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Lightning Round: The night of tributes

Jon Cooper coached his 700th game in the NHL

Chicago Blackhawks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Last night’s game was memorable not only because of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s confident win over the Chicago Blackhawks, but also because of the three players, who raised the Cup very last summer, returning to Amalie Arena for the first time in a different team’s jersey.

The main hero of the night was obviously Tyler Johnson. The 31-year-old forward had spent nine seasons with the Lightning, winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021. Last summer he was traded Chicago in exchange of the contract of Brent Seabrook due to the Lightning’s cap crunch. The start of the season in the new team was pretty tough for Johnson, as he had to undergo a neck surgery and missed more than three months. This season he recorded one goal and two assists in 16 games with the Blackhawks.

Johnson received his championship ring earlier in March, when the Lightning visited Chicago, and today was welcomed with a touching tribute and standing ovation in Amalie Arena.

Speaking to the media after the game, Johnson said that Tampa will “always have a special place in my heart.”

The two other returnees haven’t spent as much time with the Lightning’s organization, but still will be remembered by some of the fans. Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh were inseparable for the most part of their careers, playing together in the OHL, team Canada on international level and then with the Syracuse Crunch and the Tampa Bay Lightning. So it wasn’t a surprise they had been traded to the Blackhawks together at the last trade deadline. Since joining the new teams, they received more ice time in the NHL and Raddysh already has five points in eight games with the Blackhawks.

Lightning Links

Speaking of the game itself, the Lightning earned a deserved win against the Blackhawks, defeating them 5-2. Ross Colton scored twice, Nick Paul recorded two assists in last night Lightning’s win [Raw Charge]

On Friday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2, extending their winning streak to four games. Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Ross Colton, and Brandon Hagel scored for the Lightning. Calvin de Haan and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 21 of 23 shots and extended his domination of the Blackhawks with his 13th consecutive win over them (he is 13-0-0 against Chicago). Kevin Lankinen stopped 38 of 42 shots. Tonight was also the return of Tyler Johnson (traded over the offseason), who received a touching video tribute and a thunderous standing ovation from the Lightning faithful.

It was also the 700th game for Jon Cooper as an NHL head coach. He’s the eighth active coach to reach this mark and his 426 wins is the most by any NHL coach through their first 700 games.

Victor Hedman has been named the Lightning’s player of the March. He scored eight goals in 15 games last month.

The Syracuse Crunch lost 5-3 to the Utica Comets on Friday’s night, despite scoring three goals in just 1:55 late in the third period.

The Orlando Solar Bears earned a point last night, losing to the South Carolina Stingrays 4-3 in overtime.

Hockey News

The results of the previous night in the NHL.

Former Tampa Bay Lightning’s player Mathieu Joseph scored his first NHL hat-trick, helping his team to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2.

The Gatineau Olympiques’ Eve Gascon has become the first woman to earn a win in the QMJHL game.

Trevor Zegras scored yet another Michigan goal.