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Quick Strikes: Nikita Kucherov runs away with Art Ross and most productive Russian of all time honors

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Playoffs, here we come!

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
Apr 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates with goaltender Edward Pasquale (80) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning closed out their season in style, beating the Boston Bruins 6-3 for their 62nd win of the season. Not only did they tie the all-time single season wins record, Nikita Kucherov joined them with 128 points on the season, earning himself the Art Ross trophy and the title of being the highest-scoring Russian in a single season ever. [Raw Charge]

It was also a game of almost-milestones for several Lightning players as well. Anthony Cirelli finished the regular season with 19 goals. Cruel. Tyler Johnson with 29 goals. Ouch. Braydon Coburn also finished the year with 4 goals and 19 assists. Heart breaking. Steven Stamkos ended the season with 98 points. Argh. But hopefully the post-season’s Cup run will be more than enough to forget these near misses.

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In some salary cap housekeeping, the Lightning will not have any performance bonuses carry over to next year’s cap. This is very good news because the Lightning will need to save every penny on the cap next year.

We will know the playoff schedule for the first round at 10am, but for now, all we know is that game one against the Columbus Blue Jackets will be either on Wednesday night or Thursday night. According to John Shannon of Sportsnet, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs start on Thursday, while the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders begin on Wednesday. The Lightning will go up on the same night as one of those two.

The Prospects

After clinching home ice in the first round the night before, the Syracuse Crunch lost 5-2 to the Rochester Americans in a chippy game. [Raw Charge]

With a chance to come within a point of clinching the North Division title, the Syracuse Crunch wilted under the offensive pressure of the Rochester Americans in a 5-2 loss on home ice Saturday night. The Amerks scored the first five goals of the night as they outshot a disinterested Crunch squad 30-11 over the first two periods of the game. A late second period goal by Alex Barre-Boulet and an early third period goal by Dennis Yan made the score a little more respectable than it should have been.

And this video was pretty funny.

The Game

Two things from Saturday night.

One, it was the one year anniversary of the fated Humboldt Broncos bus crash that took the lives of 16 of our hockey family. All throughout Saturday, people and teams around the hockey world remembered.

Second, Bob Cole called his final hockey game. For 50 years, he was the bard of hockey in Canada, and the moments he gave the fans up there is hard to express or replicate. Thank you, Bob, for the memories.

Below are a few tributes to his career. If you have time, I highly encourage you to watch them all. Bob is a legend.