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Quick Strikes: Five Lightning prospects advance in Memorial Cup Tournament

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning Offseason: What’s the goalie situation, anyway? “The Lightning currently have two goaltenders under contract for next season; Vasilevskiy and Connor Ingram. Kristers Gudlevskis will be a restricted free agent. We are left to wonder how the goaltending situation will look next season. It’s a certainty that Vasilevskiy will be the starter in Tampa while Ingram will likely be the backup in Syracuse.” [Raw Charge]

Andrei Vasilevskiy was named the best goaltender of the IIHF World Championship Tournament. Enjoy some highlights of his brilliant saves for Team Russia.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Maxime Comtois could be a guy worth trading down for. “After falling down the draft boards this season, Maxime Comtois might be a guy that gets drafted later than his potential dictates.” [Raw Charge]

“Voting for the White Region in the Best of the Bolts’ Round of 16 starts at noon on Tuesday, May 23 and ends at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 26. Each matchup is listed below and you can vote as many times as you’d like for your favorite play in each matchup on TampaBayLightning.com.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch take on the Providence Bruins tonight at 7:00 PM in Game 3 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals. The series is currently tied 1-1. The first two games were played in Providence. Tonight’s game in Syracuse marks the start of a 3 game home stand for the Crunch.

Playoff production is another example of Syracuse Crunch’s Matthew Peca rising to the occasion. “It’s definitely comforting that my style fits the Lightning. That stuff’s always in the back of your mind,” he said. “So, when you’re paying your dues here, and you’re working hard and you’re trying to make it to the next level, you’re not trying to change anything. Guys that aren’t necessarily fitted to the style (of the parent club), it’s kind of in the back of their mind do they have to get faster? Me, in my case, I’ve just got to work as hard as I can and get better, faster, stronger. Hopefully my opportunity will come, and hopefully it will be good.” [Syracuse.com]

“A young Providence Bruins fan will turn 7 on Sunday, and even if 100 more birthdays follow it’s unlikely that he’ll unwrap a gift as special as the one he got Sunday. That’s when Syracuse Crunch goalie Mike McKenna honored the boy’s plea on a hand-made sign and gave him a game-used goalie stick.” [Syracuse.com]

Memorial Cup Tournament: Saint John Sea Dogs defeat Seattle Thunderbirds 7-0

The Memorial Cup is the ultimate prize in junior hockey. Five Lightning prospects are playing in the tournament for two different teams. Erik Cernak, Anthony Cirelli, and Taylor Raddysh are members of the Erie Otters while Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph play for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Joseph (#21 in black) scored a goal while Imama (#51) had a three-point night in the victory. “The Tampa Bay Lightning have an embarrassment of riches in this tournament and have all but one of them signed to a contract. Bokondji Imama’s rights expire in just 7 days, so if the Lightning want to see more of his well rounded play, they’ll have to act soon.” [Raw Charge]

With this victory, Saint John advances to the semi-final round. Erie is already guaranteed to play in at least the semi-final round, so all five Lightning prospects advance in the Memorial Cup Tournament.

You can watch Cernak, Cirelli and T. Raddysh vie for a spot in the Finals tonight at 7:00 PM on the NHL Network.

The Game

The Ottawa Senators are struggling to sell playoff tickets. “With less than six hours and counting until puck drop in Ottawa, even Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has started to worry. Melnyk had this to say to The Ottawa Sun late on Monday evening. ‘It’s very disturbing, however, knowing the players and coaches they will be trying their hardest for Ottawa.’” [SB Nation]

The Senators defeated the Penguins 2-1 to force a Game 7 in Pittsburgh.

After one of the worst seasons in the history of the NHL, the Avs are making some significant changes. “The Colorado Avalanche are coach Jared Bednar’s team. GM Joe Sakic has indicated that Bednar, the emergency hire last summer when Patrick Roy up and quit, ‘deserves an opportunity’ to get a second year and that he intends to build a roster better suited for his systems. And since it’s his team, it needs to be his staff as well, so the Avalanche cleaned house on Tuesday.” [Puck Daddy]

“Elliotte Friedman reported in the intermission panel on Hockey Night in Canada that the Avalanche have asked the Leafs for permission to interview Kyle Dubas, and have received the go-ahead. There were no further details about what type of position was on offer. Dubas has been Assistant General Manager in Toronto since the summer of 2014.” [Pension Plan Puppets]

“The Predators may not draw the biggest ratings against the Pittsburgh Penguins or (gasps from NBC) the Ottawa Senators, but they play the game with pace, they play it with skill and they play it with an entertaining style that makes them worth the watch. Nashville will face an enormous challenge without Johansen, particularly if it faces the defending champion Penguins, but this Cup Final has all the earmarks of an epic series. Nashville’s emergence is a victory for hockey.” [FanRag Sports]

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