Quick Strikes: Please beat the Coyotes

Arizona is one of the worst teams in the league and Bolts are fighting for a playoff spot.

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper isn’t making excuses for his team.  “Just because you're not expected to make the playoffs, does that make it okay if you don't make it? Regardless of how we've gotten here. We can sit here and people say, ‘Well it's injuries or this.’ We're still right there. We beat some pretty good teams with the lineup we have. We need to continue to do so.” [Raw Charge]

Greg McKegg has the perfect quote to describe this up-and-down season of infinite injuries. “‘It's a weird year,’ center Greg McKegg said. McKegg, who started the season with the Panthers, was claimed off waivers Feb. 27. He left one team scrambling for its playoff life for another. Nothing has really changed, he said, ‘just the uniform.’” [Tampa Bay Times]

Breaking down the schedule: Who has the easier path to the final playoff spot? “But based on the remaining schedule, it is Toronto that has the most difficult path to reach the playoffs. Of the 12 games left for the Leafs, the combined points percentage is .576.” [Lightning Insider, subscription]

A few days ago, Andrej Sustr and Alex Killorn took over the Lightning’s snapchat. Here’s a recap of their (predictably amusing) hi-jinks.

The League

Quite a few teams made trades at the deadline. How do those moves look now? “Ben Bishop has floundered. The former Lightning netminder is winless in three appearances with a dismal .884 save percentage and a goals against average creeping into the dreaded plus-3.00 range. The Kings neither need him or want to use him right now.” [SB Nation]

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 19. [NHL]

“Here's a look at the top 20 RFAs-in-waiting whose contract negotiations we're most intrigued to see play out based on their big seasons.” Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson all make the list. [Sportsnet]

Auston Matthews vs. Makenna Newkirk: The case against USA Hockey. “The way that funding and support from USA Hockey currently stands, a woman from Arizona doesn’t just need to be 'devoted to' hockey, or even good at it. She needs money and privilege alongside talent and drive. She needs to be Makenna Newkirk.” [PPP]

I miss Brian Boyle.

Cue the cuteness.

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