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Game 42: New Year's Dud

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
In their final game of 2013, Canucks head coach John Tortorella indicated he liked his team's effort despite it being a shootout loss to the Flyers. There won't be much that Torts will like from his team's performance in their first game of 2014.

Nikita Kucherov's goal with 2.6 seconds left in the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and proved to be the eventual game-winner as the Lightning spoiled the opening game of the New Year for the Canucks by skating off Rogers Arena ice with a 4-2 win.

The loss was the Canucks' first regulation defeat on home ice since November 23 and snapped their streak of eight straight games with a point earned at Rogers Arena.

Kucherov's goal capped an offensive explosion for both teams in the middle stanza that saw them combine for five goals in the final 8:35 of the period, including four in the final in the final 4:33 of the frame.

After a scoreless first period that was largely dominated by the Lightning to the point where Torts felt it necessary to burn his team's timeout less than 10 minutes into the game, Vancouver managed to draw first blood in the middle period courtesy of Brad Richardson's eighth goal of the season just past the midway mark of the period.

The Lightning, however, would counter and get the upper hand shortly after with Valtteri Filppula and Tyler Johnson scoring 20 seconds apart but Zac Dalpe, with his first tally as a Canuck, would get Vancouver back on even terms just 14 seconds after Johnson's go-ahead goal.

Alex Killorn added an insurance marker in the third period for the Lightning to round out the scoring.

Eddie Lack, making his fourth consecutive start in place of the injured Roberto Luongo, allowed four goals for the first time since his NHL debut back on October 6 in Calgary and suffered his first regulation defeat since November 10. He finished with 29 saves on 33 shots.

Ben Bishop made 27 saves on 29 shots for the Lightning in the victory.

The Canucks hit the road for two games in two days in California over the weekend beginning on Saturday in Los Angeles when the face the Kings.

The three goals scored in a span of 34 seconds during the second period by Tampa Bay's Filppula and Johnson, and Vancouver's Dalpe, were four seconds shy of the Canucks' team record for fastest three goals by both teams which was set in a game against the Oilers back on February 14, 1988. It was, however, the fastest three goals by both teams in Lightning team history eclipsing the previous record of 42 seconds they set back on December 21, 1993 in a game against the Penguins.

GOOD DAY, BAD DAY: Ryan Kesler received some good news on Wednesday afternoon when it was revealed after the NHL's Winter Classic that he had been named to the U.S. Olympic team to compete in Sochi. His evening, however, left something to be desired. After being on the ice for all three Flyers' goals on Monday, Kesler found himself on the ice for all four Lightning goals of this outing. He was also held without a shot for just the fourth time this season.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: This was just the Canucks' fifth all-time home game on New Year's Day and their first-ever at Rogers Arena. They have yet to win a New Year's Day home game falling to 0-4-1 all-time. Their overall New Year's Day record fell to 4-4-1... Dan Hamhuis had his three-game point streak snapped... Zac Dalpe's goal was his first in 27 games played... Tom Sestito's assist on Dalpe's marker was his first helper in 78 games played and his first in nearly two full years. His last assist came while he was with the Flyers in a game on January 24, 2012 against the Panthers... The Lightning improved to 12-7-4 this season without Steven Stakmos in their lineup... Ex-Canuck Sami Salo sat out the game with an upper-body injury but received a warm ovation by the Rogers Arena crowd when shown on the scoreboard during the third period. Former Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness, now with the Lightning, was also given an ovation when shown on the scoreboard during the first period.

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