Quick Strikes: Happy Trade Deadline Day, Erik Karlsson!

Leafs get Plekanec, Bruins get Nash, where’s our new guy?

The Bolts

Today is the last day we can acquire Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators this season. Joe Smith answers the question of who is Erik Karlsson? [Tampa Bay Times]

What makes Karlsson, 27, so special? Two-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Brian Engblom offered the Tampa Bay Times his scouting report of Karlsson, who appears to be finding his game after recovering from a significant surgery on his left ankle last summer.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have blemishes, aspects of their game that you would hope gets fixed with new blood at the deadline. It’s not that simple. [Tampa Bay Times]

In the big picture, this is far from panic time. The Lightning is in first place in the Atlantic Division by four points over the Maple Leafs, whom it faces  Monday in Tampa. It’s encouraging that Tampa Bay is finding ways to win, including sweeping a three-game road trip that concluded Saturday, without playing its best hockey.

The Lightning have been rumored to be in rumblings for over a week now but, officially, they’ve been quiet. On the other hand, their rivals the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs have not.

The Bruins grabbed top rental winger Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

The ultimate goal here is to upgrade the right wing, essentially replacing Spooner with Nash. Spooner was having a nice year, but Nash is certainly a major improvement, especially come playoff time. I know that their scoring rates are similar (both this year and the last couple), but Nash has underlying numbers that suggest he’s a far more impactful player.

The Leafs didn’t end up punching themselves in the gut by trading for Luke Glendening. Instead they bought Thomas Plekanec from the Montreal Canadiens for two “prospects.” [Pension Plan Puppets]

An AHL All-Star one year ago, 23-year-old Kerby Rychel has become a one-dimensional player for the Marlies this season. He regularly plays on the fourth line at even-strength with a specialization of being the net-front presence on the power play. After sporting a career-best season on the second line last year, Rychel has slowed largely in part because of his reduced minutes.

The craziness won’t even be over by 3pm EST because at 7:30 EST the Lightning welcome the (maybe?) new look Maple Leafs to AMALIE Arena. The Leafs are only four points back of the Lightning now with two more games played. Boston has slowed recently, losing back-to-back games over the weekend to fall to five points back with two games in hand on the Bolts. [NHL dot com]

Tampa Bay regained the top spot in the NHL standings following its win in Montreal and has only relinquished first place for six days since Nov. 28, never falling more than one point from the top spot...The Lightning are aiming to become just the second team in the last 81 years to finish with the League’s best record after missing the playoffs the previous season, joining the 1993-94 New York Rangers, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch head into the week having made a big step towards consistancy.

After being on last-place teams at both the AHL and NHL levels, it’s good to see Gabby winning hockey games on the Crunch.

Lightning prospect (but for how long?) Taylor Raddysh had a goal and an assist in Sault Ste. Marie’s 6-2 win over the London Knights. Otto Sommpi had a great night too. [Bolt Prospects]

Raddysh assisted on the game opening goal by Jack Kopacka (ANA, 2016 4th rounder) and then scored one of his own later in the 3rd. Katchouk managed an assist on one of Morgan Frost’s (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) two goals, as the Soo broke open a 2-2 tied game in the 2nd with four unanswered.

The Game

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Staal family during this heartbreaking time. Rest in peace, Hannah.

The “Russians” finally win their Gold Medal. [NBC Sports]

Even though Datsyuk won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and 2008, the 39-year-old said capturing gold at the Olympics in his fifth try was his greatest accomplishment, even in a tournament without NHL players and even when called “Team Olympic Athlete From Russia” because of sanctions over state-sponsored doping.

The St. Louis Blues have hit a major losing skid and now find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. Panic? [St. Louis Game Time]

After many years of winning and the playoffs being a certainty, the Blues were meant to come crashing down at some point. While their 2017-18 playoff hopes aren’t burned out completely, hope is dimming around the franchise as the trade deadline expires in less than a day and March approaches.

Fans are booing. Players are tired of the booing, but have no answers for what is going on.

As previously mentioned before, the BUFFALO SABRES BEAT THE BOSTON BRUINS FOR THE SECOND TIME IN A ROW! [Die by the Blade]

Tonight looked like a tough matchup for the Buffalo Sabres against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins came into the game off a tough loss last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also had their big new acquisition Rick Nash in the lineup. To the Sabres credit, they jumped on the Bruins in the first period. Benoit Pouliot got the scoring started. He picked up a rebound from a Victor Antipin shot for his 12th of the season.

Highlight of the Night: Down 2-0, the Winnesota Wild come all the way back. Did you see what I did there? Win-nesota Wild not Minnesota Wild. No? Okay, I’ll just cut it off here now. Have a great day, all hail Pirate Erik Karlsson!