Quick Strikes: Vasilevskiy stops 27 shots to earn third shutout at Worlds

Tampa Bay Lightning’s captain is feeling better, Vinik loves the city of Tampa, Kucherov has a two-point night, and Vasilevskiy keeps stopping all the pucks.

The Bolts

Steve Yzerman didn’t wait his turn to be the General Manager of the Red Wings. He chose to take over the Tampa Bay Lightning. “If he had waited for Holland to retire or be fired and turned down other opportunities, he could still be sitting in the Red Wings front office waiting for the call. The grass isn’t always greener, but for a General Manager in Waiting, it’s sure can be worth the risk to jump the fence for a chance.” [Raw Charge]

Captain Steven Stamkos won’t be playing in the CHL alumni game, but does report that he’s doing well. "Things are going well," Stamkos wrote to the Tampa Bay Times. "Feeling much better than where I was at the end of the season." [Tampa Bay Times]

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is the patron saint of Tampa Bay.

I think both here within the Tampa Bay area and the entire state of Florida, I think we’ve got immense potential in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship in the  start-up [business] community. We have people. We have great ideas. We have mentors. We actually have capital. We’ve got all the raw materials, all the ingredients to have a successful ecosystem.

Vinik is also helping the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in their efforts to relocate to downtown Tampa. “The museum, along with the Vinik Family Foundation and Hillsborough County, will form a task force to shape what a potential downtown location might look like... It would also bring more visitors to downtown Tampa and boost the urban core's appeal as a family friendly destination, adding MOSI to a lineup of attractions that already include the Florida Aquarium and Glazer Children's Museum.” [Tampa Bay Business Journal]

The Worlds

With 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).

The elimination rounds have begun! Nine of the ten members of the Lightning advanced to the Semifinals - only Richard (Switzerland) was eliminated.

Sweden defeats Switzerland 3-1.

Hedman and Stralman were held off the score sheet again. The dynamic duo continue to be Sweden’s preferred top pairing. Hedman logged 24:55 and Stralman was second in ice time with 23:52.

After the game, Hedman discussed defeating Germany and his excitement about facing arch-rival Finland in the next round.

Yeah, we expected a tough game. Obviously the Swiss [team] was undefeated in regulation, so we knew we had a good test. Turnaround from Cologne [Germany to Paris, France] was easy for us. We’re used to playing on the road. It’s like a normal road game. Get in the day before, get a good night’s sleep and get ready for this one.

Now we’re got to do the same thing again. Go home, get some sleep, and get back out to Cologne and play the Finns. We’re very excited about that one.

It’s everything for us. It’s a big rivalry, obviously. It’s always fun games against them. We’re going to be really pumped up for that one and so will they. It’s going to be a battle. We expect the same kind of game as today - a tough, checking game, low scoring game.

For us, we’ve just got to keep working hard like we did today. The PK [penalty kill] was great and came up big in the last three [or] four minutes. And Hankie [Henrique Lundqvist] obviously backs up everything. It was a good team effort tonight. I’m really proud of the way we came out and competed tonight.

Canada defeats Germany 2-1.

Point and Killorn were held off the board as Canada advanced to the next round. Killorn remains the only Lightning skater who has not yet found his way onto the score sheet.

"It was a phenomenal environment," said Canada's coach Jon Cooper after the game. "The chants, the singing, and they were very respectful to both teams. They really cheered for their team. I'll always remember being part of that." [TSN]

Russia defeats Czech Republic 3-0.

Kucherov had another multi-point game (1G, 1A) and Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots to earn his third shutout at Worlds. Vasilevskiy was named Russia’s player of the game.

Namestnikov appeared to injure his foot early in the game. He missed all of the second period and only played two minutes in the third period. There are no further updates on his status.

Photos of the match courtesy of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and IIHF.

Finland defeated United States 2-0.

No Lightning prospects participated in this game, but former Bolt Valtteri Filppula advanced to the next round so that kind of counts.

The Prospects

ICMYI: The Crunch defeated the Marlies on home ice to advance to the third round of the AHL playoffs. Yzerman had words of praise for the raucous crowd in Syracuse.

The Syracuse Crunch will face the Providence Bruins tonight in Game 1 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals.

The Memorial Cup Tournament starts today! So what is all about? “Welcome to Windsor! The 2017 Memorial Cup is about to begin and it has been a highlight of mine on the hockey schedule for years. The annual tournament crowns the national champion for junior hockey in Canada and this year marks the 99th tournament and we have five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects participating.” [Raw Charge]

Anthony Cirelli started his OHL career as a walk-on to the Oshawa Generals. Now he is working towards his second Memorial Cup and has earned a reputation for his clutch goal scoring. “I thought my career wasn't going to have a start,” Cirelli said. “I appreciate everything everyone has done for me to get me to this point. I'm just a late bloomer, I guess.” [Tampa Bay Times]

The Game

The Nashville Predators keep upping the celebrity star power with each playoff game. “Throughout their Stanley Cup playoff run, the Predators have had a fair handful of celebrities and stars make appearances during their home games at Bridgestone Arena. There’s been so many, in fact, that we decided to list them all here to see how far this grows as the Predators continue to roll through the playoffs.” [SB Nation]

“Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said Thursday he's open to moving the No. 3 overall pick in June's entry draft for a current NHL player. Nill, whose Stars moved up five slots in the draft lottery, says he's already had conversations about the pick but expects more interest to come.” [TSN]