(SportsNetwork.com) – The Willie Desjardins era is off to a perfect start so
far and his Vancouver Canucks will try to improve to 4-0 when they host the
Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Desjardins replaced the fired John Tortorella as Vancouver’s head coach this
offseason, and the rookie bench boss has yet to taste defeat three games into
his NHL coaching career.
However, after beating Calgary to open the season and picking up two victories
against Edmonton, Desjardins and the Canucks expect to face a tougher test
Saturday against the Lightning.
“We want to show what we can do,” Desjardins said of tonight’s test. “It’ll be
a tough game for sure but it’s our chance to show we’re a good team.”
Ryan Miller posted 28 saves for his first shutout in a Canucks sweater and
30th of his career, as Vancouver picked up Friday’s 2-0 road win over the
“It was an important game for us to keep things moving along. It was a good
battle for both teams,” said Miller, who signed a three-year deal with
Vancouver over the summer.
Radim Vrbata scored the winning goal in the second period for the Canucks and
Daniel Sedin sealed the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Vrbata and Daniel Sedin each finished with a goal and an assist, while Henrik
Sedin posted a pair of helpers.
Vancouver defenseman Ryan Stanton left Friday’s game with a lower-body injury
and is questionable for tonight.
After Saturday’s home test, the Canucks will return to the road for a three-
game swing. The trek begins Tuesday in Dallas before Vancouver makes stops in
St. Louis and Colorado.
Meanwhile, the well-rested Lightning will try to get their five-game road trip
off to a good start tonight. Tampa began the season with a 2-1-1 record on
home ice, but has been idle since losing Tuesday’s 2-1 decision against the
visiting New Jersey Devils.
Tampa was 21-17-3 as the away team last season and hopes to begin its 2014-15
road slate on a positive note against the Canucks. The Bolts have picked up
wins in their last two trips to Vancouver, but that’s after going winless in
their first 11 trips to B.C.
All told, the Lightning have won four of five and five of the last seven
meetings in this series.
Tampa tied the Devils 1-1 on Alex Killorn’s goal at 8:59 of the third period,
but over two minutes later Mike Cammalleri was able to deliver the game-winner
for New Jersey.
With Steven Stamkos in the box for hooking, Martin Havlat controlled the puck
in the right circle and whipped a pass atop the crease for Patrik Elias. His
shot was stopped by Lightning goalie Evgeni Nabokov, but an unmarked
Cammalleri swatted home the rebound for a 2-1 game with 8:41 remaining.
Nabokov stopped 23 shots in an unsuccessful Tampa debut, while the Lightning
went 0-for-4 on the power play.
“We had chances as they did. It came down to specials teams in the end,” said
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper.
Ben Bishop expects to get the start in net tonight for the Lightning. Tampa’s
No. 1 netminder is 2-0-1 on the season and has posted victories in both of his
career games against the Canucks.