GAME 44: Sleepers Don’t Strike Twice vs. Vancouver!

You Be My Thunder; I’ll Be Your Lightning

Excuse me while I pick myself up after Monday night’s letdown in Sunrise, Florida.

Canucks vs. Lightning

GAME 44: Sleepers Don't Strike Twice

There are some games the Canucks lose that just really tick you off and there are those that are just annoying.

Monday’s falls into the annoying category.

I said it wouldn’t be a sleeper but dear Luongod was I wrong or what? I apologize for misleading you.

In fact, it was so boring, I started the hashtag #StarWarsCanucks midway through the third.

I don’t mean to brag, but check this one out:


Take that Dale!

The Canucks are hopping a late night bus for the 4 hour trip to Tampa Monday night and hopefully by the time 4:30PST rolls around, they will actually be awake.

It would be easy to use the excuse of it just being a whole different type of game from Saturday but Manny Malhotra was straight up with @SportsnetMurph post game Monday when he owned up to the loss and said he just couldn’t put his finger on why they came out like they did.

Anyhow, yes, the Nucks play the Bolts for the first time since Nazzy Night; December 9th, 2010; a 5-4 OT loss for Vancouver; one which T-Bay won on a 4-on-3 PP.

I remember it in such detail because I was there.

Here are the proverbial keys to the proverbial car that will be Tuesday night’s tilt:

Tampa Bay – Growing Pains

Last season Tampa Bay went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals; expectedly so and lost to the Bruins. Regardless, just look at their talent; Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier.

I’ll take that trio any day, but it hasn’t been the same story this season for the thunderous ones.

It kind of feels like T-Bay and Florida switched spots this season in terms of who was going to be good and who wasn’t. But that’s not to say Tampa hasn’t had some bright spots, namely Stamkos who has 45 points, including a league leading 28 goals. As expected, those other two superstars I just named follow right behind him in team scoring.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, Dwayne Roloson has been but a shell of his former self. He isn’t even the starter anymore. Now that role belongs to former Oiler Mathieu Garon who has started 24 games to Rolly’s 16.

At this rate, it’s impossible to tell who will get the nod Tuesday night, and that even goes for the Canucks. Lu had a strong game versus Florida but his team crapped the bed in front of him.

Maybe it’s just some growing pains. The Lightning lost Brett Connolly for a couple weeks to the WJHC. Steve Downie hasn’t really matured yet as he is -17 and leads the team with 100 PIM’s; 60 more than the next guy.

Canucks vs. Lightning

Vancouver Canucks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Gambling Odds & Preview

Then you have the supposed to be top notch D-Man and 2009 2nd Overall Pick Victor Hedman. He has a paltry 6 points in 32 games.

You can pretty much sum up Tampa Bay’s season to that of the Canucks game Monday in Sunrise; it just hasn’t been their year.

Vancouver – What Goes Down Must Come Up

As mentioned, the Canucks basically played the role of a whoopee cushion Monday as the Panthers sat on top of them and blew all the stinky air right into Canucks fans’ faces.

Now that I think of it, doesn’t the top of Rogers Arena kind of resemble a whoopee cushion?

Sadly, AV will not be at the All Star Game to coach against Claude Julien. If only his first place in the West team could have played like that, then he would be flying to Ottawa the weekend of January 29th.

The honour goes instead to Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan.

Also, you’d think a game like the one against Florida would be ideal for the Sedin twins to bust out and put up a few points, but NOOOOO, League leader in points Henrik Sedin put out a 0 shot performance that was sleepier than a Snorlax in the wonderful world of Pokémon.

A game against a mediocre team in Tampa (5-4-1 in last 10) will be another opportunity for that.

If I was a betting man, I’d say Luongo will get the start, despite the fact it would be him getting both starts in back to back games. He was the Canucks best player along with ‘muh boi’ Cody Hodgson versus Florida and frankly deserves the start; especially after getting shafted for the start in Boston.

Additionally, Aaron Rome will not be back in the lineup just yet with his broken thumb.

Additionally additionally, David Booth will take morning skate and I can see him giving AV the go-ahead to put him in the lineup.

He was medically cleared to play Sunday.

BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver

All in all, this game will feature a helluva lot of fire power and I say this with more confidence than last time:

It should not be a sleeper. We’ll see how many times it takes for me to get that right.

Sportsnet Murph has tweeted that Cory Schneider will get the start tonight in Tampa Bay.


Puck Drop is at 4:30 PST from the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. The game can be seen on the S-PAC or heard on the Team 1040.


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About Josh Hall

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  • Tampa Bay is a team that I could see making a good offer for Schneider but I can’t figure out what would make sense coming back.


    • Not sure I want Downie. Too undisciplined.

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