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Lightning Round: Crunch win in Providence

Syracuse Crunch Gage Goncalves (39) sporitng a protective cage before a face-off against the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action in the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica, New York on Saturday, December 16, 2023. Syracuse won 2-0. Photo by Scott Thomas (Scott Thomas Photography)

The Syracuse Crunch made it two in a row this weekend as they downed the Providence Bruins 4-1 on Sunday. Matt Tomkins got back on the winning track with 22 saves while Gabriel Dumont (x2), Cole Koepke, and Felix Robert provided the offense. Gage Goncalves, pictured above, picked up his team-leading 16th assist. With the win the Crunch stayed in second place in the North Division, one point back of the Cleveland Monsters.

The Crunch and Monsters meet head-to-head in Syracuse this Friday, should be fun!

Is Nikita Kucherov having a MVP season right under our noses [The Athletic]

Someone on the national stage is finally putting Kucherov’s name in the Hart Trophy race. If the Lightning do make it to the playoffs it will be because Kuch dragged them there one point at a time.

Phil Kessel still looking for a spot [Pierre LeBrun Twitter]

Mr. Kessel has yet to sign with a NHL team, but the free agent hasn’t officially retired yet. With teams looking for scoring in the second half of the team, might someone sign the three-time Cup champion?

Coyotes’ netminder drawing interest [Kevin Weekes Twitter]

With Arizona still in the playoff hunt it would take quite an offer to pry goaltender Karel Vejmelka away from them, but if they fall off the pace he might be the answer for a team looking to upgrade in goal.

Slovakia announces final U20 roster [Hockey on pribalt.info]

Again, no Lightning prospects to watch, but Isaac Howard’s Michigan State teammate, Maxim Strbak, made the roster. Filip Mesar, the Canadiens 2022 1st round pick, will be one to watch on that team.

Weegar’s surge puts different spin on Flames’ blockbuster deal [SportsNet]

Is it now Tkachuk for Weegar instead of Tkachuk for Huberdeau? The defenseman is starting to blossom offensively and maybe, just maybe might be the saving grace of the deal considering the struggles Huberdeau has had over the last two seasons.

Antti Raanta assigned to Chicago Wolves [NHL.com]

After clearing waivers, the veteran goaltender will be heading to Rosemont to tend the net for the Canes unofficial AHL partner. Carolina has also recalled Yaniv Perets from Norfolk of the ECHL.

Pietrangelo reflects on daughter’s recovery from illness [Zizing them Up]

It has been an agonizing and exhilarating year for Alex Pietrangelo. Sure he lifted the Stanley Cup in June, but six months prior to that he took a short leave from the game to be with his family as his five-year old daughter, Evelyn, dealt with encephalitis. Now, a year later, the Vegas defenseman reflects on her recovery.

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