Tampa Bay, 20-29-12, arrives off a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. The Bolts fought back from a 2- 0 first period deficit to tie the game but were unable to continue the momentum.
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay’s point leader with 58, enters tonight’s game with four points accumulated in his last four games. First round draft choice Steven Stamkos has found his scoring touch of late, netting four goals in his last five games, including a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks on February 17th. Defenseman Cory Murphy scored two goals in the loss to Edmonton, the first two-goal game of his career.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier continues to set the pace in goals scored with 25 on the season.
Vancouver, 30-22-8, enters tonight’s game in fifth place in the Western Conference and although that would appear to give them a fairly secure spot in the post-season, in reality they are in a pitched battle for the playoffs. In the competitive Western Division there are five clubs trailing the Canucks by three or less points.
The Canucks had a five-game win streak halted by the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday but have compiled an 8-2-0 record for the month of February, including 3-0-0 at home. During that stretch, the Canucks have been scoring at a 3.8 goals per game clip.
Among the leaders in offensive output, Henrik Sedin has 8 points over his last five games while Alexandre Burroughs has 7 points and Daniel Sedin, the team leader in both points and goals, has 6 points over the five-game stretch. In total, Vancouver has eight skaters with 10 or more goals over the season.
In net, All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo has compiled an impressive 2.55 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. His five shutouts for the season have him among the top five NHL goaltenders in that category.
Following tonight’s game, Tampa Bay concludes the road trip Sunday night in Calgary before returning home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.