Quick Strikes: Two in a row for Stamkos’s birthday

Bolts win consecutive games for the first time since December, and it feels good.

The Bolts

Watch: Kucherov scores 20th, 21st goals of season in win. Nikita Kucherov reaches 20 goals for the third straight season. [Raw Charge]

Worth reading today: Raw Charge’s game recap is here, Tampa Bay Times’ is here, Lightning Insider’s is here!

When people see Steve Yzerman talking to his fellow GMs, it makes the news. Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman watching Anaheim Ducks -- 30 Thoughts. "We know whom the Avalanche have available. Who would the Lightning offer to ease their cap crunch? I’ve got a better chance of getting Donald Trump off Twitter than finding the answer from Steve Yzerman. Still, those are sensible trade partners." [Sportsnet]

Drouin scores a clever goal, takes a huge hit. "Jonathan Drouin has a knack for scoring the sort of ludicrous goals that just a select few other players could even hope to match. Unfortunately, he’s also absorbed his fair share of huge hits, sometimes in the same games." [NBCSports]

Take a seat: Syracuse Crunch giving fans a chance to buy part of 'Slap Shot' set. "The Crunch is holding 'Slap Shot' night on March 31. Parts of that movie were filmed in the team's War Memorial. As part of the promotion, the team will sell off the original blue and orange steel-cushioned arena seats that were in place when the movie was shot in 1977. The seats were replaced in 2009." [Syracuse]

A deeper look at the Tampa Bay Lightning struggles. "Let’s start with the obvious. Tampa Bay has suffered a lot of injuries this season. Thanks to a cool tool from NHL Injury Viz, there are lots of different ways to visualize just how bad things have been, but the charts below are probably the most instructive." [Sports Illustrated]

The League (mostly just the Bruins, today)

Babcock weighs in on Julien: 'Hell of a coach.' "'Good man. Even better coach. Someone out there is happy today,' Babcock told the media with a smile Tuesday morning. 'I mean, you ain't getting better. When you make these decisions, you better have a guy in line that's better than that guy. There's not too many, I can tell you that.'" [The Score]

Our comrades up north wrote the heck out of Claude Julien's firing yesterday. From Stanley Cup of Chowder:

The way the Bruins are handling Julien’s dismissal is a complete embarrassment. "Whether or not Julien was the man for the bench job is a matter of opinion, really. Some say he’s been given nothing to work with and has done a decent job with limited pieces, while others say that things have gone stagnant and it’s time for a new voice. What’s really not debatable, however, is that the way the Bruins are handling this termination is embarrassing." [SCOC]

So just who is Bruce Cassidy, anyway? "After a failed stint coaching in the NHL back in the early 2000’s — the Caps can thank him for being bad enough to draft Alexander Ovechkin, is the tl;dr of his time there — he worked as an assistant in Chicago for a few years before going to Kingston in the OHL, coaching there successfully for a season before being let go in his second season." [SCOC]

Bruins eliminated from the 2016-2017 NHL Playoffs. "And with the firing of the head coach, as with all frustrating, disappointing seasons coming to an end, the Boston Bruins have missed the NHL Playoffs for the 3rd consecutive time." [SCOC]

PPP wrote a hilarious letter to Bruins fans. It was not very loving or kindly, despite the headline: A Letter To Our Friends The Bruins. "Never mind that Tuukka Rask was having a down year compounded by the fact that your backup goalie is [checks notes again] Zane McIntyre?  Wasn't that one of the original Power Rangers?  Only he can save the Bruins from Rita Repulsa!" [PPP]

And SCOC responded. A Letter To Our Friends The Maple Leafs. "The Leafs are a young and sexy team, no doubt. If the NHLPA published an equivalent to Maxim, your entire 20-man lineup would be included on the cover. Hell, I have an erection just thinking about it right now." [SCOC]

Aaaaand some cuteness. A Letter To The Joe: Thank you for making this Michigan kid's dreams come true. "I'm only 19 years old now, and it feels so weird to be saying goodbye to you." [Zach Werenski]