NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 9th
(All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (35-20-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (25-21-11), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to stretch their win
streak to a season high four straight games this evening versus the Vancouver
Canucks at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning have won three straight for the second time in less than three
weeks, giving them a 6-1-1 mark over their last eight games. They haven't won
four straight since a five-game win streak from November 7-16, 2007.
Rookie Steven Stamkos has been key to the Lightning's recent run. He has a
club-best 32 goals, including seven goals and 14 points over a nine-game point
streak. He scored in Saturday's 2-1 overtime win versus Calgary, with Andrej
Meszaros notching the game-winner 1:58 into OT.
"That was one of the toughest games to grind out," said Tampa Bay head coach
Rick Tocchet said. "They played a playoff style. We didn't give them a lot,
and in the third period I thought we started taking over the game."
Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves to give him a 6-0-1 mark in his last seven
starts with a 1.10 goals-against average. He has never started versus the
Canucks, stopping 5-of-6 shots faced in a sole relief outing versus them.
Tampa Bay's current win streak includes a victory in the first two contests of
a four-game homestand. The Lightning are 5-0-1 over their last six at home,
helping them move into a tie with Philadelphia for the final two playoff spots
in the Eastern Conference.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are 2-2-0 on their NHL-record 14-game road trip. They
have four games remaining before the Olympic break.
Vancouver began the trek with a win at Toronto before dropping back-to-back
tests in Montreal and Ottawa. The club then headed to Boston on Saturday and
left town with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Pavol Demitra scored with 4:42 left in regulation to tie the game, then had
the lone goal of the shootout. Mason Raymond also scored and Roberto Luongo
ended with 41 saves, giving the Canucks, who are tied for first place in the
Northwest Division with Colorado, a win in eight of their last 10 overall.
"I think we played a little bit better in the third but [the Bruins] still
had some unbelievable chances," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. "They
just met a hot goaltender tonight and we had the same situation in Montreal so
I know how that can feel."
Vancouver has won four of its last five over the Lightning, including three of
the last four played in Tampa Bay. Luongo is 13-11-0 with a pair of ties and
2.42 GAA in his career versus the Lightning.
Tonight will mark current Tampa Bay defenseman Mattias Ohlund's first game
versus the club he spent his first 11 NHL seasons with. Ohlund was drafted
13th overall by Vancouver in the 1994 draft, notching 93 goals and 325 points
with the club. He joined the Lightning this past offseason and has no goals
and 10 assists in 50 games.
02/09 10:37:56 ET