Did Vancouver Hurt or Help the Lightning this season?
It seems the Canucks are a bit of an Achilles heel.
The Canucks won both games against the Bolts this year. So, no, they did not help our playoff chances or overall season. On top of this, they were two rather lopsided games — which isn’t always bad when a team can learn from the more grueling outcomes. However, this series didn’t seem teach any lasting lessons. The Bolts continued to fizzle out through December and onto January.
Vancouver also honored Mattias Ohlund on the night they hosted the Bolts, which is one of the more ironic things to happen this season. I enjoy when we face Vancouver, after all it is only once a year we visit British Columbia on the annual western conference road trip. It seems the Canucks have been in a perpetual state of rebuild which makes the losses sting a bit more. And often when the Bolts don’t show up, Vasilevskiy does, yet even this time around even Vasy wasn’t able to produce.
December 8th, 2016: Vancouver 5 Tampa Bay 1
Preview by @torchramrod, We return to our regularly scheduled hockey program: Lightning vs. Canucks preview
“While the Lightning are celebrating a return to health for a couple of their players, the Vancouver Canucks are hoping they have enough defenders to get through their 5-game road trip. Already stretched thin due to the loss of their top two blueliners in Chris Tanev and Alex Edler, the Canucks suffered another blow when Philip Larsen was knocked out of their game against the New Jersey Devils on a vicious check by Taylor Hall.
“All of the injuries have forced the Canucks to ice some young players on defense. Luca Sbisa is 26-years-old. He is the oldest defender currently playing for them. Once nice surprise for them has been Troy Stretcher. The 22-year-old rookie is only 5’10 and 190 lbs, but he’s been one of their best players.
“Despite their injuries (and a nine-game losing streak earlier in the season) the Canucks are only four points out of the last wild card spot in the west. Gotta love parity in the NHL. They have gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and hope that they can keep pace with the other teams outside of the playoffs looking in.
“They’ve had trouble scoring goals (28th in the league), preventing goals (24th) and scoring with the man advantage (24th). The Sedins, Henrik and Daniel, lead the team with 17 points and have scored 4 of their 11 power play goals. Bo Hovart is right behind them in scoring while their high-priced free agent signing, Loui Eriksson, only has 11 points in 26 games.”
Recap by from the other side by @OffThePostComic, Vancouver Lights Up Tampa Bay 5-1
“With Jonathan Drouin and Jason Garrison back from injuries, the Lightning were looking to get on the scoreboard early and pick up a win at home after two days off.
“The Canucks also had to worry about a red hot Nikita Kucherov. He's been picking up the slack for Tampa Bay while Steven Stamkos has been out of commission for the past 11 games. His 29 points give him the second most in the league after Connor McDavid, who has 36.
“Ryan Miller got the start tonight against Ben Bishop and both would prove to be key players in this game for completely different reasons.”
December 16th, 2016: Vancouver 4 Tampa Bay 2
Preview by @torchramrod, The Odyssey of Erik Condra
“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.”
Recap from the other side @seanlarsonATQ, Canucks induct Mattias Ohlund into Ring of Honor, celebrate by defeating Lightning 4-2
“On a night where the Canucks honored their greatest defenseman with a permanent spot in Rogers Arena, Vancouver bounced back from an embarrassing collapse against the Hurricanes, coming out with a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Bo Horvat scored the eventual game-winner on the power play in the third period after the Canucks fell behind early...
“Early in the third period, Jannik Hansen was sent off for tripping, sending the Lightning to the power play. Tampa Bay capitalized on the chance as Cory Conacher scored his first goal in over two years, evening things up at 2-2 with 16:07 left to play...
“The Canucks got one back as Alex Killorn was sent off for holding against Luca Sbisa just over six minutes into the third.
“On the power play, Markus Granlund attempted to dump a puck into the offensive zone, which was conveniently tipped by Loui Eriksson, who looked like he was more trying to protect himself than deflect the puck. The deflection rebounded off Vasilevskiy, and Bo Horvat was in all alone in the slot to deliver the go-ahead goal at 7:46.”
Goals: Jonathan Drouin (1), Victor Hedman (1), Cory Conacher (1)
Assists: Brian Boyle (1), Jonathan Drouin (1), Victor Hedman (1), Valtteri Filppula (1), Luke Witkoswki (1)
Ben Bishop: 16 save on 20 shots, .800 SV%
Andrei Vasilevskiy in relief: 9 saves on 10 shots, .900 SV%
Andrei Vasilevskiy: 20 saves on 23 shots .870 SV%