Ryan Miller
Canucks-Lightning Preview
Ryan Miller

Canucks-Lightning Preview

Published Dec. 21, 2015 11:47 a.m. ET

The Vancouver Canucks could have ailing captain Henrik Sedin available for their final game before the Christmas break. They also hope nothing is seriously wrong with goaltender Ryan Miller.

With both possibly in the lineup, the Canucks can conclude a losing trip on a positive note by snapping their four-game slide to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Though Sedin missed his second straight game Sunday with a nagging lower-body injury, he skated prior to that 5-4 shootout loss at Florida.

"It's a good sign," brother Daniel said. "He'll practice (Monday) and see how it is. It could be days, it could be weeks."


With the league's three-day break following this contest, it would seem wise to give the Canucks' second-leading scorer more rest. However, coach Willie Desjardins said if Henrik is ready, he will play.

"I think he's close," Desjardins said. "We need him. These are big games for us, and big points."

Vancouver (12-14-9) is 1-3-1 on this six-game trip and failed to build on Friday's 4-3 shootout victory at Detroit that snapped an 0-4-2 slide away from home. The Canucks led twice early in Sunday's contest, which Miller left during the shootout with what Desjardins described as "cramping."

"Should be fine," Desjardins said. "We had to make that move because you can't afford to have something happen him."

Miller is 1-2-0 with a 4.22 goals-against average on the trip after going 3-2-1 with a 2.39 GAA in his previous six outings. A loser of five straight starts, backup Jacob Markstrom is 1-3-2 with 3.00 GAA as a starter this season.

"It's never good to see (a teammate leave the game)," said Daniel Sedin, who has two points on the trip. "We'll see how bad it is. We trust (Markstrom), too."

While the Canucks have allowed at least four non-shootout goals three times on the trip, they've generated some offense in the last two despite going 0 for 10 on the power play during the trek.

"It's frustrating," said forward Jannik Hansen, who has two goals and two assists in the last four. "We're there."

Vancouver has been outscored 16-8 while being losing both meetings with Tampa Bay (17-14-13) each of the last two seasons. The Sedins were held without a goal and had two combined assists in those contests.

The Lightning look to maintain their December success after beating Ottawa 5-2 on Sunday. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Alex Killorn had a goal with an assist as Tampa Bay won for the third time in four games to improve to 6-3-0 this month.

"It's a good stretch and something that we need to continue to do," Stamkos told the NHL's official website. "We need to just continue to play this way."

The Lightning are near the bottom of the NHL with a 77.1 kill percentage on opponents' power plays, but they kept Ottawa scoreless on five chances after the previous two opponents went 4 for 7.

Stamkos has three goals in two games after failing to register one in the previous 10. He has eight with six assists in seven against Vancouver.

Teammate Ben Bishop has a 1.73 GAA in his last 14 starts. He's never lost in his career to the Canucks, posting a 2.00 GAA while in net for those four straight victories.


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