Quick Strikes: Gourde hits 100 NHL points in 14th straight Lightning victory

Last night’s game against the Canadiens was no fun for the goaltenders, but at least the players had a good night?

The Headline

Way to go, Pumpkin! You can read our happiness about Yanni Gourde’s affordable contract way back on November 2 over here.

You can read about what a nice guy Gourde is here:

And you can relive the accomplishment here:

The Bolts

So, that sure was a game. Here’s the recap, and the team has hit their 14th victory in a row, even if it was not the prettiest game for goaltending.

Gourde was not the only player to achieve a personal milestone. Nikita Kucherov is following in fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin’s footsteps to have yet another multiple point streak of 10 or more games.

And here’s some more news...

Lightning GM Julien BriseBois address team’s status [Tampa Bay Times]

”What’s really impressed me is everyone seems to have come back better. We were a good team last year, but individually, if you look at the players, they’re all better than they were last year. That’s why the team, even though our record is identical to the one from last year, the team is better than our team last year.”

Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov gets MVP vote at NHL’s halfway point [Vegas Review Journal]

Kucherov leads the league in points (61) and is tied for first in assists (44), making him the engine that helps the Lightning’s top-ranked offense go. The 25-year-old finished sixth in the Hart voting last season.

Lightning GM not concerned about Point getting offer sheets [The Score / Joe Smith tweet]

GM Julien BriseBois held court for half hour. Lot of good stuff. BriseBois said he’s “not concerned at all” about potential offer sheets this summer, on Brayden Point. Will find a way to keep the player. No talks until this summer though.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Nikita Kucherov always turns things around [Puck Prose]

The biggest reason for the Lightning’s current success is the powerplay. Kucherov leads the league with 22 power play points and his team has an NHL-leading 29.8% conversion rate. Their power play is a strong blend of speed and skill, and their ability to control the puck is simply unmatched right now.

And of course:

Tampa Bay Lightning assign Slater Koekkoek to Syracuse Crunch for conditioning [Raw Charge]

Koekkoek’s career hasn’t gone the way he or the team would have hoped, and he seems unlikely to have an opportunity to change that this season. This conditioning stint gives him a chance to play at game speed, maybe regain some confidence, and hopefully return to the Lightning more ready to play should the team need him.

The Prospects

Justin’s recap is here.

Unfortunately, like the previous two leads, this one would evaporate for the Crunch as well. Three minutes later Valleau attempted to clear the puck out of his zone. He was unsuccessful. Jonathan Ang picked it off and was streaking towards the net when he was tripped up by Slater Koekkoek. A penalty was going to be called, rightfully so. All the Crunch had to do was touch the puck. Alas, Paul Thompson (not a member of the Crunch) was the first one to do so and he fired it past Pasquale right before crashing into the netminder and sending him into the back of the net.

Allovimo says, second time in three years:

The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs played the Islanders last night, and with Freddie Andersen out with an injured groin, Garrett Sparks got the start. This was suboptimal, and the team quickly sank into a 4-0 hole — and stayed there. Earlier in the day, however, the Leafs made a move to shore up the net:

In other big stories of the weekend, the Dallas Stars’ SBNation site had a very even-handed reaction to yesterday’s addled news. Opinion: Stars Have Bigger Problem Than Benn and Seguin’s Play [Defending Big D]

Personally, I’ve never seen a manager publicly humiliate an employee and have that employee’s performance actually improve. Usually, the manager or the employee (or both) find a new position for themselves relatively soon after the incident. It’s something that is very difficult to move past, even if the criticism is warranted.

And Tyler Seguin sounded mature and responsible in his reaction. This proves that he loves hockey more than his ego, and perhaps the organization can shut the front door a little about their own feelings toward him? Or ugh, maybe when Seguin’s SH% regresses to the mean, they’ll think this technique of yelling via media actually works?