Next Canucks game: 3 things to know about the Tampa Bay Lightning

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TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

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37-14-6, 2nd in the Metropolitan Division

at VANCOUVER CANUCKS

29-23-7, 5th Pacific Division

Sunday7 p.m., Rogers Arena.

TV: Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 6:50 a.m.


WHY WATCH

The Canucks may have lost Friday night, but they still had a point over their rivals and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They know the drill: they just have to keep winning, although it also helps that the Vegas Golden The Knights have slipped and are only three points ahead of the Canucks. Vancouver also has one game less. The Canucks are in the middle of a meat grinder schedule, playing every other night and then next weekend playing twice in two nights. They aren’t tired yet but could be next weekend, so winning now, before they fight against themselves, would be ideal.

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POINT HEADS

LIGHTNING

1. Steven Stamkos GP 56 G 27 A 36 PTS 63 (+11)

2. Victor Hedman GP 57 G 14 A 43 PTS 57 (+14)

3. John Carlson GP 57 G 18 A 29 PTS 47 (+3)

CANUCKS

1. JT Miller GP 57 G 23 A 46 PTS 69 (+7)

2. Quinn Hughes GP 53 G 5 A 43 PTS 48 (+10)

3. Elias Pettersson GP 59 G 18 A 24 PTS 42 (+1)


SPECIAL TEAMS

LIGHTNING: PP 20.5% (16th) PK 80.1% (16th)

CANUCKS: PP 21.7% (15th) PK 70.2% (32nd)


THREE THINGS ABOUT LIGHTNING

Net: The Lightning are in Edmonton on Saturday but chose to start replacement Brian Elliott against the Oilers. That means unless he gets hit by a real lightning bolt, the Canucks are pretty much certain to face Tampa’s No. 1 goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy. He is an eternal candidate for the Vézina Trophy as the best goaltender in the league. Shows you how much opposing teams respect the Canucks right now.

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• Shots, who needs shots? : The Lightning lost in Calgary and Winnipeg this week. They weren’t their usual dominant selves in March and they were tempted to shoot, which is never a good trend. But they’re the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, so any idea that they’re some kind of paper tiger is ridiculous. When the playoffs start, a lot of people will choose them to play in the Stanley Cup Finals again.

Commercial interest: There have been some late bonding reports between Tyler Motte and the Lightning. The hustle forward would fit in well with the Lightning, but there’s also speculation the Lightning would be interesting in adding a reliable veteran on the blue line, “a Luke Schenn guy” one outlet suggested. And Schenn himself? The veteran Canuck spent the past two seasons in Tampa and was a No. 7 fielder for the Lighting.


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