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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning fans are spoiled silly

The Bolts

Remember three days ago? It was Friday and Bolts Nation was losing their minds at the notion that the Tampa Bay Lightning could lose two games in a row — both in extra time so the team still got two points in two games. Fast forward one weekend, and just look and laugh at how silly we sounded all the way back then. The sky is as high as it could possibly be. It’s warm and sunny with a 12-point lead over the next team in the entire NHL.

First, the Lightning walked into AMALIE Arena on Saturday night dressed in black to play the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a hard battle with the two teams going back and forth all night, but eventually the Lightning came away with the win, the first in the new third jerseys. [Raw Charge]

We all knew the days of scoring four to six goals a game was going to end. It’s entirely unsustainable through a full season. However, the slump that Tampa went through after the All-Star break did have some slightly worried. I called the slump weeks ago and had wasn’t worried about the offense moving forward. It’s especially good to see some of the depth scoring come up this game. It was ultimately the deciding factor for the Lightning this evening.

Last night, Louis Domingue stepped in between the pipes for the Lightning and won his 10th game in a row this season, a new franchise record. Nikita Kucherov also had fun on the scoresheet, potting two in what ended up being a very jovial night for the Lightning against the Florida Panthers. A 5-2 win. [Raw Charge]

Before puck drop, the team announced that Ondrej Palat would miss the game and is day to day with an upper body injury. That meant Ryan Callahan got back in the lineup. He took advantage of his chance scoring a breakaway goal in the second period to put the team up 3-1. On defense, Dan Girardi took his turn getting a night off.

Cally’s been in the news lately as a result of becoming a regular scratch for the Lightning. He was in on Sunday as a result of a day-to-day Ondrej Palat injury and completely made the most of it. This team needs Cally. They need his energy, his love, his strength. They may not need it every other night at around 7 pm, but for all the other hours and days not spent playing another team, Cally is invaluable. I really hope we can win him that thing in June, and I hope when we do, that he stays with the organization for a long time.

Watch this video right to the end for a butt-iful celly.

The Lightning are really good at winning. They’re really good at it because they can play the game any way their opponent wants. Trap games, track meets, or heavy, they can do it all. [Tampa Bay Times]

“There are going to be teams that will try to influence you in a physical way, especially if there are situations where they aren’t keeping up or they have to try to slow you down,” coach Jon Cooper said. “One of the big things for us is we have to fight through that stuff. It if means literally fighting, that’s sometimes what happens.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians took a trip to the Bolts game on Saturday. Safe to say he had a fun time. [Tampa Bay Times]

Lightning coach Jon Cooper and Bucs coach Bruce Arians met before Saturday’s Lightning game. The Lightning presented Arians with a personalized jersey, in the new alternate black and grey theme.

“He’s got that old-school passion,” Cooper said. “That’s probably what kept him around the game so long and why he’s had so much success. In meeting him, I know the Bucs are in good hands.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning also won the Tier 4 AND 5 Sled Hockey Championships on Sunday afternoon. Truly a winning organization all over the ice.

And finally, a shout-out to the Steinbrenner Warriors for winning the Lightning Cup as the best high school team in the Lightning community hockey program!

The Prospects

Unfortunately, things aren’t quite as bright and sunny in wintery Syracuse. The Crunch are on a one-game losing streak, their first in eight games, after losing 4-0 to the Providence Bruins. Is a rebuild around the corner? People should get fired over this. (I’m kidding). [Syracuse]

The Syracuse Crunch’s eight-game winning streak came to an end Sunday as the Crunch was blanked by the Providence Bruins 4-0 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The loss moves the Crunch to 29-14-2-1 on the season and 0-1 in the two-game season series with the Bruins.

I know that was a little sad, how about I pull up another Bolts highlight goal from the weekend? There are a lot of them.

The Game

Brian McGrattan punched faces for a living. Now, he’s doing everything he can to help improve the safety and health of hockey players past, present, and future. This is an amazing read. [Sportsnet]

On Dec. 4, 2008, McGrattan locked himself inside the bedroom of his Phoenix home and called the Coyotes’ trainer to say he wouldn’t be making practice because he was sick. Coming off a five-day bender fuelled by cocaine and whatever booze he could get his hands on, McGrattan called his mom, Cathy, next. “I’m not sure if I wanted to die — I didn’t care,” he says, now. The realization scared the daylights out of him. He told Cathy: “I need to get some help.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs power play sucks. [Sportsnet]

We all feel like idiots trying to make sense of the ineffectiveness of Toronto’s stacked-up power play. Three 30-goal centremen, a winger who’s putting up primary assists like Magic Johnson in his prime, and the NHL’s second-highest-scoring defenceman keep drawing blanks.


Highlight of the Night: Reflexes of a cat, this one.

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