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Quick Strikes: Kane, Kucherov, and McDavid selected by NHLPA as Ted Lindsay award finalists

In other news, the Syracuse Crunch are out of AHL playoffs.

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2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Bolts

Let’s start with something happy: the NHL Player’s Association nominated Nikita Kucherov, Patrick Kane, and Connor McDavid as Ted Lindsay finalists.

2018-19 TED LINDSAY AWARD FINALISTS: KANE, KUCHEROV, MCDAVID [NHLPA]

Kucherov is a first-time TLA finalist the sixth consecutive season a finalist has held that distinction. Meanwhile, McDavid has been named as a finalist for a third-straight season after becoming the first player to be voted most outstanding by his peers twice (2016-17, 2017-18) before the age of 22. Kane is seeking his second TLA (2015-16) in four seasons after becoming the only U.S.-born player to receive the award.

The Lightning’s forward future in good hands with hidden-gem prospects Alex Barre-Boulet, Carter Verhaeghe [The Athletic, paid content]

Barre-Boulet, who had attended development camps with Vegas and Los Angeles, saw the success the Lightning had with fellow undrafted, undersized, Quebec-born forwards like Jonathan Marchessault and Yanni Gourde. The three also share an agent in Paul Corbeil.

“It was easy to choose Tampa because of that,” Barre-Boulet said. “When (Corbeil) said, ‘Tampa wants to sign you,’ I said yes right away. I didn’t even think about it.”

The Prospects

Unlike the Lightning, the Crunch managed a least one victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise. Sadly, it was only one. Syracuse’s season came to an end thanks to Brad Thiessen and his ability to keep pucks out of the net. He had 38 saves and rookie Liam Foudy had two goals in the Cleveland Monsters’ 3-0 victory [Raw Charge]

The Crunch will be left to wonder what happened. The most successful regular season team in franchise history could only muster six goals in four games (and only one at even strength) and fell to a Monsters team that didn’t clinch their playoff spot until the final weekend.

Solar Bears, Everblades set to renew April ritual [Pro Hockey News]

For the third season in a row and fourth in five years, the Solar Bears and Everblades will hook up in a best-of-seven series – the second straight South Division finals series between the two bitter rivals – beginning Friday night at Hertz Arena in Estero. On the line is a trip to the Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the North Division finals between Newfoundland and Manchester.

The Game

Do we care? I guess we still care. But first, read @loserpoint’s piece:

A bitter Lightning fan’s guide to the second round [Raw Charge]

Back when expectations for the Lightning were low, this was the most fun time of the year. And this year in particular would have been one of the most fun ever. But instead, this is like living in a Salvador Dali painting. Surreal, wonderful, beautiful, but also terrible and disgusting and I hate it.

So from this extremely unhealthy perspective, here is my rooting guide for the second round of the playoffs.

So what happened in the playoffs yesterday? The Boston Bruins won.

The Blues also won the first game of their series against the Stars.

LeBrun: Breaking down the Bruins-Blue Jackets series with the help of a Lightning assistant coach [The Athletic, Paid content]

“It’s going to be rest versus maybe too much rest,” Richards said. “Sometimes being off that long you can a little rusty. Getting back to being used to the speed and everything else, the physicality, the intensity of the games. Boston played two days ago so their rhythm will be nothing has changed. Columbus has had more time to prepare, they would have prepared for two teams. Boston preparing for Columbus would have created a time crunch for them.’’

Is It Time To Fire Mike Babcock? [Pension Plan Puppets]

The fact is, Babcock is not Kyle Dubas’ coach. He may well respect him, but he didn’t hire him, and there have been signs of friction in the relationship. At what point does he say that for all Babcock’s track record and his ability to stabilize the club as it grew, it’s time for someone who can really put Dubas’ vision into practice? At what point does he hire the coach he can win a Cup with?

Yes, the Leafs have to find someone to replace Babcock, and it’s not a given they’ll find someone better. But they can find someone who has a chance of moving up from this plateau. The evidence isn’t there that that’s something Mike Babcock can do.

Kucherov wants you to see this movie.