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Canucks vs Lightning Pre-game / Game Thread

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Update: 2:10 PM PST

Lightning working on team defence at practice today. Marek Malik feeling coach Tocchet's wrath, and Lecavalier has a bruised foot.

Update: 9:40 AM PST

Vigneault's patience with Wellwood obviously wearing thin:

“He’s an offensive player that is supposed to be able to produce and right now he is not,” Vigneault said. “He is getting a regular shift five-on-five and is getting every power play. As a coach, that’s all I can do. I have shown him that I have confidence that he can get it done.

“On the same take, I know that I have to keep my finger on there. It took Kyle five years to figure out he had to get in pretty good shape to play at this level, so I know I have to keep my finger on him. But that being said, I have shown a lot of patience. Hopefully, our patience won’t run out.”

2/27 7:53 AM ET Update - In case you were curious how the ex-Canucks on the Lightning are doing this season, ponder no more:


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Lukas Krajicek 52 1 10 11 -1 42 0 0 0 0 49 2.0


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Matt Pettinger 38 2 5 7 -8 9 0 0 1 0 52 3.8


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Marek Malik 40 0 5 5 -3 36 0 0 0 0 21 0.0


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Wade Brookbank 27 1 0 1 0 40 0 0 0 0 8 12.5


As for Krajicek, he returns to the ice tonight after missing three games with a bum hip.


If there was a team in the NHL that the Canucks could use to kick start their offence after being shutout (as they were last game in Montreal) it would be the Lightning. Tampa Bay has never won at GM Place, going 0-7-1 at the Garage. The Bolts have lost 10 of 13 games. They have lost 6 road games in a row, surrendering an average of 4.3 goals per game. They have allowed more than 40 shots per game in their last 5 games. (Thanks for all the stats, Canucks.com).

I have been griping about the futility of the Canucks' 2nd and 3rd lines. Now is their chance to get it going.

Even better news for the Canucks is that they probably won't be facing a goalie performance like they did against Jaroslav Halak in Montreal. Tampa's 2 main goalies, Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig are on the IR. Backups Mike McKenna and Karri Ramo are not getting much help from their teammates obviously, but also are not helping their team.

McKenna: 7 games played, 2-3-1 record, 2.90 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He may get the start over Ramo.

Ramo: 9 games played, 2-4-1 record, 4.04 GAA, and a .898 save percentage.

Holy hell, bring back Manon Rheaume! Please do.

Meanwhile, Shane O'Brien has no love for his former team. He told the papers yesterday that he doesn't want the Canucks to just beat the Lightning. "I want to beat them 10-0 if we can,"

He's not bitter. No not at all. O'Brien also has a hard time keeping his mouth shut, even though I appreciate his sense of humor. More on O'Brien's rant here.

The hockey gods have shown the Canucks some favor. Even after last night's games, Vancouver is still in 5th place and still 3 points up on the 9th and 10th place Oilers and Ducks. Time to take advantage of a weaker Lightning team and increase that gap.

I don't care what anyone says, I don't think the Canucks brought their A-game against the Habs or the Leafs. I want to see more point shots and screens in front of a faltering Lightning goalie. Buckle down!

Do it!

I'll have more updates on either team as the day goes on.

Feel free to hang out here game time and chat it up, predict scores, curse Demitra, etc.

The game is a 7:00 PST start and it's on bloody PPV.

MISC LINK

The Lightning are dropping season ticket prices between 10-80% next season. Part of it is because of the recession, a chunk of it is because the teams sucks so badly that people would rather watch their toe nails grow.