Quick Strikes: The Tampa Bay Lightning are four points out of a playoff spot
The Lightning are trending upward in the standings, a couple of former Bolts find the score sheet, and P.K. Subban has an emotional return to Montreal.
With a record of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and a total of 66 points on the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are just four points shy of the wild card position. Nikita Kucherov is a driving force behind the Bolts push for the playoffs. “Kucherov's three point night Wednesday, including setting up Victor Hedman's overtime winner, was the latest example of how the All-Star is playing some of his best hockey of the season.” [Tampa Bay Times]
February was a great month for the Lightning who went on a season-high seven game point streak. Here are the top 10 plays of the month. Spoiler alert: Get ready to see a lot of Jonathan Drouin.
The Lightning face a back-to-back against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Perhaps Peter Budaj will make his debut this weekend. Get to know a little bit more about our newly acquired goaltender. “Peter Budaj put up seven shutouts this season, along with a GAA of 2.12 and a SV% of .917, all career highs.” [Raw Charge]
The Toronto Maple Leafs landed Brian Boyle, but missed out on two other Bolts - Valterri Filppula and Jason Garrison. “Toronto was not on Filppula’s list of approved teams to be moved to. He could block 13. So Tampa would have needed extra permission to send him there. Veterans see Colin Greening, Brooks Laich and Milan Michalek in the AHL, so they believe it could happen to them too. Going into the last year of his contract, Filppula had to be aware of that. Toronto was linked to another Tampa player — Jason Garrison — and Buffalo’s Cody Franson, but there was nothing at the end.” [Sportsnet]
Reminder: Steve Yzerman is a wizard. “It is absolutely mind-boggling how the Lightning look like magicians when pushed into a salary-cap corner. Other teams around the league were licking their lips, thinking they could take advantage of Tampa Bay this summer because of its perceived cap issues.” [ESPN]
Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle picked up his first point as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. “A second-period face-off won by Boyle led directly to a Zaitsev point shot. The Russian’s wrister hit a body, snuck through Quick and put the Leafs up 2-0. The type of play Babcock dreamed about when Lou Lamoriello sought out Boyle and made him shave.” [Sportsnet]
Not to be outdone by Boyle, former Bolt Valtteri Filppula also found the score sheet in Philadelphia. “Just one day after the Flyers acquired center Valtteri Filppula in a trade, the veteran scored his first goal in a Philadelphia uniform midway through the third period of Thursday night’s game to tie the game.” [Bucks County Courier Times]
For the first time since being traded to the Nashville Predators over the summer, P.K. Subban returned to the Bell Centre.