Quick Strikes: Lightning halts Buffalo’s winning streak with a 5-4 win.

The Bolts are now back to first place in the Eastern Conference.

The hottest team in the NHL streaked into Tampa last night, colliding with a Lightning team who were looking to bounce back from their last game, a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Going into the evening, the Lightning had some good news to bolster them: forward Ondrej Palat was ready to go.

For those in Syracuse, they got to see their first glimpse of the future in TampaCuse, with newly recalled goalie Connor Ingram taking the ice for warm ups. Although it’s assumed Ingram has only been recalled so that Eddie Pasquale can go play with Syracuse and get some games in, it’s still exciting to see another prospect/player from the Crunch on the ice with the Lightning.

The first period of the game was a bit intense, a back-and-forth contest that ended with the Lightning up by a 3-2 score. Dan Girardi, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa.

This then happened to Girardi...

...But fortunately he managed to return to the game before the end of the first...

...Unfortunately, then this happened to Ryan McDonagh, who took Giradri’s place in the dressing room:

The events of the first period didn’t seem to please Steven Stamkos (rightfully so, IMO):

By the time the first was done, it felt like an entire game had been played. This was where things stood:

By the end of the game, the Lightning had 5 goals - thanks to Stamkos’ and Cedric Paquette - to Buffalo’s 4, securing the victory.

The win halted the Sabres’ winning streak and moved the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Although Pasquale hasn’t seen any NHL time yet with the Lightning, either, the experience of practicing with the Bolts has been invaluable.

Kucherov is good, you guys.

The Lightning’s depth has long been talked about, and here’s another collection of data to add to the pile: Tampa’s bottom-six forwards are among some of the best in the NHL.

The average bottom-six forward in this tier outscores their opponent 52 to 48 while on the ice (Goal: 52%). It must be a great feeling to know that even your depth forwards can beat up on other teams around the league. It’s one of the finest luxuries a team can have, allowing coaches to get creative with how they deploy their lineup because they know that there are few team weaknesses.

Alan took a look at how the teams in the Atlantic Division are doing now as compared to last season. A lot has changed:

Entering last season, hockey media panned the Atlantic Division as the worst division in the league. That’s not the case anymore. The Atlantic has the three best teams in the NHL in terms of standings points at the twenty-five game mark of the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, and Toronto Maple Leafs would all be in first place in any of the other divisions except for the Metropolitan where the Nashville Predators are currently tied with the Lightning as the second-best team in the NHL.

Tampa’s popular holiday packs are now available, with two different groups of games to choose from. The packs all include a signed puck.

Did you know that Rev Ty, the gentleman behind all those awesome church signs, and Paul Driscoll have a podcast? Here’s Ty’s sign after last night’s win:

Do you live in Orlando (Hi, Acha!), love the Lightning, but hate traffic? Good news! Brightline has received the green light from the state to negotiate for land to add passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa.

Additional negotiations are expected by the privately funded rail service with utilities, local land owners and communities along the route --- which would go from Orlando International Airport, through Osceola and Polk counties, to downtown Tampa.

The Crunch is zipping up the charts with their improved play, and their recent streak of 9-0-1 in their last ten games has them at #5 in one blogger’s power rankings. Haven’t had a chance to catch the Crunch yet? Syracuse will be featured on TSN on December 12th when they face off in Toronto against the Marlies.

What’s been working for Syracuse? Defenseman Cameron Gaunce has some ideas.

Those local can catch Andy Andreoff and Carter Verhaeghe celebrity bartending in Syracuse next week.

MSG Network and the New York Islanders have a two-woman intermission team, and the voices of AJ Mleczko, Jennifer Botterill, and host Shannon Hogan will hopefully help to lead the way for women to achieve more prominent spots in sports broadcasting.

Women have been carving larger roles in sports broadcasts the past few years, though opportunities can still feel limited. The fact that a network has included three women to analyze and report on a men’s game feels like a crucial step forward; it quashes any perception that any are simply token hires. Botterill flies in for the games from Toronto; Mleczko comes in from Boston. It’s a serious investment and proof that there’s room for more than one female voice, especially if the voices are strong.

The Pittsburgh Penguins re-claimed Jean-Sebastien Dea yesterday, and immediately did what they wanted to do in the first place - send him to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

An NHL team has finally invited the moms along for a trip. Sadly, the Lightning wasn’t the first to do it, but we sure hope they follow suit soon!

The moms got a chance to see what past dads and siblings trips were like, getting a close-up view of life on the road in the NHL. They watched morning skates and traveled on the team’s chartered aircraft between Nashville and Tampa and Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale.

“I think it’s special,” Ducks winger Rickard Rakell said of having his mother and 18 other moms along for the ride for the first time. “Every time we’ve had a dads trip or a siblings trip, she was whining at home and asking when was the moms trip. She’s very happy to be here.”

Matt Smaby, who suited up for both the Crunch and the Lightning at different points in his career, has joined the University of North Dakota’s hockey team as a student manager as he works to finish up his degree and brush up on his coaching skills.

Former Crunch forward David Broll will be out for the forseeable future with a broken hand. Broll, who now plays for the Providence Bruins and had been out since breaking his hand during the AHL’s preseason, re-injured himself in his first shift of this season during a fight.

The Rochester Americans’ mascot was getting into the holiday spirit yesterday, helping to collect toys for local charities.

Speaking of the Amerks, they finally have a new deal in place with Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena. It will be effective January 1, 2019 and run through December 31, 2033

Finally, I’m...just...gonna...leave...this...here...