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Bolts lock down Top Spot in the East Written by Laci Bloomers - June 1st, 2022

-written by Laci Bloomers

The Tampa Bay Lightning have locked down top spot in the Eastern Conference of the CMHL for the 2021-22 season, and with one game left in the regular season they will not have to wait long to find out which of four potential teams they will host in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Bolts staved off a challenge from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals to clinch the top seed in Game 81.

 

The club has been led by the trio of Sebastian Aho, Johnny Gaudreau and Jordan Binnington for most of the season, as GM Dave Normoyle chose to stick with the roster the team had to start the year.  In fact, the only trade he made during the season was to pick up gritty D-man Drew Doughty at the deadline.

The 1st line pair of Aho and Gaudreau were fantastic all season.  Aho's 40 goals and 74 assists place him third in league scoring with 114 points and should surely garner some MVP votes for the forward.  His sidekick Gaudreau heads in to the final game of the schedule with 48 goals and 51 assists, and will be looking to break 100 points in the game.

Kris Letang led the blue line with 16 goals and 61 points, while his ageless D-partner Mark Giordano was right behind him with 15 goals and 58 points while leading the team in ice time at just over 26 minutes per game.  Ten players will finish the season between 40 and 60+ points, including 5 blue-liners.

The club hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins in their final game as they prep for the first round.  

With the Macon Whoopie running out of gas and missing the playoffs this season, it is quite likely that we could see a couple of players from their roster called up.  Rasmus Asplund had a solid year, scoring 30 goals and 79 points in 78 games with one remaining.  Blueliner Trevor Carrick was also solid, with 22 goals and 61 points.  The Bolts will also likely want to carry a 3rd goalie, which could mean that Ivan Prosvetov could get the nod over Carter Hutton and Michael Hutchinson.  Prosvetov led the Whoopee with a 17-9-4 record in 37 appearances, with a sparkling 2.82 GAA and a .911 save percentage.

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