Published February 05, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Willie Desjardins era is off to a perfect start so far and his Vancouver Canucks will try to improve to 4-0 when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Desjardins replaced the fired John Tortorella as Vancouver's head coach this offseason, and the rookie bench boss has yet to taste defeat three games into his NHL coaching career.
However, after beating Calgary to open the season and picking up two victories against Edmonton, Desjardins and the Canucks expect to face a tougher test Saturday against the Lightning.
"We want to show what we can do," Desjardins said of tonight's test. "It'll be a tough game for sure but it's our chance to show we're a good team."
Ryan Miller posted 28 saves for his first shutout in a Canucks sweater and 30th of his career, as Vancouver picked up Friday's 2-0 road win over the Oilers.
"It was an important game for us to keep things moving along. It was a good battle for both teams," said Miller, who signed a three-year deal with Vancouver over the summer.
Radim Vrbata scored the winning goal in the second period for the Canucks and Daniel Sedin sealed the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute. Vrbata and Daniel Sedin each finished with a goal and an assist, while Henrik Sedin posted a pair of helpers.
Vancouver defenseman Ryan Stanton left Friday's game with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight.
After Saturday's home test, the Canucks will return to the road for a three- game swing. The trek begins Tuesday in Dallas before Vancouver makes stops in St. Louis and Colorado.
Meanwhile, the well-rested Lightning will try to get their five-game road trip off to a good start tonight. Tampa began the season with a 2-1-1 record on home ice, but has been idle since losing Tuesday's 2-1 decision against the visiting New Jersey Devils.
Tampa was 21-17-3 as the away team last season and hopes to begin its 2014-15 road slate on a positive note against the Canucks. The Bolts have picked up wins in their last two trips to Vancouver, but that's after going winless in their first 11 trips to B.C.
All told, the Lightning have won four of five and five of the last seven meetings in this series.
Tampa tied the Devils 1-1 on Alex Killorn's goal at 8:59 of the third period, but over two minutes later Mike Cammalleri was able to deliver the game-winner for New Jersey.
With Steven Stamkos in the box for hooking, Martin Havlat controlled the puck in the right circle and whipped a pass atop the crease for Patrik Elias. His shot was stopped by Lightning goalie Evgeni Nabokov, but an unmarked Cammalleri swatted home the rebound for a 2-1 game with 8:41 remaining.
Nabokov stopped 23 shots in an unsuccessful Tampa debut, while the Lightning went 0-for-4 on the power play.
"We had chances as they did. It came down to specials teams in the end," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper.
Ben Bishop expects to get the start in net tonight for the Lightning. Tampa's No. 1 netminder is 2-0-1 on the season and has posted victories in both of his career games against the Canucks.