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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay raises the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Champions banner

The Bolts won their fifth game against Nashville this season.

Nashville Predators v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Vince Del Monte /NHLI via Getty Images

On Saturday night, before the game against the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally raised the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Champions banner in front of 3800 fans in Amalie Arena. It was the first game in 12 months with a crowd at Amalie Arena since the balance of the 2019-20 regular season was cancelled. Initially the Lightning unveiled the banner on opening night of the current regular season, but decided to raise it when the fans could see it live.

For this special occasion, the Lightning invited their former play-by-play announcer Rick Peckham, who retired after serving 24 years with the Lightning, to host the banner raising ceremony.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos also addressed the crowd before the ceremony, thanking them for their support during their Stanley Cup run.

Jon Cooper with some emotional words after the game.

Lightning Links

The Bolts continued their winning streak against the Predators with 6-3 victory on Saturday night. Six different players scored for the Lightning. Erik Cernak recorded two assists, he has now five points in four last games [Raw Charge]

The win propels them back into first place with 40 points and a 19-5-2 record through 26 games. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 31 shots to pick up his 17th win of the season and 8th in a row. Tyler Johnson, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn (power play), Brayden Point (on his birthday!), Blake Coleman, and Ryan McDonagh (empty net) all scored for the Lightning. On the Nashville side it was Yakov Trenin, Alexandre Carrier, and Erik Haula (power play) scoring. For Carrier, it was his first career NHL goal. Pekka Rinne only made 22 saves on 27 shots, but without his play, the score would have really been out of hand.

Nikita Kucherov joined the Lightning morning skate on Saturday. According to Julien BriseBois, he’s “exactly on track“ to return for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

After a postponement of their game against the Utica Comets on Friday night, the Syracuse Crunch returned to action with 3-0 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Goaltender Sam Montembeault recorded his first shutout of the season.

Several players returned to the team after their absence, including forward Gemel Smith, who joined the team after the Lightning re-assigned him back to Syracuse.

Defenseman Ben Thomas is now tied for the fourth in the franchise history with 282 games.

The Orlando Solar Bears fell to the Florida Everblades in a shootout, but extended their point streak to eight games.

Hockey News

According to the Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, forward Jack Eichel is out for the foreseeable future.

Per Elliotte Friedman, Bruce Boudreau could be potentially hired as the Buffalo Sabres head coach, if Ralph Krueger gets fired.

The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman Jake Gardiner on waivers with the intent to put him on taxi squad.

The Orlando Reign from the AHL signed Washington Capitals Stanley Cup champion Devante Smith-Pelly to a professional tryout contract.