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Canucks Wrap: Lightning Hang On to Beat Vancouver 2-1

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Vancouver Canucks, JT Miller
JT Miller scores his 24th goal of the season for the Vancouver Canucks to cut the Tampa Bay Lightning lead to 2-1 in the 3rd period.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Vancouver Canucks 1

Entering …

— It turns out there was something to Elias Pettersson missing the morning skate. He also missed the game. Wrist? Not sure, but it’s called upper body.

— Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller entered the game with a career high 11-game point streak. He would extend it to 12 with his 24th goal of the season.

VHN reported Saturday that Sheldon Rempal would replace Nils Höglander in the Canucks line-up. With ‘Petey’ hurt, the swap wasn’t necessary and both men played. The dynamic centre’s absence led to some serious line juggling for head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Tanner Pearson, JT Miller, Conor Garland

Nils Höglander, Matthew Highmore, Alex Chiasson

Vasily Podkolzin, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser

Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko, Sheldon Rempal

Michelin Man Part II

Before the NHL regulated goalie gear more strictly over the last two decades, netminders used to take advantage of as much padding as they could. Garth Snow of the Philadelphia Flyers, Canucks and New York Islanders famously resembled the “Michelin Man”, a cartoon character mascot from American tire advertisements. The simple concept; wear as much stuffing as you could to stop pucks.

Looking at Andrei Vasilevskiy reminds you of the same thing, yet it’s more human than pads. He’s the same height as Snow but 30-pounds heavier. Truly a mountain of a man who takes up a helluva lot of net. Throw in the fact his anticipation is uncanny and the Canucks were up against it.

As the legs started to give out on the road-weary Lightning, who lost Saturday night in Edmonton, Thursday night in Calgary, and Tuesday night in Winnipeg, it came down to the ‘Vasilevskiy show’.

He finally gave way once at 5:54 of the third but that’s all the Canucks could muster.

Swagger

That Canucks swagger we talked about earlier Sunday comes from winning some hockey games. The Tampa Bay Lightning have perma-swagger as two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. No quarter given. Every game is chippy. They’re loaded with talent and toughness and they never back down.

From a confidence standpoint, it’s like watching the late-’70’s Montreal Canadiens or the early-80’s New York Islanders. More often than not they owned you.

On a positive note, the Canucks continued to clear their crease area aggressively, protect their goalie Thatcher Demko, and perform defensively with some truculence.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Tampa Bay – Victor Hedman (15) – Pat Maroon, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (3:26) Even Strength

1st Period 2-0 Tampa Bay – Ross Colton (11) – Corey Perry (5:06) Even Strength

3rd Period 2-1 Vancouver – JT Miller (24) – Conor Garland, Tanner Pearson (5:54) Even Strength

Rempal’s Debut

Sheldon Rempal, with ten previous games of NHL experience, made his Vancouver Canucks debut Sunday night. He saw limited shifts and ice time as one might expect. He’s been very productive this season at the AHL level in Abbotsford with 48 points in 41 games.

Rempal finished the evening with 9:11 in ice time.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Led a D-corps that got off to a slow start. Had 3 shots on goal.

2) Thatcher Demko – In very similar fashion to Friday night against the Washington Capitals, Demko made big saves while down 2-0 to keep his club within shouting distance after 2 periods. Made 29 saves.

1) JT Miller – Led the team in hits and shots on goal and extended his point streak to 12 games with his 24th goal of the season.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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