Quick Strikes: How should the Tampa Bay Lightning handle their goalies?

And go read our article on the KHL if you haven’t!

The Bolts

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Louis Domingue, Peter Budaj, Eddie Pasquale, Connor Ingram. How will the Lightning fit all these players onto two rosters? [Raw Charge]

The Crunch have three games back-to-back-to-back this weekend and they have three goaltenders. So the math works out pretty well. Budaj will most likely play in one of those games just to make sure all the kinks are worked out before he catches a flight (hopefully) back to the sun and fun of Tampa. It’s when he leaves that the numbers don’t quite work out for the Lightning and the Crunch. They’ll simply have too many healthy goaltenders.

This is Vasy’s first NHL season as the bone-fide starting goalie. Has it all been too much for the youngster? [Tampa Bay Times]

Vasilevskiy said Wednesday that fatigue has affected his play. He has given up 68 goals in his past 21 starts, an average of 3.23 per game, after allowing 64 in his first 33 (1.93). Though how the team has played in front of him has a big part in that different.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers won’t see each other for the rest of the regular season. Is there a chance we will see the Battle of Florida in the playoffs for the first time ever? [Sun Sentinal]

“Oh God, you know what, I’ll take anybody right now at this point,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “We’ve got to battle to get in. If it ever did happen, it’s a tough draw for anybody, but I think we love playing against those guys.”

Ryan McDonagh mist likely won’t play tonight when the Lightning face his former team, the New York Rangers. [Bolts by the Bay]

According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper has said McDonagh won’t be returning until the weekend at the absolute earliest. This means, if everything goes exactly according to plan, Ryan McDonagh could potentially make his return on Saturday afternoon as the Bolts take on another Atlantic Division rival, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch met 11-year-old Connor who is battling cancer right now and learned about the “Beads of Courage” program.

Dennis Yan has slowly worked his way from being known as an ECHL guy to an AHLer, he just needs to keep the consistancy going. [Auburn Pub]

Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believes Yan has the tools, but needs to use them each and every game. “I like the skills. I like the size. He’s got to bring it together every day,” Groulx said. “He’s not consistent at doing that. When he does that, he’s a very good player. When he does not, he’s a different player.”

The Lightning have added a shiney new prospect to their prospect roundup roster. [NHL dot com]

Signed on March 1, Alex Barré-Boulet leads the QMJHL in scoring with 109 points in 60 games. His previous career high in points was 89 in 2015-16 while playing for Drummondville. He also leads the Q in goals (51), assists (58), power-play goals (19), and game-winning goals (14).

A deeper dive into the Lightning’s top four prospects. [The Hockey Writers]

When Anthony Cirelli made his surprise NHL debut on Mar. 1, he did more than fill in for an injured Nikita Kucherov. Cirelli had one of the best debuts in Lightning history, putting up a goal and an assist in roughly eight minutes of ice time. During his time with the Lightning, he has looked more than capable against some of the top players in the league.

The Game

The Carolina Hurricanes have fired GM Ron Francis, kicking him upstairs to the position of President of Hockey Operations. The half dozen tweets in this article are must-read. [Canes Country]

Reaction from national reporters tweeting about the shakeup seems to confirm whispers from within the building that Francis and Dundon were not necessarily on the same page. Dundon spoke repeatedly and at length about his admiration for Peters’ job as coach, but whenver the topic of Francis came up, while Dundon offered support for the job Francis has done it always seemed to be less than a full-throated endorsement.

Quotes from Owner Tom Dundon [NHL dot com]

“Since I took control of the team, I’ve had a good chance to be around and assess the operations. There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions.

Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role.”

Amanda — the better — Kessel has ruined everything. [Pensburgh]

On Wednesday, Amanda Kessel, member of the United States women’s ice hockey team who won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics held a Q&A on Twitter and was asked about her brother’s love of the all American delicacy.

David Backes of the Boston Bruins has been suspended 3 games for a hit on Frans Nielsen. [USA Today]

The decision was announced by the league Wednesday, a day after Backes knocked Nielsen from Boston’s 6-5 overtime victory. Nielsen had already unloaded the puck when Backes drove his shoulder into the Red Wings forward, who fell to the ice, left the game and did not return.

Highlight of the Night: a 3-on-5 power play breakaway. You don’t see that everyday. [Reddit]