The Tampa Bay Lightning were surging going into the holiday
break, but they haven’t been quite as sharp since returning.
They’ll look to get back on track while trying to win four
straight away from home for the first time in nearly six years as
they begin a four-game, seven-day road trip Wednesday night against
the Vancouver Canucks.
Tampa Bay (23-12-4) rode a five-game winning streak into the
NHL’s moratorium for the holidays, but the break may have hindered
that momentum. It fell 2-1 to Montreal in a shootout Saturday
before losing 4-3 to the New York Rangers the following night.
The Lightning had earned at least one point in 10 of their
previous 11 games.
“We played one good period and that’s not enough in this
league,” said captain Martin St. Louis, whose six-game point streak
was snapped. “We have to get back to pushing the pace and keeping
the puck moving forward. We did that in the third period and gave
ourselves a chance. It seems like since the break we’ve lost a
little bit of our identity.”
Tampa Bay outshot the Rangers 40-29 but also made plenty of
”I don’t think I’ve seen us mismanage the puck more,” coach
Jon Cooper said. ”That was painful to watch, to be honest.”
The Lightning will look to regroup on the road, where they’ve
won three straight following an 0-5-2 stretch away from home. They
last won four in a row on the road during a six-game run Jan.
8-Feb. 7, 2008, and had gone 0-8-1 with two ties all-time at
Vancouver before winning the last matchup there in 2010.
The Canucks (23-11-7) had their six-game home winning streak
snapped with Monday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Philadelphia, but they
have earned at least one point in eight straight at Rogers
Vancouver took the lead with 2:48 remaining in the third period
before allowing the tying goal with 47 seconds left off a draw the
Canucks couldn’t control.
”I thought we played good to get a point, but it (ticks) me off
we don’t get two,” coach John Tortorella said. “That’s what keeps
you out of playoffs, plays like that, the details, the faceoffs. I
thought we played our (butt) off. We created a tremendous amount of
scoring chances, but you kick yourself in the teeth for the lack of
detail on the faceoff. That aggravates me.”
Tom Sestito, Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin scored for the
Canucks, who have scored fewer than three non-shootout goals in
five of their last six.
”This game had no business going into overtime,” Hansen said.
”We should have closed this out quite earlier. We need to score on
our chances. It’s not because we don’t have them. We had quality
opportunities in the third and even in overtime to get it done
before the shootout.”
Rookie Eddie Lack made 24 saves in his second straight start for
the injured Roberto Luongo, who remains day to day with a
lower-body injury. Lack, 4-0-1 with a 1.36 goals-against average
over his last five starts, has never faced Tampa Bay.
Anders Lindback made 25 saves Sunday for the Lightning, though
Ben Bishop is likely to be back in net for this game. Bishop, who
has never faced Vancouver, is 6-0-2 with a 1.56 GAA over his last