With subpar defense, Lightning can't skate past Canucks

BY foxsports • December 14, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Ryan Miller gave the Vancouver Canucks a late scare in a one-sided win over Tampa Bay.

Miller made 38 saves before leaving with six minutes left in the third period with a lower-body injury. Jayson Megna and Jack Skille both had two goals and the Canucks beat the Lightning 5-1 on Thursday night.

"He felt sore, he kind of twisted it when he was on the ice," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said of Miller. "He just didn't feel quite right, so we just took him out for precaution. I don't think it's anything (serious)."

Miller skated to the bench and then went to the locker room, and was replaced by Jacob Markstrom, who stopped two shots.

Erik Gudbranson also scored for the Canucks, who are 1-1 on a five-game road trip.

Tampa Bay, in a 1-5-1 slide, got a goal from Jonathan Drouin. Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn and Jason Garrison all were minus-4.

"First of all, I don't remember losing games by four goals, maybe one a year," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We're losing them about once a week now. It comes down to defending."

Tampa Bay has lost by four or more goals four times this season.

Megna had a redirection goal early in the second and then put the Canucks up 4-1 during a 2-on-1 with 1 second left in the period. The forward, who had 25 family and friends in attendance, entered with one goal in 10 games this season, and seven over 64 career games.

"I'm sure they're pretty excited," Megna said. "It's definitely a cool experience to get to play in front of so many people. It's a pretty special night."

After Skille opened the scoring 3:50 into the game on his first goal in 24 games, Gudbranson stopped a 34-game goal drought to make it 2-0 at 9:03.

Gudbranson's shot from the slot went off the end boards and ended up in the crease where Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop knocked the puck into the net with his glove.

"Obviously, the second one's a lucky one and then we really went down," Cooper said.

It was just eighth time the Canucks have scored first and sixth time Vancouver has been ahead after the first period in 27 games this season.

Bishop was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots through two periods. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced in the third., giving up Skille's second of the game with 6:02 remaining.

Miller made several strong saves, including a post-to-post stop on Brian Boyle during a Tampa Bay power play in the third.

NOTES: Canucks D Philip Larsen, taken off the ice on a stretcher and driven to a hospital for observation following a check by New Jersey's Taylor Hall on Tuesday night, was medically cleared to return to Vancouver on Wednesday. ... Vancouver RW Jannik Hansen missed his 15th consecutive game due to injury but could soon return. ... Drouin (one game) and Garrison (two games) both returned from injuries. ... Tampa Bay D Luke Witkowsk, recalled from Syracuse of the AHL, assisted on Drouin's goal for his first NHL point. ... Lightning D Braydon Coburn had his goal-scoring drought reach 100 consecutive games.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At Florida on Saturday night.

Lightning: Host the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.



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