Quick Strikes: Brad Marchand needs to stop licking people

Syracuse’s next opponent could be revealed tonight.

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning will kick off their second round series in a little over 24 hours (depending on when you’re reading this). How do the Bolts match up against the Boston Bruins? Matthew Esteves takes a look at everything. [Raw Charge]

The biggest question moving forward is how Tampa Bay will play in comparison to the first round. New Jersey was never in control of the series and the Lightning dispatched them in five games. However, the Devils were by no means an easy out. The score-sheet will show Tampa Bay won their four games by a combined score of 16-7 (and lost one game 5-2 with two empty-net goals), but New Jersey had stretches of play where they pushed the Lightning around—especially late in periods.

The Lightning and AMALIE Arena are implementing policies in the club seats. There are a lot of questions surrounding the decision so Achariya broke it all down. [Raw Charge]

Second misconception: You are forced to wear a Bolts jersey in the Club area. False. If you are an away fan, and really really want to sit in one of the Club seats, you can wear neutral clothing if you want. You don’t have to wear anything TBL branded, heck, you can wear a Canadian Tuxedo if that’s what you want to do.

Dan Girardi is a top pairing defenseman. [Raw Charge]

First, let’s talk about what it means to be “top pair.” In the simplest sense, the top pairing is the one that goes first in line rushes. That’s traditionally how coaches communicate where a player ranks among their peers on the roster. Using that as a guide, the Lightning’s pairings are the following...

On the opponents end, Rat Brad Marchand has been asked to stop licking players.

“After Game 1 of the Toronto/Boston series, the Bruins got a, ‘We’d prefer if you could tell Brad Marchand to stop licking people’ phone call from the NHL.” [Sportsnet] [Tampa Bay Times]

After Game 1, Marchand was asked by a reporter, “What is it about Komarov that makes you want to cuddle with him?’’

”He keeps trying to get close to me,’’ Marchand replied, smiling wryly. “So I don’t know if he has a thing for me or what. But he’s cute.’’

Devils rookie Nico Hischier played through the season and playoffs with a hand injury. Makes you think how good this kid is going to be one day. [NHL dot com]

Nico Hischier will have his left wrist and hand immobilized for 2-4 weeks because of an injury the New Jersey Devils rookie forward played through all season.

Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, won’t need surgery to repair the injury, the Devils announced Thursday, but it will keep him from playing for Switzerland at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark from May 4-20.

The Prospects

A good offense with a good goal (or two) will get you far in the playoffs. The Syracuse Crunch are no different. [Raw Charge]

“He’s been awesome.”

That was Coach Groulx’s assessment of rookie goaltender Connor Ingram’s play this season. So he wasn’t worried about the young netminder making his first career playoff start Wednesday night against the Rochester Americans. Ingram proved his coach right as he turned aside 33 of the 36 shots he faced in the Crunch’s 6-3 victory.

ECHL call-up Brendan Bradley didn’t think he would stay in the AHL for longer than one weekend. Well he’s running out of clothes and has to run back home to grab some more. [Syracuse]

Considering Bradley’s hockey history, the modest outlook heading into his first AHL action was understandable. But two weeks later Bradley has outlasted his tryout peers and has become the least-likely regular on a Crunch team that swept Rochester in a North Division semifinal series.

Speaking of needing more clothes, the second round is on the horizon. Game 1 is either in Toronto, or at home against Utica. Tickets for a possibly non-existent third home game will be sold and will be returned [when] the Crunch sweep the second round series too. [Syracuse]

Times and dates for the Crunch’s second round have yet to be determined. Syracuse will take on the winner of the Toronto-Utica best-of-five series, which Toronto leads 2-1.

If Utica wins that series, Syracuse would have home-ice advantage and host the first two games of the second-round best-of-seven series.

If Toronto wins, the Marlies would have home ice and the next series would open with a pair of games in that city.

The Game

With the season over for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Elliotte Friedman digs deep into their off-season to-do list. Lots of questions surrounding their management group, a contract for William Nylander, AHL coach Sheldon Keefe’s future, and lots of cap space. [Sportsnet]

Complicating the process is how the decision affects Lamoriello’s lieutenants, assistant GMs Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter. Both are very valuable. The Maple Leafs think so highly of Dubas that they blocked Colorado from hiring him last summer. In most businesses, that means internal promotion is inevitable — and imminent.

[This is why that statement is wrong, btw. Ugh I hate Toronto media]

The Pittsburgh Penguins kicked off their annual second round series with the Washington Capitals in style, scoring three goals in a row to win 3-2 in regulation. [Pensburgh]

Matt Murray made another tremendous save with two minutes left in regulation. The Penguins were committing way too many turnovers in their own zone, but the Caps couldn’t tickle the twine for the tie.

After dealing with the extra-attacker for almost two minutes, the Penguins were able to withstand the onslaught from Washington and would WIN Game 1 by a score of 3-2. And exhale.

The Vegas Golden Knights are winning the Cup. There’s no way around it.

A 7-0 beating of the San Jose Sharks, the Golden Knights haven’t lost a game in the playoffs. [Fear The Fin]

Ok, everyone take a big drink of your favorite beverage, because this first period was the stuff of nightmares. Coming into tonight, both teams were well rested, riding their respective first-round sweeps. This hopefully indicated fresh legs and a nice jump to the opening frame. One team got the memo, and the other team looked lifeless and lost.

Highlight of the Night: Tuching the puck home.