The Tampa Bay Lightning faceoff against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday in the second and final matchup between the teams in the 2016-17 regular season. The Lightning are coming off a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames just two days ago, while the Canucks enter contest having dropped their past three games, including an 8-6 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
In their first matchup on Dec. 8, the Canucks scored on their first shot of the game and beat the Lightning 5-1 at Amalie Arena. The Lightning outshot the Canucks 41-30 and Ryan Miller was nearly unstoppable before being pulled with six minutes left in regulation for Jacob Markstrom. Miller has not been in the Canucks lineup since that time, as he’s nursed a lower-body injury, but is expected to return between the pipes in Friday’s game.
The Lightning began their current three-game road trip with a win over the Flames on Wednesday. After falling behind 1-0 early in the first period, a Vladislav Namestnikov fight helped spark the Lightning to their first six-goal performance since Nov. 1. It’s the sort of win that may be a turning point for a club that’s won just two of their past nine games.
The Canucks came to Tampa just eight days ago, but the one-sided victory is one that’s certainly resonating with the Lightning as they face the Canucks again on Friday.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena – 10:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast Channels – Fox Sports Sun, SNP
2016-17 Season Series: 0-1-0 (12/08: 5-1)
Tampa Bay Lightning – 15-13-2 – 32 Points
Road Record: 8-8-1
Hot Players: Jonathan Drouin, Valtteri Filppula
Key Injuries: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat
Cory Conacher/Joel Vermin-Tyler Johnson-Erik Condra
Brian Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Brayden Point
Alex Killorn-Vladislav Namestnikov-Ryan Callahan
Jonathan Drouin-Cedric Paquette-J.T. Brown
Anton Stralman-Victor Hedman
Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn-Slater Koekkoek
*Projected lines are based on the team’s morning skate on Friday and are expected to be different than the combinations the Lightning will use in the game. Callahan will not be in the lineup.
Vancouver Canucks – 12-16-2 – 26 Points
Home Record: 8-5-1
Hot Players: N/A
Key Injuries: Derek Dorsett, Alex Edler, Philip Larsen, Erik Gudbranson
Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Jannik Hansen
Loui Eriksson-Brandon Sutter-Markus Granlund
Sven Baertschi-Bo Horvat-Alexandre Burrows
Jack Skille-Michael Chaput-Jayson Megna
Ben Hutton-Christopher Tanev
Luca Sbisa-Troy Stecher
Nikita Tryamkin-Alex Biega
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Lightning will be without forwards Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, head coach Jon Cooper said after the morning skate. Callahan skated in a regular jersey this morning but has been out of the lineup because of an lower-body injury. Cooper also said not to read into the morning skate lines too much and that Boyle, Filppula and Drouin will stay together, according to the team’s beat writer, Bryan Burns.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Canucks will be starting Ryan Miller for the first time since they faced the Lightning on Dec. 8. Miller stopped 38 of 39 shots in that contest and made big saves for the Canucks throughout the game before leaving late in the third period. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson will not play and is considered day-to-day.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Canucks will induct former defenseman Mattias Ohlund into the team’s Ring of Honour on Friday. Ohlund was drafted by the club 13th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft and played 11 seasons in Vancouver before finishing his career as a member of the Lightning for two seasons.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Lightning are expected to start goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on Friday. The 22-year-old netminder makes his 12th start of the season and has posted a 6-3-1 record with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. His last start was in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 10.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Lightning defense was heavily involved in the team’s victory on Tuesday, as Andrej Sustr and Braydon Coburn each scored their first goals of the season. Victor Hedman added three assists and is the second-leading scorer on the Lightning with five goals and 17 assists in 30 games this season. Offensive production from the Lightning’s blueliners will help supplement some of the scoring lost with Steven Stamkos’ absence from the lineup.
The Lightning are playing in the first night of back-to-back games, as they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The team will look to build upon the momentum gained by Wednesday’s come from behind win over the Flames — one in which eight Lightning players figured into the scoring.
With Kucherov and Palat out of the lineup, the Lightning will likely work Cory Conacher and Erik Condra into the mix. The Canucks are seeking their first win in four games, while the Lightning are trying to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 19. All of this makes for what should be an entertaining game when things get underway at 10:00 pm ET.