Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, SNP
Opponent SBNation Site: Nucks Misconduct
The last time the Vancouver Canucks were in Tampa it was the meeting of the two hottest teams in the league. It was January of 2020 and both teams were riding seven-game winning streaks thanks to solid goaltending. At the end of the night the Lightning had an eight-game winning streak and the Canucks were wondering what they had run into. Carter Verhaeghe recorded a hat trick, Brayden Point had four points, and Steven Stamkos put up three in a 9-2 Tampa Bay victory.
Vancouver had a chance to roll into Tampa this year with 10-game points streak, but unfortunately ran into the buzzsaw that is the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, dropping the game 5-2. Still they have been one of the hottest teams in the league posting an 8-1-1 record since Bruce Boudreau took over as their head coach early in December. The streak has pulled them back to .500 at 16-16-3, and while they still have a mountain to climb to get back into the playoff race, at least they aren’t contemplating a top-3 draft pick at this point.
The game against the Panthers was their first game in ten days as they battled postponements and COVID so a little rust could be expected. It was also the first game in a pretty tough stretch for Vancouver as they have to face the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, and Nashville Predators on this road trip.
Thatcher Demko has led the way in net of late. The outing against Florida in which he gave up 5 goals on 26 shots appears to be an aberration. In December he went 7-1 with a 1.72 GAA and .946 SV%. Offensively, old friend J.T. Miller is leading the team with 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists). Elias Pettersson has had a bit of a slow first half of the season with just 6 goals in 35 games so far.
Luke Schenn is the latest ex-Bolt to make his return to Amalie Arena and should receive the championship treatment. While the video tributes may rile some folks out there the Lightning have done a really nice job of recognizing the players that helped them win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
The Lightning are looking to build on their big win in Buffalo the other night as they continue to chase the Panthers for the top spot in the Atlantic. The two teams are tied in points with 53, but Florida has managed to do it in fewer games so they have the division lead...for now.
Expect another solid game from Nikita Kucherov who has picked up right where he left off since returning from injury. In the three games he’s played so far he’s posted five points (3 goals, 2 assists). Overall, in the five games he’s played this season, he’s put up multiple points in three of them. That’s pretty impressive for the 28-year-old.
As far as injured players, Ryan McDonagh is still day-to-day while Ondrej Palat is apparently playing through some sort of issue. He was held out of the third period of Tuesday’s game as a precaution, but will likely be in the line-up tonight. With all of the forwards healthy it’ll be interesting to see how Coach Cooper rotates the forwards to keep them fresh. Boris Katchouk was the healthy scratch against the Sabres and may be again tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
Mathieu Joseph - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Bo Katchouk - Ross Colton - Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Zach Bogosian - Cal Foote
Update -Per Coach Cooper Palat and McDonagh are both out for tonight.
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines
Vasily Podkolzin — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Nils Hoglander
Jason Dickinson — Bo Horvat — Conor Garland
Tyler Motte — Juho Lammikko — Matthew Highmore
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myers
Luke Schenn — Quinn Hughes
Brad Hunt — Tucker Poolman