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Lightning roll into meeting with Canucks with history on their side

Jan 14, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) makes a save as defenseman Nick Leddy (4) defends against Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Riding the high of four consecutive wins, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to continue their longstanding success in Vancouver when they visit the Canucks on Wednesday.

Despite the wide geographical gap between Tampa Bay and Vancouver, the Canucks’ arena has been a home away from home for the Lightning for over a decade. Dating back to the 2010-11 season, the Lightning are 7-1-0 in their last eight road games against the Canucks.

Between these historical statistics and the current difference in form between the two teams, the Canucks face a major challenge on Wednesday. The Lightning are 18 points ahead of the Canucks in the standings and are 13-4-0 in their last 17 games.

The Lightning’s current four-game win streak includes a 5-4 win over the Canucks in Tampa Bay last Thursday, and a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Monday. Though the Kraken entered that contest on an eight-game winning streak, they managed only 23 shots against a tight Tampa Bay defense.

“We played a pretty complete game, to be honest. I didn’t feel like we were in a ton of trouble all night,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re a good hockey team so they’re going to get some chances, but I thought we limited them pretty well. They pushed, (as) to be expected, but we weathered it.”

It was the fourth time in Tampa Bay’s last five games that an opponent was limited to 25 or fewer shots.

While the Lightning are rolling, the Canucks are only 2-7-0 over their last nine games.

However, Vancouver is coming off a stirring 4-3 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, as the Canucks twice came back to equalize during regulation. With just 17 seconds left in the third period, Brock Boeser tallied the game-tying goal to force overtime and a successful shootout for the Canucks.

“There is no quit on this team, no matter how we get down,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “I feel like all road trip … we fought our way back and at least made it interesting in a lot of games. To finally get rewarded tonight definitely feels good.”

Collin Delia and Spencer Martin have essentially been splitting goaltending duty while Thatcher Demko has been injured, and Delia stopped 29 of 32 shots against the Hurricanes. This solid outing could earn Delia another start on Wednesday, as Martin is 0-5-0 with a .860 save percentage in his last five games.

Travis Dermott is questionable for Wednesday after missing Vancouver’s last two games with an undisclosed injury.

The Canucks are 5-for-27 on the power play over their last seven games. Vancouver will have to stay sharp with the extra attacker to help counter Tampa Bay’s outstanding power play, especially since the Canucks are close to the bottom of the league in penalty-kill percentage.

Steven Stamkos has seven points (one goal, six assists) during a five-game point streak, and is looking for a milestone tally on Wednesday. Stamkos has 499 career NHL goals, leaving him one marker short of being the 47th player to reach the 500-goal plateau.

Since the Lightning also play on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers, starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott figure to split the back-to-back starts. Vasilevskiy could be saved for the tougher competition in Edmonton, so backup Elliott might be favored to start against the Canucks.

–Field Level Media