Close again, but the Vancouver Canucks suffered another loss to all but dash their playoff hopes.
The Canucks got two goals from Alex Burrows – he now has five goals in his last four games after going 35 games without – but still fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a final score of 4-3 on Monday.
Jannik Hansen scored short handed to get Vancouver to within a goal – twice in this game they trailed by three goals – but they couldn’t complete the comeback. The loss keeps them in the 10th spot in the Western Conference, three points back of the current eighth-place holders, the Dallas Stars. Dallas now has four games in hand on Vancouver.
It was another case of the Canucks not being able to finish their chances, and not being able to keep the puck out of their own net. The two goals they allowed in the second period went off Vancouver defenseman Ryan Stanton. Seconds before each of those goals, the Canucks had chances to score on Ben Bishop at the other end, but couldn’t.
The winning goal was also one goalie Eddie Lack would probably like to have back, as Tom Pyatt scored through the five-hole of Lack on a shot from a bad angle, giving Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead.
“We didn’t get points and we needed points. That’s it,” said Canucks head coach John Tortorella, as per the club’s Twitter account.
There was also no update on defenseman Chris Tanev, who left the game early in the second period.
He did not return to the game. In the first period, he blocked a pair of Steven Stamkos slap shot, although it’s not yet known if that’s what took him from the game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are finally starting to get healthy.
On Thursday, it was announced that defenseman Victor Hedman would return to the lineup when the Bolts host the Predators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Hedman, 23, has missed the last six games with a lower body injury, derailing what was shaping up to be a career campaign. The Swedish rearguard had six goals and 15 points through his first 28 games, tremendous output for a guy that had never scored more than five goals in a single season before, or posted more than 26 points.
Hedman was also averaging 21:20 TOI per game prior to getting hurt, second on the team to only Matt Carle (22:18).
As mentioned above, Tampa’s had injury issues all season long but can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hedman returns tonight, and Tom Pyatt — out since October with a broken collarbone — is expected to draw in Saturday against Carolina.
The Bolts also got good news over the weekend when Steven Stamkos returned to skate just one month after breaking his tibia.
Tampa defenseman Eric Brewer was a late scratch from Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Columbus, and it appears his ailment could keep him out for more than just one game.
“He tweaked something, so we’ll see,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Tribune.
When asked if there was concern about Brewer missing more than just the Jackets game, Cooper replied “yes, there’s lots of concern.”
Brewer, 34, had appeared in every game for Tampa Bay prior to last night, notching five assists while averaging 16:25 TOI per game.
While his minutes have decreased notably since last season — he averaged 20:31 during the lockout-shortened campaign — Brewer remains a veteran leader on the team and is one of the few Lightning players to have served as a NHL captain (he wore the “C” in St. Louis for three seasons.)
The Lightning said Brewer will be reevaluated prior to Thursday’s game against Ottawa. Should he be unable to go, Brewer would join a huge list of injured Bolts players, one that includes Radko Gudas (upper body), Ryan Malone (fractured ankle), Steven Stamkos (broken leg), Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and Pierre-Cedric Labrie (arm).
The banged-up Tampa Bay Lightning will be without two more regulars on Monday night.
Forward Ryan Malone and defenseman Radko Gudas are both out with injuries, head coach Jon Cooper announced this morning. That’s opened the door for AHL scoring sensation Nikita Kucherov to make his NHL debut, skating on a line with Alex Killorn and Teddy Purcell.
Kucherov, the 58th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has 24 points in 17 games for Syracuse this season and sits second in American League scoring, four back of league leader Travis Morin (28 points for Texas).
While it promises to be an exciting evening for Kucherov, the Lightning can’t be happy with the way things have unfolded in November. The club already lost leading scorer Steve Stamkos to a broken tibia and Keith Aulie to an upper-body ailment, and those came after Tom Pyatt suffered a broken collarbone and Brian Lee underwent knee surgery the month prior.
As for Malone and Gudas, the former has nine points in 23 games this year while the latter has six, but is averaging close to 20 minutes per game and has emerged as a physical stalwart on the Bolts’ blueline.
The Tampa Bay Lightning called up Nikita Kucherov and Dmitry Korobov on Sunday thanks in part to injuries to Ryan Malone and Radko Gudas.
Kucherov is the guy to watch.
The 2011 second-rounder (58th overall) has impressed so far, including his first season in the AHL. The 20-year-old already has 24 points in 17 games with Syracuse Crunch, including 13 goals. (The Lightning tend to follow the Detroit Red Wings model of developing prospects slowly, so Raw Charge notes that Tom Pyatt’s expected return might mean Kucherov won’t get much of a chance to impress at the NHL level.)
Malone didn’t practice on Sunday after taking a shot off the foot during Friday’s game, according to the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.
Erlendsson also reports that Radko Gudas is out of commission with an upper-body injury, opening the door for this call-up for Korobov.