Your Vancouver Canucks squared up against the Tampa Bay Lightning with both clubs riding impressive seven-game winning streaks heading into the battle at Amalie Arena.
And taking the fall in brutal fashion were the Canucks, who struggled to muster up much in a night that saw them cough up nine goals.
The game’s storyline starts and ends with Lightning F Carter Verhaeghe, who doubled his goal total on the season with a hattrick. Jacob Markstrom was chased out of the net after giving up six goals in the second period alone, and Vancouver finds themselves running out of Tampa with their tail tucked between their legs.
The First Frame
Vancouver opened the game largely chasing the puck as the Lightning drove play early. A few good chances by the home squad saw Jacob Markstrom make a few key stops, including a notable chance in tight from Lightning F Alex Killorn who unsuccessfully banged away at a loose puck.
And seconds after, Bo Horvat got the best chance the Canucks had thus far with a high-danger chance right in front of the LIghtning net but back in the defensive zone, he took a hooking penalty.
The 29% powerplay owned by the Lightning faltered, and the Cancuks got their own powerplay chance minutes later when Nikita Kucherov was dinged for reaching in on Quinn Hughes.
For the ninth straight game, the Canucks opened the scoring as with just over a minute left in the first, Elias Pettersson worked some of his usual magic with a beautiful toe drag to open up Andrei Vasilevsky before sliding in a five-hole goal.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 8, 2020
Vancouver kept the momentum up as the second period opened building off the late Pettersson goal. Elias came into the offensive zone making a nice burst to the right of Vasilevsky seemingly bringing all the attention with him before sliding a pass to Brock Boeser who had a nice opportunity.
But that momentum was squandered four and a half minutes into the second when the Lightning got on the board. A poor attempt at a breakout pass out of Vancouver’s zone by Alex Edler was turned over at the Canucks blueline, leading to an odd bounce or two that found the puck past Markstrom.
And when it rains, it pours. With just under 10 minutes left in the frame, Vancouver took a penalty leading to a Tampa powerplay and an offensive zone faceoff. A quick faceoff win by the Lightning landed on the stick of Steven Stamkos, who fired a laser past Markstrom to make it a 2-1 game.
Vancouver got themselves back into the game minutes later, when Tanner Pearson threw a quick pass from the half-wall to the front of the net where Loui Eriksson found the perfect opportunity to deflect it home. And make no mistake, Eriksson did as he tipped the pass past Vasilevsky to tie it up at 2.
The back-and-forth frame continued as 62 seconds later, Killorn capitalized on a Tyler Myers bumble to give himself a breakaway and his second goal of the game. Myers had tried to keep the puck in the Lightning zone but fanned on the attempt and Killorn was quick to turn it the other way streaking down the ice firing a shot past Markstrom. 3-2 Tampa.
Killorn kept up what was already a solid game for the Tampa Bay forward who moments after his 3-2 goal fired a long shot on net producing a rebound. The puck bounced on the stick of Lightning forward Mitchell Stephens, who found the back of the net.
Oddly enough, a shot that appeared to hit the crossbar 30 seconds prior actually snuck past Markstrom and bounced off the back bar of the net and out faster than you could see it. A brief review confirmed such giving Carter Verhaeghe the goal and the Lightning a 4-2 lead with under three minutes to play.
Tampa kept pouring it on late in the second when a Kucherov shot handcuffed Markstrom as it trickled by him before Brayden Coburn tipped an Eric Cernak shot in with 1:58 left in the second.
It marked the end of the night for Markstrom and an ugly scene that saw Tampa score six goals on 14 shots.
Things went from bad to worse in the third, when Brayden Point extended the Lightning almost five minutes into the frame. Walking into the offensive zone to the right of Thatcher Demko, he fired a shot on net, corralled his own rebound, and flipped the shot into the top corner. 7-2.
Verhaeghe got his second of the game with just over seven minutes left in the period taking a cross-ice feed from Mitchell Stephens and beating a sprawling Demko.
A relatively uneventful third period erupted late in the third when Pettersson caught Ondrej Palat with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit at center ice. Pettersson wound up in the penalty box and a subsequent bench minor from the Canucks gave the Bolts a 5-on-3.
And with that, Verhaeghe capped off his hattrick on the man advantage finishing an ugly night for the Vancouver Canucks.
Images via Natural Stat Trick.
The Vancouver Canucks will continue their road trip with a Thursday evening matchup against the Florida Panthers (4 p.m PST) before visiting the Buffalo Sabres Saturday morning (10 a.m PST).
On Twitter: @zjlaing