By Jake Ricker
The Lightning took on the Vancouver Canucks last night as they looked to start the road trip off right. Captain Steven Stamkos would again enter the game with 499 career goals looking to become the 47th player in NHL history to reach 500 goals. Here are a few things we noticed from the win.
Steven Stamkos finally hit 500 goals, and it was a great one. Stammer went right to the net, got a great pass from Killorn, and tapped it home. Stamkos became the 47th player in NHL history to reach the milestone and just the 19th player to do it in under 1,000 games. It is a huge accomplishment for the captain and was worth the wait. He also scored two other goals for a hat trick joining another exclusive list of players to score a hat trick on their 500th goal.
The Lightning outscored the Canucks 4-0 in the first 20 minutes and controlled most of the period. Once Stamkos scored, the floodgates opened. The Lightning offense was moving quickly and running circles around the Vancouver defense. Despite leading 4-0, the Lightning were outshot in the first 18-12.
The Lightning were really good offensively but did have some issues on the defensive side, although they held the Canucks off the board. A late part of that was thanks to Elliott, who was very good in net. Still, one spot to improve in an overall fantastic first 20 minutes.
Brian Elliott was fantastic in this game, stopping 37 shots. What was most impressive in this game was Elliott's rebound control. Despite facing shot after shot Elliott was able to hold off the incoming rushes with relative ease.
Elliott had to be solid late in this game as well when the Lightning started to give the Canucks some chances to get back in this game. Despite Vancouver scoring twice in the third, Elliott eventually shut it down and helped get the Lightning another two points.
While the score might not look as bad, the Lightning started to let the Canucks crawl back into this game. It has been an issue for the Lightning for the last few weeks. After getting too complacent, they got into penalty trouble leading to the Canucks scoring and gaining momentum.
Luckily this time, the Lightning got things back under control and held on for the win. The struggles of closing out games seemed to be behind us, but the issue did show itself again tonite. With that said, it shouldn't be too much of a concern for the Lightning moving forward, as they have been much better on this road trip.
1. Stamkos (3G)
2. Kuzmenko (1G)
3. Elliott (37SV)
The Lightning's next game will be against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, January 19th, at 9:00 PM ET.
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