Quick Strikes: Steven Stamkos looks strong in battle drills

Stamkos inches closer to return, Hedman praises rookie defenseman Dotchin, and we hope that Nashville hits a three game winning streak.

The Bolts

Here are a few quick injury updates ahead of tonight’s match-up against the Chicago Blackhawks. “Jason Garrison (lower body) and Tyler Johnson (lower body) did not practice and, obviously, will not play. Johnson skated before practice, and coach Jon Cooper said he is making progress. Cooper said there is no update on Steven Stamkos (knee surgery), who practiced but did not participate in power play drills.” [Tampa Bay Times]

All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman praises rookie blue-liner Jake Dotchin. "He's not afraid to get physical, stand up for his teammates. He's been real good in that department, and maybe that's the injection we needed on this team, a guy who has that kind of game."[Tampa Bay Times]

Let's go Predators! "Nashville’s next three games look like this – Monday, at New York; Tuesday at the Boston and Thursday at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If the Predators pull off a sweep of those three games, the window for the Lightning cracks open more with a realistic chance of breaking through and in to the top eight." [Lightning insider, subscription]

Steven Stamkos (pictured in blue) put on quite a show during battle drills against Joel Vermin.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch were shutout 4-0 by the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies move past the Crunch for first place in the North Divison.

Mitchell Stephens was named the first star of the game as his London Knights defeated the Windsor Spitfires 5-2. You can see his beautiful game-winning power play goal around the 2:00 mark. He's #67 in the green jersey.

Ryan Lohin picked up an assist on UMass-Lowell’s first goal as they lost 3-2 in overtime to the University of Notre Dame. With this elimination loss, no Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will play in the Frozen Four this year. You can watch the full highlights, but here’s a quick look at Lohin’s assist - he’s the player in white wearing #18.

The Game

“The U.S. women’s hockey team has been battling with USA Hockey for equitable support since mid-March. USA Hockey might have another problem on its hands. Reports circulated on Sunday that the U.S. men’s national team could boycott the World Championships to show support for the women’s team.” [SB Nation]

The Chicago Blackhawks lost 7-0 to the Florida Panthers over the weekend. Unfortunately for the Bolts, that means they'll be looking for redemption tonight. “They want to get their overall game going again. The Blackhawks have been telling themselves what needs to be done for a few games now. Maybe they needed a wake-up call. On Saturday, they got it. “ [CSN Chicago]

Remember Stammergeddon? Looks like the John Tavares version is well underway. “There were reports this week that if the New York Islanders aren’t moving towards a contract with John Tavares in June, they will look at trading him,” said Elliotte Friedman during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. [Sportsnet]