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Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread

The last home game before another road trip

NHL: MAR 13 Lightning at Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME#40

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, SNP

Opponent SBNation Site: Nucks Misconduct

After two losses at the end of the road trip in Minnesota and Winnipeg, a confident win over the Columbus Blue Jackets was very much needed to boost the confidence of the team. The Lightning scored six goals in a game for the fourth time this season, but most importantly, reacted to Jon Cooper’s message after the previous game and played with discipline, having to go on the penalty kill just once.

Going into tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Lightning are 6-4-0 in their last ten games. From a standings perspective, there isn’t a significant change of picture: the gap between the Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs has increased to six points, although the Bolts still have two games in hand. The Buffalo Sabres are also still nine points behind the Lightning after two of their last games. Given the Boston Bruins’ nine points lead ahead of the Leafs, the Bolts vs. Leafs first-round matchup seems inevitable.

Unlike the Lightning, the Canucks are in the no man’s land at this stage of the season. Their playoff hopes are almost dashed right now, considering their eight-point gap behind the last wild-card spot. They’re also not bad enough to have a shot of getting the first overall pick at the upcoming draft, which could bring them Connor Bedard, a truly generational talent. The team have been in the bottom part of the league by most of their underlying statistics, apart from their power play, which ranks 11th in the NHL.

The Canucks are 4-6-0 in their last ten games, losing five of their six games. The previous game turned out catastrophically for them as they managed to blow a 3-0 lead during the game, this have been their common issue the whole season though.

The situation in the locker room isn’t great either. Former Lightning player J.T. Miller has developed an unpleasant reputation amongst his teammates after some incidents, including one of their backup goaltenders Collin Delia or another former Bolt Luke Schenn, with whom J.T. Miller reportedly had an altercation during the Canucks home opener. The Canucks management have also made clear that almost any player at Vancouver roster not named Elias Pettersson is available for a potential trade, including their captain Bo Horvat, who is currently one of the league’s best goalscorers with 29 goals in 40 games.

Pettersson is currently leading the team with 48 points (17+31) in 38 games. Spencer Martin, who played previously for the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears, has won a starting goalie position in the Canucks net over Thatcher Demko at the moment, but his results aren’t great either as he has .880 save percentage and 3.74 GAA in 23 games this season.

Tonight will be the last home game for the next 10 days for the Bolts. On Saturday they’re heading to St. Louis and then to the western part of North America with games in Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

Comparison chart:

Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning

Game # 40 Tampa Bay Lightning Vancouver Canucks
Game # 40 Tampa Bay Lightning Vancouver Canucks
Overall Record 25-13-1 17-20-3
Home Record 16-4-1 8-10-1
Road Record 9-9-0 9-10-2
Goals For 138 136
Goals Against 114 157
xGF 134.85 118.89
xGA 123.42 131.1
PP% 28.1% 23.9%
PK% 81.3% 67.8%

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines

Forward Lines

Andrei Kuzmenko - Elias Pettersson - J.T. Miller

Ilya Mikheyev - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser

Conor Garland - Sheldon Dries - William Lockwood

Dakota Joshua - Curtis Lazar - Jack Studnicka

Defense Pairings

Quinn Hughes - Ethan Bear

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Tyler Myers

Travis Dermott - Luke Schenn

Goaltenders

Spencer Martin

Collin Delia