Canucks vs Lightning Preview: 3 Things to Watch

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The Vancouver Canucks have been on a roll of late. They have come out on top in each of their last seven games and will be looking to keep the ball rolling. Here are three things that Vancouver will need to implement if they want to stretch the streak out against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

3. Second Line Surge

Bo Horvat has had trouble finding consistency in his linemates throughout this season. With their current second line of Bo Horvat, Tanner Pearson and Loui Eriksson chemistry is beginning to emerge.

The trio is an effective shutdown line that can damper the opposition’s top scorers. Horvat and Pearson have been able to open up offensively flanked by Eriksson during this seven-game stretch. Three of Eriksson’s four points came in this stretch. Horvat and Pearson have been extremely effective each boasting nine points.

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Canucks linemates Bo Horvat (53) and Tanner Pearson (70) | Courtesy: globeandmail.com

2. Continued Brilliance From Pettersson and Hughes

It may sound pretentious to use the word ‘brilliant’ when describing an athlete, but in this case it is 100% necessary. 20 year-old Quinn Hughes and 21 year-old Elias Pettersson have both displayed brilliance throughout this entire season. Pettersson currently leads the entire Canucks roster in scoring with 44 points in 42 games. He has been able to add nine points during this seven game run. Hughes, a defenceman, is sitting on 30 points in his rookie season at this moment. Hughes has been able to record four points during this streak.

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VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 12: Quinn Hughes #43 and Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks skate up ice during their NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Rogers Arena October 12, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Some fans are believers that these two competitors could be the best center and defenceman respectively to be drafted by the Canucks. While citing Pettersson as Vancouver’s greatest all-time center is a stretch when considering that Trevor Linden and Henrik Sedin were both Canuck-draftees, it may fair to argue in favour of Hughes. No defenceman in the 50-year Canuck history has had a start to a rookie season that is as successful as the performance Hughes has put forward thus far. Both of these guys will need to continue playing well against Tampa Bay if the Canucks are expected to win.

1. A Brick Wall in Net

The biggest reason for the Canucks’ recent success has been their goaltending. Jacob Markstrom has been absolutely stellar during this stretch. Markstrom has started six times for the Canucks during this streak where he has faced over 40 shots twice. Although he had a below average performance during the 7-5 win against the Blackhawks, Markstrom is still sitting at an elite .931 SV%. He has been the MVP for Vancouver during multiple games throughout this streak and has made some game-saving stops.

The Canucks’ backup goaltender Thatcher Demko started during the game against the Calgary Flames. He was returning from injury but he didn’t seem to show any rust. Demko made 23 saves as Vancouuver won 3-2 in overtime. Regardless of which goalie gets the start on Tuesday, they should be capable of extending the streak to eight if they can live up to recent performances.

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Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) | Courtesy: vancourier.com

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