Quick Strikes: Nikita Kucherov first NHL player to 80 points this season

The next closest player only has 73!

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a lead early and cruised to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senator. We failed to sneak Erik Karlsson aboard with us and we forgot goalie interference at the border. [Raw Charge]

A couple shifts later, Mark Borowiecki put the puck into the net for the Senators. However, the referee immediately waved it off as Bobby Ryan helped to pull Domingue around while battling to the front of the net with Dotchin. The officials gathered together to discuss for a moment and confirmed the call. Senators head coach Guy Boucher didn’t take long to challenge the call.

Nikita Kucherov’s two primary assists game him 48 assists to go along with 32 goals this season. Do some quick math, and Kuch is also the first to 80 points on the season, seven morr than thr next closest player (Johnny Gaudreau with 73).

Not bad for a Norse god.

A 5-4-0 record in their last 1 has gotten the Lightning back into the top position in the league, but it’s not inspiring any confidence that this team is a Stanley Cup favorite. [Raw Charge]

The defensive problems seem to have improved somewhat. The team was particularly good at limiting shot danger. That’s a good sign because it had become a major problem in the previous ten games and they made some strides towards correcting it. They aren’t playing as well defensively as they did early in the season but that’s to be expected with Ondrej Palat still out injured. Continuing to trend in this direction would be a good indicator that what we saw from games 40-50 was more of a blip than a new normal.

It doesn’t sound like Steve Yzerman is deadset on making a deal, no matter the cost in order to improve his team. [Tampa Bay Times]

“At the trade deadline, when you’re trying to acquire players, usually teams that are selling are looking for younger players, draft picks and prospects,” Yzerman said. ”At this stage, the young players (we have) on our team we want to keep on our team, and we want to add to that. We’re trying to keep this team together with the hope of improving it.”

The Prospects

Otto Sommpi scores twice amd earns himself first star of the night in a Halifax comeback win over Charlottetown. [Bolt Prospects]

Somppi (pictured) earns First Star for his second game in a row after he scored two goals to knot the game at 2-2 and force overtime. Raphael Lavoie (2019 draft eligible) scored his second OT game-winner in as many games as the Mooseheads gutted out a tough two points on the road. With about 10 games left in the Halifax regular season and Somppi averaging 1.5 points/game, a 30-60-90 season is within reach for the Finn.

The new goaltending duo of Eddie Pasquale and Connor Ingram have been working pretty well so far.

I see nothing wrong with this, What do you Mean?

The Game

Roberto Luongo gave a heart-wrenching speecch before the first Florida Panthers home game since the school shooting in Parkland. It’s only three minutes, watch from beginning to end, this is important.

The Panthers earlier in the day acquired Frank Vatrano from the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick. Are the Bruins selling in order to buy? [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Vatrano hasn’t played for the Bruins in nearly three weeks, and played sporadically prior to that. He was an exciting player in his first go-round with the team, and lit it up in the AHL. By this season, he was on the outside looking in for the majority of the time. He appeared in just 25 games, scored 2 goals and had 22 penalty minutes.

The New Jersey Devils made the first big splash of the trade deadline, acquiring Micchael Grabner from their rival the New York Rangers. All they had to give up was a second-round pick and a prospect. [All About the Jersey]

Grabner is a 30 year old Austrian winger who shoots left, skaters really fast, and has bunches of goals. He leaves Manhattan as the team’s leading goal scorer this season with 25. Sure, 7 of them are empty net goals but I like ENGs in that they tend to seal wins. Like Eric Staal did tonight to the Devils. Anyway, going to New York after a horrid 2015-16 season with Toronto has revitilized his career. He put up 27 in 2016-17, finishing second on the Rangers in goals scored to go with 40 points and 162 shots.

Highlight of the Night: Alex Stalocck showed off some great foodwork but the goalie on the other end wasn’t having anything to do with a goalie empty netter.