Quick Strikes: Anthony Cirelli named one of Canada’s top three players at World Juniors

Ben Bishop returns to practice, the Lightning continue to trade players with the Crunch, and Canada defeats Sweden to advance to the gold medal game against the United States.

The Bolts

While most of the attention is on the prospects starring in the World Juniors tournament, there is plenty to celebrate about the rest of the kids in the Lightning system. [Raw Charge]

On the 3rd day of the Steven Stamkos marathon, JustinG. takes us back to Stamkos’ phenomenal 60 goal season. [Raw Charge]

Ben Bishop makes his way back to the ice for practice. He is expected to return in a few weeks.

The never ending carousal of recalls continues as goaltender Adam Wilcox was brought up to Tampa while Kristers Gudlevskis, Yanni Gourde, and Michael Bournival were returned to Syracuse. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

“The American Marketing Association of Tampa Bay will honor the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Award during the Marketer of the Year ceremony on March 2nd. This award acknowledges a commitment to excellence as a local brand in Tampa Bay.” [AMA Tampa Bay]

World Juniors

Team Canada features five Lightning prospects: Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph, Taylor Raddysh, Mitchell Stephens, and goalie Connor Ingram.

Canada defeated heavily favored Sweden 5-2 in last night’s semi-final game. Connor Ingram was pulled less than halfway through the first period after allowing 2 goals on 3 shots. He was replaced by Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart who was perfect for the duration of the game. [Sportsnet]

Anthony Cirelli and Mitchell Stephens played together on one of Canada’s most productive and dominant lines. Mitchell Stephens was the first Canadian to score last night assisted by Anthony Cirelli.

Cirelli would score the second Canadian goal with just 73 seconds left in the first period, allowing Canada to enter the first intermission tied with Sweden.

The chemistry between Stephens and Cirelli offers a glimpse of what the future may hold for Lightning fans. Cirelli has played a dominant game throughout this tournament. He has taken more face-offs than any other Canadian (63) and has won an impressive 69.23% of them. Often those face-offs are in critical situations in the defensive zone or on the penalty kill.

Despite being deployed primarily as a defensive center on an energy line, Cirelli has produced significant offense. He leads all Canadians with seven even-strength goals in this tournament.

His impressive work ethic and consistent play on the ice earned him honors as one of Canada’s top three players in the tournament.

Canada will take on the United States at 8 PM tonight in the gold medal game.

The Game

Troy Terry did his best T.J. Oshie impression as he was perfect for the United States in the shootout, leading them to defeat Russia. [Puck Daddy]

The Nashville Predators come to town tonight without one of their star players. P.K. Subban is expected to be out for a few weeks with a herniated disc. “The good thing is that I’m seeing progress every day,” Subban said. “Getting better.” [The Hockey News]

While many teams remain in the playoff hunt, the Colorado Avalanche (12-25-1) are effectively out of the race this season. They’re willing to sell core pieces, but don’t expect those pieces to come cheap. [Sportsnet]