The Tampa Bay Lightning returned home tonight after a brief 1 game road trip to Raleigh to face the Hurricanes Sunday night. That game came down to an early overtime goal by the Hurricanes. IN their last six games the Lightning have not had very good luck. Their record has been a rough 1-4-1 through those games. The Bolts have had issues in the past during the month of December, but usually can turn on the jets in January. Tonight they welcomed in the Vancouver Canucks who have had some troubles of their own.
The first period hasn’t been kind to the Lightning this season as the team can’t seem to find their groove early in games often enough. Tonight, was no different as the Canucks struck first at the 3:59 mark as a breakdown in play by Nikita Kucherov would allow Jack Skille to notch his first goal of the season. Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop would be the victim once again of a fluke goal. Around the nine-minute mark Erik Gudbranson would fire a heater from the point in the Lightning’s defensive zone. The puck would bounce off the wall behind Bishop who would attempt to knock it away / cover it… unfortunately the puck would bounce off his blocker and straight into the net for a 2-0 Vancouver lead. While the Bolts out-shot the Canucks through most of the opening period it was the lucky bounces that went the Canucks way early in this game.
Tampa would continue their sluggish play into the second period while also continuing out-shooting the Canucks. Vancouver would strike again with just over nine minutes gone in the 2nd. Jayson Megna would deflect the puck just right and send it tumbling past Bishop for a 3-0 lead. With just under seven minutes remaining in the 2nd period the Lightning would get a nice little flurry in front of Canucks goalie Ryan Miller. At this point the Lightning had out-shot the Canucks by a 2-1 margin (25-12). Finally after numerous rebounds bounce off Miller Jonathan Drouin was able to bury a rebound and give the Lightning a little hope. That hope would be all but dashed with about a second left in the 2nd period. Jayson Megna would notch his second goal of the game to all but seal it for the Canucks.
Andrei Vasilevskiy would take over for Bishop in the third period and would fare a little bit better, but unfortunately Jack Skille would also notch his second goal of the game in the final period. The Lightning ended up out-shooting the Canucks 41-30, but Ryan Miller appeared to be his old self again in net for Vancouver. While the Lightning had opportunities Miller would consistently make highlight reel saves to keep the Lightning off the scoreboard. This was a Jekyll and Hyde game for the Lightning. At times they looked like the high octane team that has scored 4-5 goals in a game. Then there were times where they looked extremely sluggish. One things for sure they have to figure out how to score without Stamkos or this will be a very long four month span.
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star – Jayson Megna – 2 goals on the night to lead the Canucks..
2nd Star – Ryan Miller – As I said the guy stopped 40 shots tonight and made highlight reel saves to keep the Lightning from scoring.
3rd Star – Jack Skille – The Canucks had two guys with two goals tonight he’s the other one.
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