Quick Strikes: Lightning players advance to IIHF Worlds Quarterfinals

The Tampa Bay Lightning may host the 2018 All-Star Game (yes please!), Cooper discusses coaching Team Canada, and all of the Bolts advance to the Quarterfinals at Worlds.

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly hosting 2018 NHL All-Star Game. “Amalie Arena is one of the five largest venues in the NHL and has gone through some extensive renovations since Jeff Vinik purchased the team, and due to Vinik’s investment was named the best sports franchise by ESPN’s Ultimate Rankings in 2016.” [Raw Charge]

Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Bolts in this week’s 30 Thoughts column. “Several NHL scouts came back from the Under-18s incredibly impressed with Finland’s Miro Hesikanen. A lot of the jockeying begins with the third pick, and he is one of the candidates. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if a team like Detroit or Tampa Bay, searching for blueline depth, tried to move up to take him.” [Sportsnet]

Transcript: Jon Cooper says USA Hockey didn't ask him to coach at Worlds. “Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper talks Hockey Canada and USA Hockey, the IIHF World Championships, and missing the NHL playoffs.” [Raw Charge]

BoltsGuy04 stops by with another fan post: Free agents that the Tampa Bay Lightning could pursue this off-season. “Amongst the needs of the Lightning are a bottom-six depth winger or center—one who can provide timely scoring and veteran leadership. The play of Cedric Paquette and J.T. Brown this past season was not where it’s been in year’s past, and a nice addition via the free agent market may be one final piece of the\puzzle that could deliver the Bolts another Stanley Cup.” [Raw Charge]

It's your turn to decide the best play of the 2016-17 Lightning season. “Every couple of days, we'll unveil a new matchup pitting one great Lightning highlight against another. Vote for the one you like best, and the play receiving the most fan votes will move on to the next round.” Voting for the current matchup ends at noon on Friday. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Worlds

With ten members of the Tampa Bay Lightning participating across four teams at the IIHF World Championship, we'll be keeping a close eye on Canada (Jon Cooper, Alex Killorn, and Brayden Point), Russia (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and prospect Nikita Gusev), Sweden (Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman), and Switzerland (Tanner Richard).

Sweden defeats Slovakia 4-2.

Hedman and Stralman were held off the score sheet, but continue to be Sweden’s top defensive pairing. Both players had about 23 minutes of ice time in the victory over Slovakia.

Canada defeats Finland 5-2.

Point scored a goal and picked up an assist. Killorn has yet to score in this tournament.

“When you go down 5-on-3 for a prolonged period of time when the game's in the balance, to kill it off was just a huge energy boost for us,” said Cooper. “Moving forward, we're going to need our PK to be as good, if not better, to keep advancing.” [TSN]

Switzerland defeats the Czech Republic 3-1.

Richard picked up an assist in the Swiss victory.

Russia lost to the United States 5-3.

Gusev scored two goals while Namestnikov and Kucherov were held off the score sheet.  Vasilevskiy allowed four goals - two on the power play and two even strength goals. The fifth USA goal was scored on an empty net.

Vasilevskiy spoke after the game. Official translation by the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, with a few edits for clarity provided by Natalia.

The USA has a really high class team. Our mindset wasn't good, and we took silly penalties. We only held on in the first period thanks to our defense, but the guys became tired. It's tough when you are shorthanded all the time. All the goals were the result of our own mistakes. What's the explanation? Everyone probably thought that we would go out and score ten like we had done with Italy... Obviously, it didn't happen. Team USA has a lot of guys from the NHL and they have shown their level tonight. This should be a lesson for us.

Photos from the Russia-USA game courtesy of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the IIHF.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch face the Toronto Marlies in a crucial Game 7 tonight.

“I think we're up for a challenge,” [Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit] Groulx said. “I think we feel good about ourselves, going into that game seven. Not only because we're at home, but because of the way we played last night, because of the way we played in game five. I think our game is getting better. I really liked what I saw last night.” [Syracuse.com]

Anthony Cirelli is looking forward to representing the Erie Otters at the Memorial Cup Tournament. “They've been welcoming me and the entire team. So, fans are unbelievable here. So, I think it's going to be loud and I think it's going to be pretty exciting.” [YourErie.com]

The Game

Marc Savard opened up about his struggles with concussions. “I had experienced three or four minor concussions before, but nothing like this. That was the start of some really dark days. It’s a part of my life that I don’t really like revisiting too often, but I’m telling my story today for anyone who might be going through a similar kind of hell.” [The Players’ Tribune]

The Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. The Predators lead the Western Conference Finals 2-1.

Nashville’s anthem singer is upset that country music superstars are singing the national anthem at Predators home games. “One of the coolest things about the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup Playoff run is that a galaxy of country music stars are on the bandwagon... Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum have been among the surprise guests. Everyone really digs it. Everyone except Dennis K. Morgan.” [Puck Daddy]

The Vegas Golden Knights have an AHL team!  “American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs, and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history,” Golden Knights general manager George McPhee said in a statement. [Chicago Tribune]