The last, and only, time the Canucks started a season with four straight wins was back in the 1992.93 campaign – the same season the Lightning entered the NHL as an expansion franchise. Tampa Bay has come a long way since then and, with all due respect to the two Alberta teams that the Canucks have earned their victories against so far, will pose the first true challenge for the unbeaten Canucks in this young season. Vancouver earned a hard-fought 2-0 win last night in Edmonton thanks to a combined six-point performance from the top line of the Sedin twins and Radim Vrbata as well as a 28-save shutout performance by Ryan Miller.
The Lightning, who are kicking off a five-game Western Conference road swing tonight, are looking to rebound from their first regulation loss of the season after falling 2-1 to the Devils on Tuesday. The Lightning have not traditionally fared well when facing the Canucks over the years but last season was an exception as Tampa Bay swept the two-game regular season series, including notching a 4-2 victory at Rogers Arena back on New Year's Day. Tonight's game marks the return of former Canuck Jason Garrison to Rogers Arena. The White Rock-native spent just two seasons in Vancouver before being dealt away at this past June's NHL Entry Draft. Ben Bishop is the likely starter for the Lightning while Eddie Lack, who has yet to appear in a game this season, figures to get the call for the Canucks with Miller having played last night although that could change if Coach Desjardins opts to ride the hot hand. The Canucks may be without the services of defenceman Ryan Stanton as he suffered a lower-body injury in last night's win. If he can't go, expect to see Yannick Weber for the first time this season.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Everybody shows up. On any given night you'd ideally want all your skaters to turn in a solid effort but that's especially the case when you're playing your second game in as many nights when fatigue might be a factor. Vancouver's blue-liners, in particular, will want to spread out their minutes after many of them logged extra work last night due to injuries to Ryan Stanton and, for a time, Dan Hamhuis.
Don't lose sight of Hedman. The 23-year-old Lightning defenceman appears poised for a breakout season and has been on fire to start the season. He has three goals and seven points in four games played, with five of those points coming on the power play where Tampa Bay is clicking at 31.6 percent so far this season (6 for 19).
Don't change the game plan. The Lightning won't want to deviate too far from what they have done so far that has made them successful so far this season, namely get shots and plenty of them. They're averaging 35 shots per game so far and averaging 3.25 goals per game as a result. They have yet to be out-shot in a game this season.
By the Numbers
All-time home win percentage for the Canucks against the Lightning (9-1-3).
Save percentage for Eddie Lack last season against Tampa Bay (55 saves on 63 shots over two games).
Shots, and 0 points, for ex-Canuck Jason Garrison in four games played this season with Tampa Bay.
Birthday for Canucks assistant coach Doug Lidster today. Happy Birthday Coach!
Career game for Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat tonight.
Consecutive game sellout streak for Canucks hockey snapped tonight, 13 shy of NHL record held by Avalanche.