-The Tampa Bay Lightning is getting ready to face the Columbus Blue Jackets. From the other side of things,
a dude I have a grudge against so I will not name he- okay, okay, okay Aaron Portzline dished on the Blue Jacket’s drama-filled season in a pay-walled article for The Athletic.
The Blue Jackets were “Jekyll and Hyde,” said coach John Tortorella, but they won seven of their final eight games, including 6-2 over Ottawa on Saturday, to push across the finish line with one final burst.
-Here’s more on Columbus:
#CBJ average game scores for the season. Most impactful skater night in and night out? Artemi Panarin followed by his line mates, Atkinson and Dubois.— Alison (@AlisonL) April 7, 2019
Most impactful defenseman: Seth Jones pic.twitter.com/ElgqljEusd
-Here’s their schedule for round one:
Game 2, Friday 7 p.m.— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) April 7, 2019
Game 3, Sunday, 7 p.m.
Game 4, Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Game 5*: Friday, April 19 TBA
Game 6*: Sun, April 21 TBA
Game 7*: Tue, April 23 TBA
* - if necessary
-Speaking of Erik, he has a general primer on the Lightning’s first round. (pay-walled)
It’s back to work on Monday to start preparation for the opening of the first round of the playoffs, which gets underway on Wednesday. And after waiting until nearly the last hour of the season, Tampa Bay now knows its opponent for the best-of-seven opening round series as old friend John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets will square off against Tampa Bay.
-Here’s the entire slate for the league:
Full first-round Stanley Cup playoff schedules for East and West: pic.twitter.com/3jt2lDat17— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) April 7, 2019
Star center? Check. Deadly wingmen? Check. Solid ‘D’? Check. Elite Russian goalie? Check. But there’s one key difference: this year’s edition is expected to win. Do the Bolts have the spark within to bring the city its first Cup in 15 years?
-Nikita Kucherov has earned the respect of those he idolized in childhood, writes Joe Smith (pay-walled).
Nikita Kucherov grew up with a poster of the “Russian Five” on the wall of his childhood bedroom, but the motivation derived from the Red Wings legends didn’t leave when he closed his eyes.
Kucherov, 25, heard stories about how Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Viacheslav Fetisov were among the pioneers to make the move over to North America from his home country in the 1990s and hoist the Stanley Cup in the NHL. Kucherov imagined himself doing the same thing.
-The Lightning’s season was pretty impressive! Here’s some numbers to knock your socks off:
The Lightning won the Presidents' Trophy by a 21-point margin. Crazy. No one in the cap era has won it by more than an 11-point margin. No one has won it by such a large margin since the 1995-96 Red Wings won it by 27 points.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) April 7, 2019
-Something else that was pretty impressive was Tampa’s penalty kill!
Nice work doing the math! https://t.co/bLLfGWBlc6 lists each team at 85% but rounds up or down accordingly. #Bolts finish alone in 1st on the penalty kill at 85.02%. Columbus is 2nd (85%) and Arizona 3rd (84.96%). https://t.co/g8b5yvh2dw— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) April 7, 2019
-The Lightning organization is a winner on every level, including sled hockey!
Four organizations have qualified for the postseason at the NHL, AHL, and ECHL levels:— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) April 7, 2019
--Carolina (Charlotte, Florida)
--Tampa Bay (Syracuse, Orlando)
--Toronto (Marlies, Newfoundland)
--Vegas (Wolves, Fort Wayne)
-The bane of the Syracuse Crunch’s existence this season has absolutely been the penalty box, a place the team’s players have seemingly changed their mailing addresses to. The players are saying all the right things, but yet penalties keep happening.
From the start of the year to almost the end, Syracuse has been the most undisciplined team in the AHL. Heading into its contest against Rochester on Saturday, the team had committed 403 minors and been short-handed 349 times. Both those figures were league-highs, by far.
-Meanwhile, after that contest against Rochester, head coach Ben Groulx had some rough reality to dish out to his players:
“Bad performance,’’ he said. “When I look at this, I don’t think we’re getting set for playoffs. I don’t think we’re getting set for a long run.’’
And can that be fixed in the final week of the regular season?
”We’ll see,’’ he said.
-The Crunch’s game on Saturday night saw the retirement of a veteran linesman:
-Saturday night was also the Crunch’s Pucks for Paws night, a yearly fundraiser for the Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation.
PUCKS FOR PAWS at @SyracuseCrunch hockey another huge success Saturday night, benefitting Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation. Thanks CRUNCH, all fans, rescues and everyone involved! @CNYcentral pic.twitter.com/du3EgCBpNA— Wayne Mahar (@WayneStormWatch) April 7, 2019
-There’s one more chance this season for Crunch fans to participate in the team’s poker tournaments.
Faceoff against #SyrCrunch players at @turningstone on Wednesday, April 10 at our Knockout Poker Tournament.— x - Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) April 7, 2019
Participants who eliminate a #SyrCrunch player will win that player’s jersey.https://t.co/VLc8VndTNb
-Syracuse’s remaining ‘94 Night throwback jerseys are up for auction.
-Syracuse University has a great women’s hockey team, and the Crunch honored their achievements this past weekend:
The Solar Bears
-Connor Ingram had this highlight-reel save yesterday:
-The Florida Panthers shook up their coaching staff yesterday and fired head coach Bob Boughner and assistant Paul McFarland.
#FlaPanthers fire Bob Boughner and assistant Paul McFarland (whose power play was No. 2 in the league). Team wants to talk to Joel Quenneville officially. Jonathan Huberdeau will play for his 6th coach next year. https://t.co/Dm8dVmrp34— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) April 7, 2019
-Our best wishes go out to Carlo Colaiacovo and his family, including his son, Leo.