Time: 10:00 PM Eastern Time
Location: Rogers Arena
Broadcast / Streaming: SUN, CBC
Opponent SBNation Site: Nucks Misconduct
The Lightning play the seventh of eight consecutive road games tonight in Vancouver, having compiled a respectable 4-2-0 record up to this point after Thursday night’s wacky 7-4 win over the Flames in Calgary. The Canucks are coming off of wins against Colorado (Tuesday night) and Chicago (Thursday night) and wrap up their five-game homestand when the 1st-overall team in Tampa Bay comes to town.
Thursday’s game in Calgary for the Lightning was odd for a plethora of reasons. First, the rare defenseman-to-defenseman tip led to Tampa Bay’s first goal, as an Andrej Sustr shot—that, of course, was headed wide—was deftly deflected by fellow blue liner Braydon Coburn, given him his first goal of the season. Then Alex Killorn also broke out of an 11-game goalless drought with two goals and three apples of his own. Boy, would it be nice if he could get going. Cory Conacher ended the night by adding two of the softest goals you will ever see—one on each of the Calgary netminders.
Can it get any more odd? Why, yes, in fact. Nikita Kucherov is now on a 9-game goalless drought (too bad the All-Star Game hat trick didn’t count). He seems to be passing up way too many opportunities, and the Lightning’s first power play unit looks way too scripted—a complete 180 from the ease at which that unit was scoring in the first few dozen games of the year.
Matt Peca continues to impress in his call-up. After scoring his second of the year on Thursday night, he has upped his point total to 5 in as many games. It looks like the kid does not want to go back to Syracuse. In this small sample size, Peca has been tenacious on the forecheck, unafraid to match up against bigger opponents, and a boon in the face-off dot. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before Yzerman tells him to get an apartment in Tampa.
As for Vancouver, their stud rookie All-Star Brock Boeser continues to impress, as he has potted 44 points in only 48 games for the Canucks. Vancouver continues to re-build but has some nice young blue-chip prospects that should begin to pay dividends in the coming seasons.
Vancouver also has a fellow named Chris Tanev on defense. He just so happens to be right-handed, under contract for three seasons beyond the current, and has a manageable $4.45M cap hit. I would not be surprised if he is Yzerman’s short list, as the managerial staff looks to shore up the Lightning’s back-end for a lengthy playoff run.
Tampa Bay Lightning:
Chris Kunitz — Steven Stamkos — Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov — Brayden Point — Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn — Matt Peca — Yanni Gourde
Cory Conacher — Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman — Jake Dotchin
Mikhail Sergachev — Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn — Andrej Sustr
Based on Girardi’s availability, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Cooper go 11/7 again. Paquette being a healthy scratch is something I’ve been hoping to see for quite some time now. He has looked extremely ineffective in his role as a gritty, 4th-line center this season.
Henrik Sedin — Daniel Sedin — Brock Boeser
Sven Baerstchi — Bo Horvat — Thomas Vanek
Markus Granlund — Brandon Sutter — Loui Eriksson
Brendan Gaunce — Sam Gagner — Jake Virtanen
Alex Edler — Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton — Chris Tanev
Michael Del Zotto — Erik Gudbranson