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Lightning at Canucks Preview: The Odyssey of Erik Condra

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The Lightning look to continue their winning ways in Canada

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning (15-13-2) at Vancouver Canucks (12-16-2): GAME 31

Time: 10:00 pm Eastern Time (so very late)

Location: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia (so very pretty)

Broadcast/Streaming: Sun,RSNP

Opponent SBNation Site: Nucks Misconduct

Preview:

It’s been just over a week since these two teams clashed. Since the 5-1 beatdown by the Canucks, not much has gone right for either team. Vancouver has lost three straight, and the seat under coach Willie Desjardins is heating up. On the other hand the Lightning have shuffled line-ups faster than a three-card monty dealer on a street corner.

Vancouver hasn’t played since Tuesday, when it appeared they would end their long east-coast road trip with a nice thumping of Carolina. Having built a comfortable 5-2 lead I’m sure the Canucks were looking forward to the a long, relaxing plane ride home. The Hurricanes had different plans and stormed back scoring five goals in a row. By the time the dust settled on the 8-6 loss, the Vancouver players had plenty of time to contemplate what happened on their cross-country flight home.

As for the Lightning, well, the loss proved that Steve Yzerman isn’t an emotionless robot sent from the future to fleece other teams in trades. Erik Erlendsson reported that Mr. Yzerman was “visibly upset” in the press box during the loss to Vancouver.

Since the loss, the Lightning showed a little bit of life in a home loss to the Penguins and then beat the Flames in Calgary to start their current road trip. There were good signs in the win against Calgary. They were much better at getting the puck out of their own zone cleanly. They did allow two power play goals so things weren’t completely fixed, but for the first time in a long time they were clearly the better team on the ice.

With Nikita Kucherov out and Ondrej Palat missing part of the game in Calgary, the team played a much simpler offensive game that focused on pucks coming from the point and creating screens and rebound opportunities in front of the net. It worked with Andrej Sustr and Braydon Coburn scoring from the point, and Brian Boyle scoring on a tip-in shot from Victor Hedman.

They will need to keep getting scoring from unlikely sources as this road trip continues and they hope to crawl back into the playoff race. It looks like it will be a true game-time decision for some of their banged up stars as Kucherov, Palat and Ryan Callahan may miss the game. Luckily for Erik Condra, he should have enough airline points built up to get a first-class ticket for his latest callup.

On a side note, Vancouver will be inducting Mattias Ohlund into their Ring of Honor before the game. While Lightning fans will remember him mostly for his salary being used as Long Term Injury Relief, the 40-year-old Swede had a very, very good NHL career. In 13 seasons he scored 93 goals and added 250 assists.

While his time in Tampa was riddled with injuries (he played a total of 139 games over the life of his 7-year contract, all of them in the first two seasons of the deal) he was instrumental in helping a develop a young Swedish kid by the name of Victor Hedman. Ohlund’s only goal in a Lightning uniform came in the playoffs, an empty-net, shorthanded goal against the Penguins on April 15th, 2011.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat- Tyler Johnson- Cory Conacher

Brian Boyle - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Vlad Namestnikov

Joel Vermin - Cedric Paquette - J.T. Brown

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralmann

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Slater Koekkoek

Goaltenders

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Vancouver Canucks

Forward Lines

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin -Janik Hansen

Markus Granlund - Brandon Sutter - Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Alex Burrows

Jack Skille - Michael Chaput - Jayson Megna

Defense Pairings

Luca Sbisa- Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson

Nikita Tryamkin - Alex Biega

Goaltenders

Ryan Miller - confirmed as starter by Bryan Burns

Jacob Markstrom

Line information is basically like smoke and mirrors nowadays.