Game 40 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Vancouver Canucks

Defeated by the Rangers on Sunday in what was the second-straight uneven showing at home, the Tampa Bay Lightning (23-12-4, 50 PTS) begins 2014 with a road tilt — the first of four on a swing through Western Canada — against the Vancouver Canucks (23-11-7, 53 PTS), which took two leads and generally controlled play after initially tying the game but allowed the Flyers to claw back and earn a shootout victory the other night.

Today’s preview has to be somewhat abrupt with the attention given last night’s and today’s festivities but there’s a few observations that must be relayed. First, both teams, in aggregate, have similar profiles: offensively middling while very stout defensively. When you dig deeper (by looking at 5v5 “Close” play), there is a slight departure in strengths as Vancouver has been a bit better at generating even-strength offense while Tampa Bay has done quite a number of the defensive side of the ledger but the process — out-attempting the opposition — has been nearly identical. Also, if you think the Lightning’s special teams have been a mixed bag, the Canucks’ have an interesting juxtaposition as its power play converts at an even lower rate (at 4.38 goals for per 60 minutes 5v4, one of the worst in this measure) than the Bolts’ (5.52) while its league-best (at 3.29 goals against per 60 minutes 4v5) penalty-killing has been quite stingy and markedly better than the Lightning’s (6.40). And as with the Lightning, you have to tip your cap to goaltending that Vancouver has gotten most nights. Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack have made for a dependable tandem that has, to this point, quelled any second-guessing of the decision to move Cory Schneider this summer.

Of course, one could argue that, though Vancouver has been hit by the injury bug (most notably to winger Alex Burrows and Luongo, both of whom are still sidelined for tonight’s contest) this season, Tampa Bay’s performance has come without various combinations of veterans (Eric Brewer, Victor Hedman, Ryan Malone, Sami Salo and, in particular, Steven Stamkos) in the lineup during recent weeks and so might otherwise be even better. Even so, the Bolts have steadily been getting healthier and tonight will mark the return of both Brewer and Malone.

The tilt tonight is the last game in the fourth ten-game season segment. With a win, the Bolts would finish it with an impressive 15 of the 20 possible points earned and, having knocked off a solid Western Conference team, relieve a bit of the pressure to deliver with the subsequent cracks at lesser opposition on this road swing.

NOTES


Season Series


TIED 0-0
[table “77” not found /]


Rosters


LIGHTNING CANUCKS
[table “74” not found /]
[table “74” not found /]


STATPACK

 

Team

TOI, POSSESSION & SCORING TOTALS
[table “75” not found /]
POSSESSION & SCORING RATES
[table “75” not found /]
POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING PERCENTAGES
[table “75” not found /]

Special Teams

POWER PLAY
[table “80” not found /]
PENALTY KILL
[table “80” not found /]

Goaltending

ON-ICE TOTALS
[table “81” not found /]
ON-ICE RATES
[table “81” not found /]
ON-ICE PERCENTAGES
[table “81” not found /]

Scoring

LIGHTNING
[table “76” not found /]
CANUCKS
[table “76” not found /]

Team stats cited from Extra Skater.

Leave a Reply