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Canucks at Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread

Jan 18, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn (17) watches as forward Steven Stamkos (91) scores his 500th career NHL goal on Vancouver Canucks goalie Spencer Martin (30) while defenseman Kyle Burroughs (44) looks on in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Game #5: Vancouver Canucks (2-1-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (1-2-1)

Time: 7:00 PM EST

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, ESPN+

Opponent’s Site: Nucks Misconduct

Preview

“We were off in every single system part of it. And the compete wasn’t there. They competed, we didn’t.”

“Obviously, we’ve got to go to the drawing board with some guys here. They gotta pick it up, boy.”

Those quotes sound like they might come from a coach of a team that has started the season with three losses (one in overtime) in four games, right? Nope, that wasn’t Jon Cooper talking about his Lightning team, rather it was former Lightning coach, current Vancouver Canucks coach Rick Tocchet talked about his 2-1 team following their loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Sure, getting shut out by a team chasing a top draft pick instead of the playoffs is a sure-fire way to upset the coach, but they had won their previous two games (both over Edmonton) outscoring their opponent 12-4. The Canucks were a bit of a mystery team coming into the season but seem to have found their offense (or Edmonton’s defense is just really bad).

Brock Boeser started the season with a 4-goal game, but Tocchet was likely happier to see that 8 other players have scored already this season. Elias Pettersson is leading the team with 6 points while old friend J.T. Miller has 4 points. In net Thatcher Demko is off to a strong start with a 1.70 GAA and .953 SV% in two games. That is even more impressive considering that their defense could probably be better (shout out to Ian Cole for blocking 11 shots through 3 games).

Vancouver could be a good team for the struggling Lightning to face right now following their recent unsuccessful road trip. The Canucks have been giving up over 33 shots per 60 minutes at 5v5 and a league-high 3.77 expected goals against per 60. Demko’s 3.68 GSAx has helped them win those first two games, but you have to wonder how long he can keep it up.

As for the Bolts, there is still no update on Steven Stamkos other than the “day-to-day” status Coach Cooper bestowed on him earlier in the week. If The Captain is out, Alex Barre-Boulet and Austin Watson will continue to draw into the line-up. At the end of the game against Buffalo, Barre-Boulet was on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point and fared well. In just over 8 minutes of play they generated 6 shots on 10 attempts and a .25 xGF.

They have to find a way to start generating some consistent offensive pressure at 5v5. Giving ABB a shot at the top line might be the solution while Stamkos is out. It’ll also allow Brandon Hagel to drop down onto the second line with Anthony Cirelli, who has been one of the best players for the Bolts so far this season.

To hear Coach Cooper explain things, outside of a couple of bad periods, he hasn’t been that upset at how the Lightning have played. They have done a decent job of keeping a lot of the danger to the perimeter, but have been burned by turnovers and bad bounces. They did a lot better against the Sabres in regards to turnovers, and that helped them earn at least a point. We’ll see if they can build on their play from that game and get back in the win column.

Stats Match-Up

Game #5Tampa Bay LightningVancouver Canucks
Overall Record1-2-12-1-0
Home Record1-0-01-0-0
Road Record0-2-11-1-0
Goals For1312
Goals Against176
xGF11.67.93
xGA14.7312.9
Power Play23.1%33.3%
Penalty Kill90%80%
Stats via ESPN and Natural Stat Trick

Lines

Lightning Potential Lines

Forwards

Alex Barre-Boulet – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel – Anthony Cirelli – Steven Stamkos

Tanner Jeannot – Nick Paul – Waltteri Merela

Mikey Eyssimont – Luke Glendening – Conor Sheary

Defense

Victor Hedman – Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev – Darren Raddysh

Zach Bogosian – Nick Perbix

Goaltenders

Jonas Johansson

Matt Tomkins

Canucks Potential Lines

Forwards

Andrei Kuzmenko – Elias Pettersson – Conor Garland

Phil Di Giuseppe – J.T. Miller – Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua – Pius Suter – Anthony Beauvillier

Nils Hoglander – Sam Lafferty – Jack Studnicka

Defense

Quinn Hughes – Filip Hronek

Ian Cole – Tyler Myers

Carson Soucy – Noah Juulsen

Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

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