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Lightning Round: Lightning Win, Point is back, and Marchand sounds off

The NHL is back!

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Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Brayden Point came back and did Brayden Point things (seriously, that first goal was a work of art), Max Lagace did just enough to pick up his first win as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Corey Perry came back to haunt his former team. All in all a sloppy but fun night at the ol’ arena. After a slightly longer than expected holiday break, the NHL apparently decided to make up for lost time as the three games played featured a total of 32 goals scored (not counting the one awarded to the San Jose Sharks for their 8-7 shootout win against the Arizona Coyotes).

Some fun facts from the game last night:

Ondrej Palat scored his team-leading 5th game-winning goal of the season

After an 0-2-1 start at Amalie Arena, the Lightning have gone 11-1-1 in their own barn, highlighted by an on-going seven-game winning streak

Victor Hedman had two assists on the night and is now leading all NHL defensemen with 33 points.

David Savard scored his first goal as a Montreal Canadien and it was his first since March 30th, 2021. That goal was also against the Lightning.

Max Lagace became the 50th goaltender to play in a game in Lightning history and the 44th to pick up a win. Only 206 more needed to catch Andrei Vasilevskiy. Lagace is now 8-8-1 in his career as a NHL goaltender.

Lightning / NHL News

The Find-a-Ways do it again [Raw Charge]

The Canadiens were slightly the better team at 5v5 in the first two periods and came on strong to start the third with their power play. The Lightning battled hard and got their power play to work to help them keep momentum and tire out the Habs. Ross Colton’s goal was at the tail end of the team’s second power play and wouldn’t have happened without the relentless pressure.

A wild night of firsts down in Tampa [Eyes on the Prize]

Taking the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs to overtime with a roster full of AHL players is a victory in and of itself for the Canadiens. There were also quite a few first NHL goals scored in the game as well.

Timing couldn’t have been better for Point’s return [Tampa Bay Times]

And to think, this was written before he scored twice in the first period for the Lightning.

A look at the roster coming out of the break [The Athletic]

Joe Smith details the uncertainty that was the Lightning’s practice a few days ago when Anthony Cirelli was pulled from practice and one net was guarded by a shooter tutor instead of a live body. He also dropped a note that Erik Cernak still hasn’t started skating and is considered week-to-week at this point.

Syracuse Crunch sign Jimmy Poreda to PTO [Syracuse Crunch]

With Hugo Alnefelt and Max Lagace in Tampa, the Crunch once again turned to the ECHL to fill a hole in their roster. Poreda has most recently played for the Worcester Railers posting a 1-2 record, 3.38 GAA, and .899 SV%.

Team USA forfeits game against Switzerland [ESPN]

With two team members testing positive, Team USA entered a “mandated team quarantine” which forced them to forfeit their preliminary game against Switzerland. The game goes into the record book as a 1-0 win for the Swiss. The Americans are scheduled to play Sweden later today. A determination on that game will take place after another round of testing.

Brad Marchand speaks out about the NHL not participating in the Olympics [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

When the decision came down from the NHL and NHLPA to not send players to the Olympics, the NHLPA statement was a rather bland ode to the importance of an 82-game NHL season. It was rumored that the players weren’t happy about the speed at which the two organizations backed out of participation and Marchand pretty much confirmed it by saying the quiet part out loud. Good for him for speaking up.

The most indispensable player for all 32 teams in the NHL [ESPN]

If you thought it was anyone other than Andrei Vasilevskiy I would think you haven’t watched much Lightning hockey over the last few seasons. “No one can do what Vasilevskiy can do.” Amen.