at 3 PM.

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Now that you’re awake...

There are three important bits of news from the franchise today. We’ll do it bad-news-sandwich style, with the bad news in the middle.

First, Tampa Bay Lightning’s netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy, has been nominated for a Vezina Award for the second year in a row. Back when we were young and innocent on March 27 (before our sports world fell apart) we accurately predicted that Vasy, Ben Bishop, and Robin Lehner would be the nominees. Matty wrote:

Is Vasilevskiy’s performance this season worthy of another Vezina nomination?

It’s a toss up between Bishop and Vasilevskiy in my honest opinion. Given the lack of goal scoring in Dallas this season the fact that Bishop has been that good for the Stars while missing time is phenomenal. His easier workload makes room for Vasilevskiy to have a shot, especially since he already leads the league in wins and this award has always leaned heavily on a goaltender with a bevy of wins (thanks GMs). Lehner, in my opinion, has the easiest workload of the three and has split time almost evenly with another goaltender. A nomination is definitely in the works for him, but the Vezina has never gone to a tandem netminder.

Click through to the article to see where Vasy falls statistically in line with other goalies from the 2018-19 regular season.

Here’s the nomination piece from NHL:

Vasilevskiy helped the Lightning tie an NHL record for wins in a season (62) and win the Presidents’ Trophy with 128 points. He led the NHL with 39 wins, tied for fourth with Lehner in shutouts (six), and had a 2.40 GAA and .925 save percentage in 53 games. Vasilevskiy went 30-7-3 after his return from a foot injury Dec. 13, including 10 straight wins from Feb. 9-March 5. He could be the first Lightning goalie to win the Vezina after finishing third in the voting last season.

Second, the bad news. The Syracuse Crunch dropped Game 2, 5-1, to the Cleveland Monsters. They face elimination this coming Tuesday. Here’s the recap from Justing.

Syracuse Crunch lose 5-1 to Cleveland Monsters; face elimination on Tuesday

It was a Groundhog Day-esque performance from the Crunch that constantly saw them have their shots blocked or deflected aside by a cavalcade of Cleveland defenders. Syracuse had little flow to their offense as their passes were often errant and pucks bounced off of their skates or sticks throughout the game.

I felt visceral empathy after reading that recap — Crunch fans almost have to relive the Bolts’ playoffs a week later.

Third, more good news. The Orlando Solar Bears, current home of Connor Ingram and Otto Sommpi, among others, made it through the first round of playoffs in five games. Orlando will face the winner of Florida Everblades vs. Jacksonville Icemen. Sadly, Everblades lead the series 3-2. I am so incredibly sick of playoff series vs. the Everblades, so GO ICEMEN GO.

NHL Playoff recaps

Schwartz has hat trick, Blues eliminate Jets [NHL]

Jaden Schwartz scored a hat trick, and the St. Louis Blues advanced to the Western Conference Second Round with a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 6 of the first round at Enterprise Center on Saturday. St. Louis won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and will play the Dallas Stars or Nashville Predators next. Dallas leads that series 3-2.

This victory was not without controversy:

Capitals score six against Hurricanes in Game 5, take series lead [NHL]

Nicklas Backstrom had four points, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the Washington Capitals in a 6-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Saturday. Washington leads the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is at Carolina on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-CR, NBCSWA).

Bad news for TJ Oshie fans, however:

Stars top Predators in Game 5, take series lead [NHL]

Alexander Radulov and Jason Dickinson each scored two goals for the Dallas Stars when they defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The Stars lead the best-of-7 series and have won two of three games here. Dallas can win the series in Game 6 at home Monday.

Did anyone else totally forget Zuccarello was a Dallas Star?

This also happened last night, and it’s a lovely way to end QS: