Quick Strikes: Bolts win a fun one and the first coaching change of the NHL season

The Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Sunday.

The Bolts

The Lightning won one of the most fun games of the season so far last night. Mathieu Joseph scored his first goal ending the third line’s absurd drought to start the season. Give the coaches some credit for not bailing on that line despite the puck not finding the net until the fourteenth game of the season.

After falling behind late in the game on one of the dumbest sequences I’ve ever seen in an NHL game, Ryan McDonagh and Brayden Point combined to score late tying goal that sent the game to overtime. And once there, McDonagh and Point set up Yanni Gourde for the game-winner. For more, check out Hardev’s roller coaster recap from last night:

I’m going to come out and say it, the better team tonight won. Full credit to the Senators for making it a close game and bending without breaking for as long as they did, but the Lightning were just too good and broke them in a 40-second span following over half an hour of great hockey.

With the Lightning in Montreal on Saturday, Jon Cooper spent some time talking with famed columnist Dave Stubbs about the transition from Steve Yzerman to Julien Briebois. The article gives some insight into how things have gone since the change.

“There’s a difference between Stevie and Julien but the one thing is, the transition has been seamless,” Cooper said. “I know it was never prepared this way, but it was almost as if Steve was prepping Julien for this job. The one thing I really respect about Julien is he didn’t come in here and try to put his stamp on something and say, ‘This is my show.’ He knows that good things have been going on here, he’s just keeping the ball rolling.

The Prospects

The Crunch were off yesterday after beating Belleville in back to back games on Friday and Saturday. That gives the Lightning organization a hat trick of victories over the Senators organization over the weekend.

Before every Lightning game, the social media team asks fans to guess who will score the first goal. Daniel Walcott tweeted at the team and presciently guessed Mathieu Joseph. While Joseph’s goal wasn’t the first of the game, maybe all it took was a little confidence from his former teammate to get him on the scoresheet.

The Game

The Los Angeles Kings are the first team of the NHL season to make a coaching change. They fired head coach John Stevens after a 4-8-1 start featuring a league-worst -17 goal differential. Looking beyond the team’s results, the rest of their numbers aren’t nearly that bad. They’re a middle-of-the-pack team in expected goal share. They’ve been sunk primarily by poor shooting and save percentages at 5v5.

I guess they feel the pressure to succeed this year with an aging roster and the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk necessitated this move. Willie Desjardins will take over as interim head coach. He was once viewed as a top coaching prospect but after a rough stint in Vancouver, his stock fell considerably. In Los Angeles, he takes over another aging team clinging to the success of previous seasons. We’ll see if the outcome is any better this time.

Jewels from the Crown has more notes on the move in their news piece.

The coaching change is official: former Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins will join the Kings as an interim head coach. Marco Sturm, head coach of the German men’s national team, joins as an assistant.

Chris Johnston covered a variety of topics around the league including a suggestion that even if William Nylander sits out the season, the Leafs might not trade him.

It’s something to keep in mind as the Dec. 1 signing deadline draws nearer.

You will start to hear more noise about Nylander being willing to sit out the entire year and play in Europe if the Leafs don’t meet his demands. However, I’m not convinced they’d trade his rights even if that were to happen.

He also wrote that the league is hoping to hold another World Cup of Hockey in 2020. The thing about that is that would be exactly when the next lockout would happen if the league and the NHLPA can’t agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. While the WCOH is an obvious cash grab that stirs little emotion in fans, it’s a cash grab that makes lots of money for the owners and the players. Maybe wanting to not miss out on another big bucket of money will incentivize both sides to come to an agreement without missing any games. Probably wishful thinking.

I joined Back to Excited, the Pension Plan Puppets Leafs podcast to talk about the Bolts, the Leafs, and lots of other stuff. Including why Randy Carlyle shouldn’t be allowed to have a goalie as good as John Gibson.