The Tampa Bay Lightning will start Brian Elliott in goal Wednesday evening, while the Canucks go with Spencer Martin. Vancouver will attempt to move closer to .500 on the season with a victory, presently four games below that mark and twelve points behind the 2nd wild card position in the NHL’s Western Conference.
The Lightning come in off a 4-1 win in Seattle on Monday afternoon that snapped the Kraken’s eight game winning streak. Despite only being halfway through the season Tampa Bay pretty much knows already, barring a complete collapse by the Boston Bruins or an incredible surge by the Florida Panthers, that they’ll finish in 2nd or 3rd place in the Atlantic Division and play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bolts are four points behind the Leafs for 2nd place and home ice in that series, but have three games in hand.
With just two goals in his last fourteen games, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has struggled to reach the 500 goal plateau for his career, although he did pick up number-499 against the Canucks six nights ago on January 12th in Tampa.
“Stammer” should feel relatively confident that he’ll reach the milestone Wednesday evening in Vancouver, especially if the Canucks fail to stay out of the penalty box. Tampa features the NHL’s 2nd best power play with a success rate of 28.8% while the Vancouver penalty kill is dead last at 66.7%.
Part of the first unit, Stamkos will set up in the left wing circle on the man advantage and unleash one-timers at Martin in the Canucks net. Obviously it could happen at even strength as well and fans in attendance at Rogers Arena have a decent chance of seeing NHL history made.
Press Box Ban
Veteran reporter and podcaster Jeff Paterson acknowledged yesterday that his Canucks media credential privileges have been curtailed this season, somewhat short of the outright ban that we have experienced.
More on the disgraceful and dishonest policy very shortly once some legalities get cleared up. In the meantime, this was “JPat’s” diplomatic response on Tuesday after not being allowed into Jim Rutherford’s press conference on Monday.
“The press conference was not the issue. The issue is one of season-long access. In October, the hockey club made a decision to deny media accreditation to GoGoat Sports (Sekeres & Price/Rink Wide). As such, access has been limited this season. We have tried to work with the organization to find a resolution to this matter. We believe we meet all of the criteria necessary to be accredited. We look forward to the day when we once again have full access. Despite the obstacles, we pledge to continue to provide the loyal and passionate fans in this market with the independent coverage they expect and deserve.”
We appreciate his position and efforts and echo that final sentiment. More to come.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!