Quick Strikes: Lightning players power Russia to victory over Italy

Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Kucherov and Namestnikov have four-point games, Point scores for Canada, and the Erie Otters continue to win.

The Bolts

“The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the market for a goaltender to back up Andrei Vasilevskiy in his first full season as the Bolts' true number-one netminder. Luckily, Steve Yzerman will not have to look very far to find the perfect person for the job. After being acquired from the Kings as part of the package that sent Ben Bishop to Los Angeles, Peter Budaj became the best candidate to back up Vasilevskiy for the 2017-18 regular season.” [Hockey Buzz]

“When an article featuring an interview with Nikita Kucherov in Russian came out, it was a bit of a shock. It’s not often that you see a quote from a player and go ‘Whoa! Did he actually say that?’... This article will be my attempt to dig in to the season from Kucherov’s view point. I'm going to try to see it from where he skates on the ice.” [Raw Charge]

Scouting the 2017 NHL Draft: A shoulder injury could drop Klim Kostin into the Lightning’s range. Steve Yzerman has been known to take a chance or two in the first round. [Raw Charge]

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).

Russia defeats Italy 10-1.

“Namestnikov to Kucherov. SCORES! Kucherov drops to Namestnikov. SCORES!” Ah, music to my ears. Both forwards had stellar four-point games (Kucherov - 1G, 3A. Namestnikov - 2G, 2A). Prospect Gusev’s two assists also came on Lightning goals. Vasilevskiy stopped 9 of 10 shots through two periods. With a comfortable 5-1 lead heading into the final frame, Team Russia elected to give their backup goalie some time in net for the third period.

Both Namestnikov and Vasilevskiy spoke after the game. Official translation by the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, with a few minor edits for clarity provided by @forgotten_night.

Namestnikov: “Our special teams worked, and we scored at even strength too. Games like this give you confidence and develop your understanding of each other. My line? We are getting better. I took two penalties, but if it was a certain foul the first time, the second one was a coincidence.”

Vasilevskiy: “We treated this match seriously. All of our players fought hard. In the second period, Italy managed to score a goal out of the blue. Nevertheless, the guys showed their class in the third period. The match started early, and Italy only had two shots in the opening frame. But there was more action in the second period. It's great that we have managed to win.”

Amazing pictures of the blowout win, courtesy of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Gusev (#97), Kucherov (#86), Namestnikov (#90), and Vasilevskiy (#88).

Canada defeats Slovenia 7-2.

Point scored the third goal of the game while Killorn was held off the score sheet. Coach Cooper was pleased with the team’s performance and felt it was an improvement over their first game against the Czech Republic. “I just thought we were much more comfortable in our environment.” [TSN]

The Prospects

With two assists, Anthony Cirelli (#22 in yellow) was named third star of the game as the Erie Otters defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 3-2. Erik Cernak (#14) and Taylor Raddysh (#17) were held off the score board.

The Otters are up 2-0 in the OHL Championships, thanks in part to their three Lightning prospects. “The Otters have benefited greatly from the trio of ‘baby Bolts’, with Cirelli and Raddysh both registering over a point-per-game and Cernak drawing the tough assignments on the blue line with a plus-15 rating in the postseason. Cirelli leads the Otters with 13 playoff goals. ‘He’s such a quick learner,’ said Lightning Director of Player Development Stacy Roest of Cirelli. ‘Anthony is a real competitor and he is as hard a worker as I’ve seen. When a kid works as hard as he does and has that kind of talent, those players are a pleasure to work with.’” [OHL]

The Game

Edmonton put on a show last night. Leon Draisaitl’s hat-trick led the Oilers to a 7-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks to force a Game 7.

The Nashville Predators are headed to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. “The Predators are only halfway to their objective. In between the smiles and hearty back slaps, players were quick to point out that fact. But let's be real — this is special. ‘The expectation is a Stanley Cup,’ Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said. ‘I think we took a big step today for this organization and this city, but that's not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup.’” [The Tennessean]

Brian Boyle visited Disney World with his family and posted the most typical Florida summer picture ever, complete with a melting ice cream cone. PLEASE COME BACK, BOYLE. WE MISS YOU.

Your feel good moment of the day: France’s Pierre-Édouard Bellemare won’t accept the Player of the Game award. He insists it be given to goalie Florian Hardy for his 41 save performance.