Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning and Syracuse Crunch both working to not get complacent

Finish strong!

The Bolts

Let’s have a look at how the Tampa Bay Lightning have fared during their seventh 10-game  stretch this season. After a tough February, March is settling in nicely. [Raw Charge]

The last ten games have been an encouraging course correction for the Lightning. After struggling through much of February, they have rebounded and regained some of the form from their early season run. They are generating shots at a high rate. Their defensive numbers are creeping back into the “good” range. Shot share and expected goal share are following suit.

J.T. Miller is doing a Q&A on Twitter on Friday afternoon, be there!

Now is not the time in the season where NHL teams can afford to let mistakes creep into their games, especially the Bolts. [Tampa Bay Times]

But there have been lingering, troubling issues bubbling beneath the surface, and Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to Ottawa provided the needed wake-up call.

”It’s easier for a player to listen to a coach when you give up seven,” Bowness said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, that’s what you were talking about?’ Yeah, that’s what we were talking about.”

Miller and Ryan McDonagh join the Power Play Podcast to talk a variety of things. [NHL dot com]

Ondrej Palat is on the road to recovery, and his return couldn’t come soon enough. [Bolts by the Bay]

Unfortunately, there is a bit of slightly bad news here. At this point, there has been no official word as to when Ondrej Palat will be able to make his return to the ice. According to the man himself, he has not be made aware of any official return date. This means we are in one of those dreaded “wait and see” kind of situations.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch are heading to the playoffs! You may think this news is early, because it is. The Crunch are the second team in the league to clinch a playoff spot, behind the division-leading Toronto Marlies. [Raw Charge]

The Crunch have come a long way for a team that had such a rough start to their season. As of November 7th, Syracuse was 3-6-1-2 and hovering towards the bottom of the both the North Division and the Eastern Conference. It was a long way to fall for last season’s Eastern Conference champions, but with fairly extreme roster turnover and a large group of youngsters - the Crunch has been the youngest team in the AHL all season - it was honestly expected to be a much different season than last.

Benoit Groulx deserves a massive amount of credit for his ability to combine an organizational aim to develop players while also trying to win. He succeeded, clinching a playoff spot with a bunch of kids.

Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk both had multi-point nights for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhournds, but Cal Foote’s late-game heroics stole the show among Lightning prospects. [Bolt Prospects]

Foote scored twice in the 3rd to help break open a 2-2 tie, earning First Star honors while firing a game-high six shots. He also assisted on his brother Nolan’s (2019 draft eligible) 1st period goal. Foote is creeping up on several milestones, so stay tuned to this weekend’s results.

The Game

Calle Jarnkrok was injured in the third period of a game between the NAshville Predators and Winnipeg Jets after a hit from Andrew Copp. He will miss the remainder of the regular season (13 games). [On the Forecheck]

As per usual, the generic “upper-body injury” is being used, which could mean a lot of things. But it definitely seemed like a shoulder and he was reportedly wearing a sling after the game on Tuesday.

It’s worth nothing that the Preds are saying he is out for the “remainder of the regular season” which implies it is not a multi-month injury. If he can return for the playoffs, that would be huge.

The Vancouver Canucks are flying dangerously close to the Sun with conversations like this: “pick the best player available, or fill an organizational need?” [Nucks Misconduct]

This draft could be a huge one for the Canucks, since they are on the verge of making NHL history. With teams behind them closing in, Vancouver has a chance to be the first team in NHL history to finish at 31st overall in the standings.

Bobby Margarita McKenzie says the New York Rangers aren’t finished tearing their team down. Or are they going to start buying? [Blueshirt Banter]

“As soon as this season is over Jeff Gorton is going to be back open for business doing the same sort of sell-off that he did at the deadline. But keep this in mind: Even though they’re rebuilding, they’re not tearing it down and there is an opportunity where if they can sign Ilya Kovalchuk this summer on a short-term deal or Rick Nash comes back or Grabner – if they’re willing to take short-term deals – they will look at plugging a lot of holes with veteran guys.” - Bob McKenzie on NBCSN

Highlight of the Night: I have no idea how [whoever Chicago has in net these days] saw that puck.