Quick Strikes: Lightning prospect Mathieu Joseph wins AHL Player of the Month with Syracuse Crunch

and the Sedin Twins retire after 19 seasons

The Bolts

There is something wrong with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but @GeoFitz4 has a plan to turn them into lemonade. [Raw Charge]

This is a team that has a lot of pride. They haven’t accomplished everything, but they’ve been so close they could taste it. The sting of not even being in the running last season gave this group a tremendous, collective chip on their shoulders that drove them in their off-season training, training camp, and the first couple months of the season.

Jon Cooper and the team are telling you to quell your fears of Steven Stamkos’ injury, he’ll be fine. [Tampa Bay Times]

Cooper said he did not think the injury was related to the one that kept Stamkos out of the March 26 game against the Coyotes. The reason given that day was body maintenance.

Cooper also said this is not a long-term injury and that Stamkos plans to play in the postseason and might even play Friday or Saturday, when the Lightning (52-23-4) completes the regular season with games at home against the Sabres and on the road against the Hurricanes.

First round playoff tickets are set to go on sale this Friday! The Lightning have clinched home-ice in the first round so games 1, 2, 5*, 7* will be at AMALIE Arena, if neccessary*. [Tampa Bay Times]

Games 1 and 2 are expected to be played between April 12 and 15.

If the current standings hold, the Lightning would host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Is this the last tim we play the Bruins in the regular season? Yes? Thank god. [NHL dot com]

Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman will play in his 700th career NHL game tonight provided he’s in the lineup as expected...The Bolts remain in second place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, two points behind Boston (the Bruins have a game in hand)...Tampa Bay is guaranteed to finish no lower than second in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division.

The Prospects

Mathieu Joseph is March’s Rookie of the Month in the AHL. He has 15 points in 12 games for the Syracuse Crunch in those 31 days. [Syracuse]

His three assists on March 17 against Laval were a personal best for the season, and he matched it with another three-assist performance on March 28 against Binghamton. Joseph added a goal and an assist in the Crunch’s 4-1 victory over Belleville on March 30 and finished tied for the team scoring lead during a month in which Syracuse went 9-2-1-1.

A Syracuse Crunch injury update, player analysis, and a standings update (I love looking at the gap between the Comets and the Devils, it’s insane) all in one for this weeks “Crunch Corner.” [Raw Charge]

While the Crunch’s winning streak ended at seven games, the good news is that some of their injured players are back in the line-up. While Michael Bournival remains out for the season and Jonne Tammela, Dennis Yan and Mitchell Stephens are day to day, all of the banged up defensemen are back and playing again which is a good thing for a unit that has struggled at times this season.

Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh have found their way to the second round of the OHL playoffs. Let’s see how everyone’s fared in the past week. [NHL dom com]

Katchouk finished the four-game series with six goals and nine points to lead his Greyhounds in scoring. He posted at least two points in all four of the games, and two of his six goals came on the power play. Raddysh pointed in all but Game 4 for the Soo, finishing the series with four goals and two assists. He scored twice in both Game 1 and 3, and two of his four goals came on the power play.

The Game

Daniel and Henrik Sedin have announced that they will be retiring at the end of this season. They leave behind a legacy in Vancouver as the two greatest players to every don the Blue and Green (and sometimes orange and black). On a personal note, I don’t remember an NHL without the Sedins (who were drafted in 1999) so this is going to take some getting used to. [Thank You Canuck Fans] [Sportsnet] [Nucks Misconduct]

We were blessed. And for a fan base that is used to feeling as though the hockey gods punish us with their every waking breath, to even be able to say this is incredible enough. But we were truly blessed that we have been able to watch these red-headed Swedish twins come over and grow up into Hall of Fame NHL’ers.

Another Swede might not return to a Canadian City, especially after we caught Erik Karlsson picking up the game puck in the last home game of the season for the Ottawa Senators.

Happy Birthday!

Highlight of the Night: Andre Burakovsky gets bonus marks for actually having to kick it to himself. Nice work.