VANCOUVER, BC – The Canucks have come from their long holiday break and have not fared well. On New Year’s Day, Vancouver dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Lightning.
“It was our worst game of the year,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “We deserved to lose that one. I just think it was a game that we were out of sorts, out of sync, and it wasn’t just one particular guy. It was the whole team. And you know what? It’s in the trash can already.”
Eddie Lack made his third straight start for the Canucks for the ailing Roberto Luongo.
Neither team demonstrated much commitment in the opening twenty minutes and the frame ended scoreless. In the second, the teams went back and forth before Tampa Bay went to the dressing room with a 3-2 lead.
Brad Richardson opened the scoring for the Canucks but the Bolts replied with two of their own for a 2-1 lead. Zac Dalpe scored his first of the season late in the third to tie things up again.
Nikita Kercherov scored for the Lightning with three seconds left in the period to give Tampa Bay the lead for good.
“I saw there was like three seconds left and I just closed my eyes and shoot the puck,” Kucherov said. “For me, it’s an awesome goal, and I think for the team too. It’s nice to start the new year with a win.”
Much of the post game conversation centered on Lightning’s goalie Ben Bishop who was “snubbed” by the USA Olympic team in favor of Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller.
“By looking at the numbers, if you were looking at just this year, does Ben deserve, numbers-wise, to be on the team? For sure he does,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said, stressing he would never second-guess the roster decisions. “But if you look at the body of work of Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller, you can’t argue that.
“Remember, Ben doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience yet and that’s a big stage, but he’ll represent the U.S. in the future. He’s just coming into his own right now. … The one thing Ben Bishop has done is put himself in the conversation as one of the top American goalies.”