Lightning Round: Brandon Hagel scores a hat-trick on his one-year anniversary of being a Bolt
The Lightning hosted a pre-game ceremony, introducing their Hall of Fame
Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their third game in a row this week, not least because of a strong performance by Brandon Hagel, who scored three goals in the game, including the deciding goal in the third period. For the 24-year-old Lightning forward it was not only his 200th career NHL game, but also the one-year anniversary since the moment he was traded to the Lightning from the Chicago Blackhawks [Raw Charge]
Brandon Hagel finished off his 200th game in style as he made a nice play to dispossess Ylonen of the puck inside the Lightning zone and then slid it into the empty net from the red line. Hagel must like milestone games as he also recorded a hat trick in his 100th career game.
🎩🎩🎩 pic.twitter.com/307cMZR9AO— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 19, 2023
At the time this trade happened, the return for Hagel seemed like an overpayment. Yes, Hagel scored 21 goals in 55 games with Chicago prior to this trade, but giving up two prospects Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh, as well as first-round picks in 2023 and 2024 for a player, who had an unusually high shooting percentage and was in his first full year in the league, still felt like a gamble.
In the first few games with the Lightning, Hagel struggled with the change of the environment. He was no longer playing on the team’s top line and without Patrick Kane on the same line with him, his scoring rate slowed down. He ended the regular season with just 7 points in 22 regular season games with the Lightning. Obviously the pressure was high on him, but he really found his spot in the playoffs, when Jon Cooper put him on the shutdown line with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn. The trio played ten games together and posted a very solid 53.72 xGF% in those games, but most importantly allowed just one goal at 5v5 in more than 100 minutes of ice time together. Hagel also perfectly integrated into the Lightning’s game philosophy and his selflessness allowed the Lightning fans to fell in love with him.
Ondrej Palat’s departure during last offseason opened a spot on the top line for Hagel. He quickly found a chemistry with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point and after going first five games without points, started racking up them consistently. According to MoneyPuck.com, their line generated 55.3 xGF% this seasons and is amongst top-15 lines in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes.
With 59 points in 70 games, he already surpassed his career-high in points and after three goals last night, he also set a new career high in goals scored in a single season with 27 of them and is currently on pace for 32 goals this season. Last night’s game was sixth three-point night for him this season, only Nikita Kucherov has more such games than Hagel on the Lightning roster this season. Hagel also has nine points over his last five games, including five goals in them.
"I couldn't have asked to come to a better place."— Bally Sports Sun: Lightning (@BallyLightning) March 19, 2023
Brandon Hagel is loving life with the @TBLightning as he talks about his hat trick and the win over the Canadiens tonight. #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/seR7Eqj7gr
The first-ever members of the Lightning’s Hall of Fame Phil Esposito, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis took part in a pre-game ceremony.
Absolutely legendary. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/TOmo2qLEd3— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 18, 2023
The Lightning also introduces a Hall of Fame area at Amalie Arena last night.
What a beauty 😍 pic.twitter.com/aTqhlGc1j4— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 18, 2023
Many Lightning alumni participated in the Lightning Alumni Weekend this week in Tampa:
We are SOBBING 🤣 pic.twitter.com/S1KPCVEP2b— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 19, 2023
Hey Bish, ya remember these?? They’re yours! 😉 pic.twitter.com/DmwV41aGKR— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 18, 2023
The Syracuse Crunch defeated the the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in overtime last night. Trevor Carrick extended his goal streak to four games.
Secured the two points.— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) March 19, 2023
📝: https://t.co/VzwAdBC3z7 pic.twitter.com/TrpKXA9Jqu
The Orlando Solar Bears lost their second game in a row against the Idaho Steelheads this weekend.
Final from Idaho. pic.twitter.com/x5JqHy7mEj— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) March 19, 2023