Quick Strikes: Lightning hockey makes Cap smile again

First in league (that would be our team) meets fourth in league (the Avs) in our home arena tonight.

The headline

Did you guys watch the Avengers: Endgame trailer yesterday too? I watched it and felt deeply emotional, the kind of feeling I get when an energetic rookie like Mathieu Joseph scores a goal and celebrates hard. It’s difficult not to feel the heartstrings tug when Captain America sheds a tear for the state of the decimated world, and Peter Parker and Shuri both scroll past on the list of evaporated supers. But we are here for hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning are still on top of the world, and there’s going to be a fun match tonight against fourth-in-league Colorado Avalanche. Even Cap would crack a smile for that!

In case you missed it:


The Bolts

Wanna see how the Denver Post characterizes us? Avalanche at Lightning: Five things to know as Colorado battles the NHL’s best team on Saturday [Denver]

The offense’s high ceiling. Though Colorado (17-7-5) gave up a six-spot in a blowout loss in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Avalanche have also proved capable of pouring in an onslaught of goals. Colorado’s scored six or more goals six different times, tied with Calgary and Tampa Bay for a league high.

Reading up on the rookies is so much fun. I might enjoy Joseph as much as Saima enjoyed Point, his rookie season: For Lightning’s Mathieu Joseph, life in the fast lane finds another gear [Tampa Bay Times]

Joseph was apparently born with afterburners. No one has ever set up a match race between him and teammate and budding superstar Brayden Point, who scored his 21st goal Thursday. But the consensus seems to be Joseph can stay with Point north-south, straight ahead, but Point would get him in the turns. I’d pay to watch it.

Speaking of Point! Here’s Lauren with a good Point take: Lightning’s Point Deserves to be All-Star [THW]

Of all the top players in the league, Point has the ability to change the outcome of a game this season. It doesn’t matter who he plays with, whether it be Steven Stamkos or Kucherov, there’s no stopping the 22-year-old phenom.

Always good to think ahead: How the Seattle expansion draft in 2021 could impact the Tampa Bay Lightning [The Athletic, paywall]

There’s a question, however, whether teams will be willing to give up as much to Seattle as they did to Vegas, knowing how much the Golden Knights took advantage of the process. But Vegas GM George McPhee told The Washington Post that Seattle could benefit from the same issues that’ll face the Lightning and plenty of other teams in the protection dilemma: cap crunch and deep rosters.

Speaking of history, I have been enjoying Geo’s takes on it: Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Mulligan: The 2009 NHL Entry Draft [Raw Charge]

In this parallel universe where the Lightning get to make the perfect picks, this draft class would be amazing! Victor Hedman was obviously worthy of his selection at 2nd overall. But we also got to take two other top four defensemen, a great two-way second line center, a couple of middle-six scoring forwards, and a couple of bottom six forwards. Not bad. Not bad at all. Or it would have been, if the Lightning could have been perfect.

And if you read nothing else today, read this: Tampa Bay Lightning ten-game report: another November reign [Raw Charge]

Domingue has been mostly solid during this stretch of play. And considering the workload he’s carried, that’s impressive. He’s been above average in almost every game at 5v5 and hovering near average in almost every game in all situations. He had back to back rough nights toward the end of his start streak but has bounced back with good showings in his last two games. League average or slightly below is the best the Lightning could hope for from Domingue and so far, they’ve gotten exactly that on most nights.

The Prospects

Stephens’ return helps keep Syracuse Crunch on a roll [Syracuse.com]

Carter Verhaeghe added a goal and two helpers and Alex Barre-Boulet, Cory Conacher and Dennis Yan also hit twine for the Crunch. Goalie Connor Ingram made 18 saves for his AHL-leading fourth shutout of the season.

The Game

Even though I’m sick of celebrating youngsters, Craig Custance writes a solid article -- Hockey’s Top 40 under 40: The coaches, executives, scouts and negotiators shaping the NHL’s future [The Athletic, paywall]

Take Lightning GM Julien BriseBois, for example. He’s viewed as a rising young star in the GM ranks, now that he’s taken the reins from Steve Yzerman. But it’s taken him nearly two decades with NHL teams to get to this point. He’s too old for this list. He’s kind of like the band that hits No. 1 on the charts as an overnight sensation, only they’ve been together since 1998.

So how will Seattle work with the AHL? AHL FRIDAY WITH PATRICK WILLIAMS: Seattle scouting for AHL affiliate [eprinkside.com]

Making it 32 AHL teams is the next step. Even before the official acceptance into the NHL fraternity, the Seattle group had started to examine its AHL options. Now with an NHL team in hand officially, that business will intensify.

Imagine if the possibility of punching a supervisor was in your wheelhouse at work? Blackhawks prospect Artur Kayumov punches KHL referee [SCH]

Kayumov, who is in his first full KHL season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, drove Jokerit defenseman Jesper Jensen into the boards. Jokerit’s Maki Tomi then went after Kayumov, who punched a referee that was trying to break up the scuffle.