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Lightning Round: What does it take to score a hat trick in the NHL?

First, your teammates have to like you.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

So it’s Bye Week and the Tampa Bay Lightning players have scattered to various places farther south. But before we use all this spare time to study up for the Super Bowl (GO CHIEFS), take a moment to read through Bryan Burns’ transcription of Carter Verhaeghe’s recollection of his game against the Vancouver Canucks. What struck me about this interview is that despite the usual hockey cliches where a player thanks everyone around himself for his goals and doesn’t take credit for them himself — these cliches are quite literally true. Without the rest of Verhaeghe’s teammates, he would not have been put in a position to get that third goal.

I’m talking about this paragraph from Burns’ piece here:

After I scored the second goal, the guys on the bench, mainly Stammer and Patty, were saying to Coop, ‘He’s got two. Put him out there.’ I’ve played 5-on-3 before, but never in the NHL. Because of the game, the score, we were up six goals, it was kind of like, okay, let’s try and get this guy a hat trick. We pretty much had the game under control. I feel like if it was a 3-2 game, then we’re trying to shut the door and close out the game. There’s no room for error in that situation. You’re not really thinking about a hat trick at that point. But because it was that big a lead, all the guys were trying to get me the puck. To be out there with those special players on that power-play unit, I think I took Stammer’s spot on the 5-on-3.

So for Verhaeghe to get his third goal, Steven Stamkos and Patrick Maroon had to intervene with the coaching staff to deploy him on the 5-on-3. In Verhaeghe’s words, he was put out there in Stamkos’s spot, and then Nikita Kucherov fed him excellent chances to get that third goal. Imagine, though. If your teammates don’t like you or want to support you, you wouldn’t get that hat trick. Team chemistry is a crazy thing, and to see it directly correlating to a player’s goals on ice makes me feel like there are unending things to learn about our sport.

What else is up?

Yet Another Busy Solar Bears Week in Review [Raw Charge]

The fight seemed to spark the Orlando offense, as they rattled off five unanswered goals, four of those in the first period. With Blake Kessel serving a slashing call, Jake Coughler picked up a shorthanded goal to put the Solar Bears on the board at the 6:06 mark. Just over three minutes later, captain Chris LeBlanc doubled the lead with his 11th of the season.

Eh, we know all this but I liked this discussion of faceoff percentages: Bolts Breakdown: Still Winning Heading into the All-Star Break [The Hockey Writers]

As a team, the Lightning went 56 percent this week in the faceoff dot, and they have consistently been in the top half of the league in faceoff percentage this season. They’re currently ninth in the league at 51 percent, but they are fifth in the league on power-play faceoffs at just over 59 percent, fourth in the league in shorthanded faceoffs at 48.9 percent and sixth in offensive zone faceoffs at 53 percent. The importance of winning faceoffs can get lost in the shuffle sometimes, but the Lightning have been one of the league’s best in that category.

I love it when opponents start sounding terrified: How long does it take Tampa Bay to chase us in the Atlantic? [Insecure Bruins Blog]

Tampa Bay, on the other hand, would take care of 16 points. Since the gap between us and them is currently only 6 points and they also have two games in hand, it can be said with certainty that our current form needs to be corrected. Because of this simple math, they would only have a 2 point lead, but with the two additional games this could easily lead to a 6 point lead.

I want more of a discussion of this piece by Greg Wyshynski: Would the NHL standings change with a different points system? [ESPN]

The 3-2-1 points system — three points for a regulation win, two points for a win and one point for a loss in the shootout or overtime — is the methodology championed by standings reformers. Advocates claim it would reward teams that perform best in those 60 minutes of “actual hockey” before the extra-time gimmickry of 3-on-3 and the shootout.

Two media outlets discussed coach changing, Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. Read Shayna’s article if you have access, it’s interesting to see where coaches get scrounged from.

NHL teams are changing coaches like they pull goalies [Tampa Bay Times, paid content]

Longest-tenured coaches in the NHL: 3. Jeff Blashill, Detroit: June 9, 2015. 2. Paul Maurice, Winnipeg: Jan. 12, 2014. 1. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay: March 25, 2013.

Last but not least: