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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, March 17th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (31-29-10) at Tampa Bay Lightning (36-24-7), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Bishop is one of the main reasons that the Tampa Bay Lightning remain in the playoff picture despite an extended absence by Steven Stamkos due to injury.

Fresh off of setting a club record for wins in a season, Bishop will look to lead the Lightning past the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night in the finale of a six-game homestand.

Though Stamkos missed 45 games from mid-November to early March with a broken right leg, the Lightning were able to keep pace in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. With 79 points, Tampa Bay is occupying the first wild card spot and also is just one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the division.

Bishop has been a big part of that success as he is among the league leaders with 31 wins, five shutouts, a 2.10 goals against average and .929 save percentage.

The 27-year-old, in his first season as a full-time starter, had struggled to string victories together recently, but won a second outing in a row for the first time since late January with a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Bishop made 23 saves in his eighth career shutout and surpassed Nikolai Khabibulin's 2002-03 franchise record of 30 wins in a season.

"It's a nice accomplishment," Bishop said, "A a whole lot of credit goes to the guys in front of me. I don't get that without them. It's a team thing. I don't like at it as an individual thing."

Defenseman Michael Kostka scored in a second straight game and also had an assist, giving him five points in seven games since joining the Lightning off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I just try to play solid defensively when I'm on the ice," said Kostka. "But it's nice to be able to chip in with a goal when I have the chance."

B.J. Crombeen and Nate Thompson also scored in the victory, Tampa Bay's second straight following an 0-3-2 drought.

The Canucks also are hoping to string together back-to-back victories and a win tonight would give the club its first winning streak since consecutive triumphs on Jan. 18 and 21. Vancouver has won two of three on a four-game road trip after besting the Florida Panthers 4-3 yesterday in a shootout.

Vancouver was facing Roberto Luongo for the first time since dealing him to the Panthers on March 4. Luongo made 29 saves, but also yielded the lone goal of the shootout to the Canucks' Nicklas Jensen.

Eddie Lack, whose production as a rookie this season led to Luongo being dealt, ended with 26 saves and stopped all three skaters in the shootout.

Dan Hamhuis and Alexandre Burrows scored in regulation for the Canucks, who escaped with two points after giving up a game-tying goal with 1:35 left in regulation.

"Especially the way the game was tied up there at the end, to get the win was huge for us," said Jensen.

Vancouver won for just the third time in its last nine games (3-5-1) and improved to 3-12-1 in its past 16 on the road. The victory also pulled the Canucks to within three points of the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Canucks have lost four of their past six versus the Lightning, including a 4-2 defeat at home on Jan. 1. Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula both had a goal and an assist, while Bishop made 28 saves.

Lack yielded four goals on 33 shots for the Canucks, who have won four of their past six in Tampa.

Both Bishop and Lack faced their respective opponent for the first time in their career in that earlier meeting.

03/17 10:34:09 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
 
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
 
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
 
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
 
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
 
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
 
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
 
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
 
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
 
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
 
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
 
4th
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
 
Half
WASU 16
ARZ 31
 
2nd
CLEM 0
SYR 3
 
2nd
LAMON 6
TXST 0
 
2nd
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 14
 
2nd
COLST 17
WYO 3
 
1st
LSU 0
MISS 0
 
1st
TENN 0
ALA 13
 
1st
AUB 0
SCAR 7
 
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
1st Intermission
TOR 0
BOS 1
 
1st Intermission
NYI 2
DAL 1
 
2nd
PHI 0
DET 1
 
1st Intermission
OTT 0
NJD 0
 
1st Intermission
MON 1
NYR 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14