Game 30: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vancouver Canucks
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Vancouver Canucks in overtime by a score of 5-4.
This was a far more competitive game than I thought it would be. Typically, on emotional nights when former players are honored, either the home team goes on a rampage and scores a lot of goals, or they don't do much. Vancouver played hard, but the Lightning had a good game as well.
And that's probably the most frustrating part of this team right now - their inconsistency. One game, they're mediocre. Then the next game, they're as good as anyone else in the league. But that's pretty standard for a team going through a transition with new coaches and creating a new culture like they are.
Dan Ellis gave up a goal or two that he should've had, but for the most part, he played well. A lot of people are questioning why he started in back-to-back games in back-to-back nights, however. Makes me wonder if Mike Smith has some kind of lingering injury that he's dealing with.
Steven Stamkos had a good night. He had five shots on goal, and two goals - one of which was the game winner in overtime. He was awful in the faceoff circle, however, only winning two faceoffs out of the ten that he took all game. But, in his defense, the Canucks are one of the best faceoff teams in the league.
The defense, overall, was a lot better than they have been. I believe that most of the goaltending problems actually stem from the defense and not the goaltenders themselves. They likely had a good game because this was Mattias Ohlund's first game back in Vancouver as Lightning, and Ohlund led the way playing very well himself. He had five blocked shots on the night.
Simon Gagne had a good night, though he mostly tried to set up other people than actually crash the net himself. Ryan Malone has definitely been a strong leader on the ice for the past few games, and this one in Vancouver was no exception. And Mike Lundin also had a good night, stopping the opposing team's best players from scoring - the only goal against that he was on the ice for was by Henrik Sedin.
As a side note.... Having grown up in Washington State, and going to college about 20 miles (32 km) from the US-Canada border (halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, BC), I was very happy to see Markus Naslund be honored the way that he was. Not just by the Vancouver Canucks, but by also the Tampa Bay Lightning on their website and during the Sun Sports broadcast. I thought it was very classy of the Lightning to honor him as well.
Naslund flew under the NHL radar for much of his career, and I always felt that he deserved so much more than that. So it made me very, very happy to see him finally get the recognition that I always felt he deserved. I won't say I was a Canucks fan, but I was definitely a fan of Naslund - and a fan of Ohlund, now and while he was there in Vancouver as well.
The next game is Wednesday, 15 December, at home against the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will be open for business at 7 pm, so come say hi if you're not going to the game.
Lightning vs Canucks recap [TSN]
Lightning vs Canucks boxscore [TSN]
Lightning vs Canucks coverage [SB Nation]
Nucks Misconduct [SB Nation]