Following an emotional victory over the weekend, the Canucks came out flat in their trip to Florida last night. Vancouver will look to rebound this evening against a Tampa Bay Lightning club that is glad to be returning home following a winless swing of its own.
The leaders in the Western Conference with 55 points, the Canucks bested the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Saturday in a finals rematch, but were limited to just a single goal in the second contest of a four-game swing last night. Dale Weise had the first-period tally, but Vancouver allowed the Florida Panthers to grab control of the game in the second en route to a 2-1 setback.
"We only had two shots in the second. That wasn't nearly good enough, but in the third we got some good chances. That second period enabled their team to believe they had a chance to win, and when a team starts believing that their in a game and they have a chance to win, sometimes good things happen," Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said.
Weise, who potted his third goal of the season, didn't think Saturday's hard- fought 4-3 win at Boston factored into last night's setback.
"I don't think so," said Weise. "We've got enough veteran leadership in this room that we don't have those letdowns. It's just one of those things where you don't execute and things don't go your way. [Tuesday's] another day."
Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for a Vancouver club that had won five of seven and fell to 14-9-1 on the road this season. The Canucks were without defenseman Sami Salo after he was clipped by Brad Marchand on Saturday, a hit that earned the Boston forward a five-game suspension.
Sedin is tops in the NHL with 38 assists and 49 points, but was held without a point last night for only the third time in 13 games.
Stamkos, meanwhile, has tallied 28 goals so far on the season and had netted eight markers over a five-game streak that came to an end in Saturday's 3-1 loss at Montreal.
The Lightning hit the road for three games following a perfect three-game homestand, but dropped contests in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. They are 6-15-3 as the guest this season compared to 11-5-0 at home.
"There were two teams that were battling. It was pretty even," Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. "The Canadiens worked hard and they deserve it."
A participant in last season's Eastern Conference finals, Tampa Bay currently sits 13th out of 15 teams in the conference and is nine points back of a playoff spot.
The Canucks own 15 wins in their 23 all-time meetings with the Lightning, but Tampa Bay has won two straight and three of the last four encounters. The Bolts claimed a 5-4 overtime win at Vancouver in the lone meeting last year, getting a pair goals and an assist from Stamkos.
The Canucks have lost two straight in Tampa Bay.