Lightning-Canucks Preview

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

mistakes.

”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

Arena.

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

eight starts.