Trade Deadline Update
Yesterday was a day for AHL trades. The Lightning swapped high end forwards with the Florida Panthers sending Danick Martel to the Springfield Thunderbirds in exchange for Anthony Greco who will join the Syracuse Crunch. Both players have a good track record of producing in the AHL but both are also seen a slight downtick in their production this season. This is likely a change of scenery move by both AHL squads looking to jump start their teams.
The other big AHL trade on the day was the Montreal Canadiens acquiring Jake Lucchini and Joseph Blandisi from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Phil Varone and Riley Barber. The teams AHL affiliates are the Laval Rocket and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins respectively.
No deals got done in the NHL but we did a couple indications that a couple former Lightning players might soon be on the move. First, the Devils put goalie Louis Domingue on waivers, which could be a precursor to a move to a team looking for goalie depth for a playoff run. Then, the Ottawa Senators kept forward Vladislav Namestnikov out of the lineup as a precaution to prevent any risk of injury ahead of Monday’s deadline.
I’ve always liked Namestnikov’s game and had the Lightning not already traded for Blake Coleman, I would have advocated bringing Vladdy back to Tampa. But Coleman is a better player under contract for another season at an affordable cap hit so unfortunately, I don’t think a reunion would make much sense anymore.
Lightning Org News
The Lightning’s franchise record 11 game winning streak ended in Vegas last night as the Golden Knights secured a 5-3 win. The only good news was the power play finally broke out of its slump with the Steven Stamkos scoring two goals on the advantage. Check out Hardev’s recap for all the details.
The Lightning gave up three killer goals before and after the second intermission. First, Steven Stamkos scored a power play goal to tie the game at one with less than five minutes to go in the period, but then the team immediately gave up a goal to Paul Stastny less than a minute later. Then, right at the top of the third period, the Lightning gave up goals to Ryan Reaves and Max Pacioretty. Reaves’ goal was 10 seconds into the period and Pacioretty’s came 47 seconds in. From there, it was a 5-2 game with all the momentum in Vegas’ favour, the game was done.
Other Hockey News
Among Atlantic Division contenders, the Lightning and Florida Panthers lost out west to the Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings respectively while the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs won big games over the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs win put them two points ahead of the Panthers who still have a game in hand. The Lightning’s loss kept them three points back of the division leading Boston Bruins who will have a chance to extend that lead further against the Calgary Flames tonight.
This weekend, the Bruins will play a back to back starting with tonight’s game in Calgary followed by a Saturday night game in Vancouver. That will again create a schedule imbalance between themselves and the Lightning resulting in Tampa having anywhere from 1-2 games in hand depending on the day over the next couple weeks.
In the Canadiens win over the Caps, Alex Ovechkin moved one step closer to history scoring his 699th career goal. Ovi will get two chances this weekend to become the first player to reach the 700 goal plateau since Jaromir Jagr. The Caps face the Devils on Saturday afternoon and the rival Penguins on Sunday afternoon on national television. In terms of spectacle, that would certainly a nice scene for an historic goal.