Game 41: Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Vancouver Canucks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in a shootout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday night.

In a game that might have had many fans groaning before it even started, with the struggling Dwayne Roloson making the start in net, the Lightning hung in quite well and made a relatively impressive showing against one of the NHL's best.

"We have to be positive. We're playing one of the top teams in the league. We've got some injuries and these guys are a powerhouse; they're Stanley Cup contenders. We came back twice from two goals. That's a character comeback...We got to take the positive out of this one. It would have been easy to get nothing tonight against a team like that." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher
"They don't look like an 11th place team." - Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider

Vancouver opend the scoring at 2:36 of the first, on their first shot of the game, with a goal from Alexander Edler on assists from Alexander Sulzer and Henrik Sedin.

Roloson, in spite of giving up that early goal and probably giving the groaners something to groan about, actually played well over the course of the game, stopping 24 of the 28 shots he faced. On the other end, Vancouver's Corey Schneider was outstanding and often spectacular, eventually ending up with 27 stops on 31 shots.

Just under six minutes after the first goal, the Canucks doubled up the lead when Jannik Hansen scored shorthanded with an assist from Dan Hamhuis.

The period ended with the Canucks up 2-0.

Midway through the second, Steven Stamkos got the Lightning on the board and in the game when he scored his league-leading 29th goal on assists from Ryan Malone and Marc-Andre Bergeron at 10:12.

However, at 12:27 the Canucks increased their margin back to two when Manny Malhotra scored thanks to helpers from Mike Duco and Keith Ballard.

With 31.6 seconds left in the period, Stamkos was denied on a breakaway but Vincent Lecavalier was right behind him and cashed in the rebound. Matt Gilroy also collected an assist.

just when it seemed momentum might be on the Bolts' side, Vancouver's Ryan Kesler scored with 1.6 seconds left with help from Mason Raymond and Cody Hodgson

The teams headed into the second intermission with Vancouver ahead 4-2.

The Bolts came out strong in the third and Steve Downie narrowed the gap to one at 6:14 of the third with assists from Pavel Kubina and Martin St. Louis.

Outworking the Canucks for most of the period and wearing them down, the Lightning pulled Roloson for the extra attacker and Ryan Malone tied it up with one minute remaining in regulation. St. Louis and Lecavalier had the assists.

The teams headed to overtime which resolved nothing, so a shootout ensued. The Lightning went first but were unable to get anything past Schneider, allowing the only goal to get past Roloson, a score by Raymond that could have been disallowed, to stand up.

"Of course, we'd like to get the two points. But for me, I thought we played with them the whole way through. We showed character agian and we have to build off this game. This is a good team and I thought we played them pretty good." - Martin St. Louis

The Lightning will be in action again on Thursday when they take on the what was soon-to-be-former but now maybe-not-so-much division rival Carolina Hurricanes.

Game notes:

  • Edler's goal broke the Lightning's streak of four home games in which they';ve scored the game's first goal.
  • The Lightning's streak of scoring at least one goal per period at home ended at nine, dating back tio December 15.
  • Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson made his Lightning debut after being acquired from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Blair Jones on January 6th.
  • Martin St. Louis' penalty in the first (goaltender interference) was just his second in the last 28 games.
  • Stamkos now has nine goals over his past seven games, 14 goals and four assists in his last 11 games, goals in six straight home games (10 in that stretch) and he's scored 125 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season (that's 26 more than Alex Ovechkin over the same span).
  • The Lightning honored Carol Zoffinger as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. Zoffinger, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to her charity of choice, Zoe’s Journey. In 2009, Zoffinger, a single mother of three, voluntarily left her job to fulfill her calling in life by reaching out to women in need. Using a small inheritance from her mother, Zoffinger established Zoe’s Journey, a women’s transitional home, which provides aid to female individuals stricken by addiction, homelessness and incarceration. She is an advocate for numerous women going through the court system, pays weekly visits to the county jail to counsel inmates and currently teaches both a substance abuse education program and parenting classes within the prison system. In addition, she serves on the board of the Emergency Food and Shelter FEMA Program as well as that of the Homeless Coalition. Zoffinger’s desire to serve others stems from her own hardships and her subsequent personal commitment to turn her life around in the right direction. At the age of 11, Zoffinger began using drugs, and by age 25, had been arrested multiple times for a variety of offenses. In May of 2002, Zoffinger was pregnant with her fourth child and was set to serve 103 years in Florida State Prison when she realized an important life change was necessary. After turning her life over to God, Zoffinger was released from county jail and went on to graduate with honors from Southeastern University, earning a bachelor’s degree in human services and church leadership. She continued to pursue her education and received her Master’s Degree shortly thereafter. Today, she is currently working towards her Ph.D. Zoffinger has gone from a homeless, drug addicted woman, whose children were placed in the foster care of others, to a productive community activist who now has custody of all of her children. She has been recognized with numerous awards including Student of the Year for Adult Education at Southeastern University in 2006, and most recently, awarded the "She Knows Where She’s Going Award" by Girls, Inc
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