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The Lightning and Canucks play in the first and only meeting of the year. Last season, Tampa Bay used Steven Stamkos’ game-winning goal just 34 seconds into overtime to earn a 5-4 win and claim the team’s first-ever victory in the city of Vancouver.
Two teams that came to within one game of facing each other in the Stanley Cup Finals last spring face off tonight, however this season the picture is far different than it was approximately seven months ago. Tampa Bay, 13th in the East with 37 points, looks to snap a three-game skid and make an early second-half push for a playoff spot, while Vancouver sits comfortably atop the Western Conference with 55 points seeking to win its third in a row.
LIGHTNING – After getting swept on a three-game road trip through Canada, the Bolts are glad to see the schedule host four of the next five games at home, where they are 11-5-0 this season, beginning with Tuesday’s contest against the Canucks. The team hopes the friendly confines of its own arena will provide a more favorable result than that in the club’s last outing, a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. Vincent Lecavalier had the Lightning’s lone goal in the game to establish a 1-0 lead early on in the first, but three consecutive Montreal goals past Lightning net minder Mathieu Garon ultimately extended Tampa Bay’s road losing streak to five games.
CANUCKS – Vancouver wraps up a back-to-back set against the Lightning after opening up the stretch Monday night in Sunrise against the Southeast Division-leading Panthers. The Canucks saw their two-game win streak come to an end on Monday, falling 2-1 to Florida in a rare loss at the BankAtlantic Center. Vancouver last lost to the Panthers in their barn on Oct. 20, 1999 and posted a record of 8-0-1 with a pair of ties before Scott Clemmensen ended the Canucks’ run with a 25-save performance. Dale Weise had the lone goal for Vancouver, which surrendered a 1-0 first-period lead and allowed two consecutive goals to the Panthers that stood up through the final horn.
Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos has eight goals in his past six games, with at least a point in all but one contest during that span. Martin St. Louis enters Tuesday with a goal and eight assists in eight games since returning from injury, while Vincent Lecavalier is riding a three-game point streak with a pair of goals and an assist in that span. For Vancouver, Henrik and Daniel Sedin each have a goal and three assists over their past five games.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Victor Hedman (concussion, out indefinitely), Adam Hall (upper body, out indefinitely), JT Wyman (upper body, day-to-day) and Ryan Shannon (lower body, out 2-4 weeks).
CANUCKS – Sami Salo (concussion), Andrew Ebbett (collar bone), David Booth (knee), Aaron Volpatti (shoulder), Byron Bitz (hip) and Aaron Rome (hand).
“We’ve got nine of the next 12 games at home, so these coming up are huge. We know what the big picture is, and we’ve got specific things that we have to do is, but the bottom line is, we have to do it.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, on the team’s upcoming schedule
The Canucks don't have any former Lightning players on their roster. The only former Tampa Bay player to have suited up for the Canucks is the injured Mattias Ohlund, who hasn't played a game yet this season. Ohlund played 770 regular-season games and 52 playoff games with Vancouver from 1997-2009. Ohlund was drafted in the first round by the Canucks (13th overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
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