Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning stumble home after 8-game road trip

A Dan Girardi Ryan McDonagh reunion might be on the horizon

The Bolts

Connor McDavid scored three, and then Chris Kunitz knocked another one in for him for a dominant four-goal evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning. [Raw Charge]

The rest of the game was mercifully uneventful. The Lightning will want to forget this performance. No teachable moments here. Nothing to learn. Just forget it and move on. Nights like this happen in a long season and especially at the end of a long road trip. Expect the team to come out looking to erase all memories of this debacle when the return home on Thursday.

“I’m gonna take the guys off the hook on this one. It’s been a grind, we just finished an 8-game road trip.”

@ElSeldo hopped onto Charged Up: a Raw Charge podcast with @mattesteves89 to discuss the Lightning’s prospects....and Erik Karlsson. [Raw Charge]

Dan Girardi was back on the ice yesterday morning after missing two games due to a lower-body injury, says he hopes to be in a game by the end of the week. [Tampa Bay Times]

“I’ll be back as soon as possible, but I’ve got to make sure everything feels right,” Girardi said. “Especially this time of year, it’s a tough time of year, want to make sure everything is feeling good going into the playoffs. Don’t want anything nagging going into playoff time.”

A reminder to adjust your weekend accordingly.

Is Ryan McDonagh a fit for the Tampa Bay Lightning as a deadline pick-up? [Tampa Bay Times]

McDonagh, 28, has a manageable $4.7 million annual cap hit through next season, and the Post reported the Rangers could be willing to assume half of it to maximize return. The Lightning has a strong prospect pool (and all of its picks the next three seasons), which could be enticing to the rebuilding Rangers.

The Prospects

This is the first time in a long time that the prospects of the Tampa Bay Lightning have who have graduated up to the AHL have made such an impact in their first year. It’s quite impressive. [Raw Charge]

While the Lightning have been lauded for their drafting under Steve Yzerman and Al Murray, it hasn’t been often that the Lightning have had professional rookies with the Crunch that dominated in the AHL in their first year. Some of this has been that players have either made the jump straight to the NHL, like Jonathan Drouin and Brayden Point, or have had players that have taken longer to develop before making the jump, like Jake Dotchin and Matthew Peca.

Happy belated birthday to one of the most dominant players for the Crunch in the past month with 17 points in 15 games dating back to New Years Eve.

Catch up on the week that was with the Syracuse Crunch. Not to be a party pooper, but Utica. [Raw Charge]

Due to the All Star break, there wasn’t much action this week for the Crunch. There were just two games on the calendar, a home-and-home with the Utica Comets on Friday and Saturday. It was a big two game series, though, as Syracuse entered the weekend with just a three-point lead over Utica for third place in the North Division.

Unfortunately, that led would disappear by Saturday night as the Comets took both games and leapfrogged the Crunch in the standings.

The Game

Congratulations to Dan Hamhius on playing his 1000th NHL game. “Players never talk about how much money you made in a lifetime, but they do ask how many games you played.” - Jeff Marek (I may be paraphrasing in some places but you get the jist). [Defending Big D]

“Brad Marchand is tired of being labelled a goon” snort [NBC Sports]

Brad Marchand wants you to know he’s trying.

He’d like you to know that he’s a changed man (despite his recent five-game suspension for a brutal and needless elbow to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson).

Who do you still have as your leaders in end-of-season trophy voting. Better have some Bolts in there, Greg. [ESPN]

There’s a bit of inevitability creeping into Kucherov’s candidacy, which was evident when the PHWA recently voted the Lightning winger as the top Hart candidate in its midseason awards. The Lightning are the best team in hockey; Kucherov has 66 points in 52 games for a 1.27 point-per-game average. So it goes.

Highlight of the Night: Sorry Lightning fans, but it’s you.