Last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted the Vancouver Canucks in a Thursday night matchup. It was not a pretty sight in Amalie Arena. Canucks goalie, Ryan Miller, turned the lights out in Tampa as he made 38 saves on 39 shots. His team was able to quickly rally around him to create a cushion the Lightning couldn’t overcome. This, and a combination of Bolts mishaps and great Vancouver puck movement lead to a 5 – 1 victory for the Canucks.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 9, 2016
Tampa firing on all cylinders, still short
The Lightning rested three days prior to their home game against Vancouver. Tampa goalie Ben Bishop allowed only three goals in the past three games before last night. From the initial drop of the puck, it looked as if the Lightning were in control of the game. In fact, Tampa outshot the Canucks 41 shots on goal to 30. But the home team just wasn’t able to find a way to beat Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller, who looked sharped all night.
It began in the first period when Tampa had the Canucks on the defensive. Miller had lost his stick when the Lightning were on the attack. Despite this, Canucks defender Erik Gudbranson forced a turnover leading Vancouver right wing Jack Skille on a breakaway. Skille was able to cut inside of Tampa right wing Nikita Kucherov, and as Kucherov was the last man to beat, Skille found his first goal as a Canuck. This was the first shot Vancouver had all game.
The second goal came later in the first period when Gudbranson sent a shot in from inside the blue line. While the puck managed to go wide right, Bishop botched the recovery as the puck came off the boards. As he tried to trap the puck with his glove, the Bolts goalie whiffed and smacked the puck for Vancouver’s second tally of the night. Gudbranson found his first goal of the season with that shot.
2 – 0, Vancouver heading into the second period. The Canucks would not let up as defender Alex Biega fired a shot that would be redirected by center Jayson Megna. With Megna’s guidance, the puck would find the back of the net again, extending Vancouver’s lead to 3 – 0.
Despite the scoring margin, Tampa wrestled some momentum back during the second period. Lightning center Valtteri Filppula shot the puck off of Miller’s facemask. Following up, left wing Jonathan Drouin handled the rebound to score 5-hole against Miller. But for Tampa, this would be their first and last score all game.
As time was expiring in the second, Vancouver found left wing Daniel Sedin sneaking off the bench as a turnover occurred in the neutral zone. This lead to an easy two on one, where Megna found top shelf off Sedin’s easy pass.
In the last period of the game, Skille rang the puck off the crossbar right past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy relieved Bishop of his duties for the third.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 9, 2016
This win bodes good news for the Canucks as Miller has a hot hand. Prior to this game, Miller had 38 saves against Toronto and two in the proceeding shootout to seal the deal. Vancouver will continue their road trip for a matchup with the Florida Panthers tomorrow night. As for the Bolts, they seem to be reeling a little bit without star Steven Stamkos. Either way, they’ll look to bounce back when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow.