Lightning strike Canucks
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored four unanswered goals on the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday before easing to a 5-2 victory at the Amalie Arena.
Nikita Kucherov, Yanni Gourde, Adam Erne and Steven Stamkos were all on target for the Lightning with Victor Hedman rounding out the scoring late in the third period.
It was a good bounce back for Tampa Bay, after their loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, as the Lightning have been feeling the pressure from the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division despite having the best record in the NHL.
Tampa Bay has the night off on Friday before returning to action against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in the finale of their brief two-game home stand. The Lightning lead the Bruins by three points in the standings but have played two more games than their Divisional rival.
The Lightning are now 1.14 to win the Atlantic Division, while the Bruins are 5.00.
Boston also returns to the ice on Saturday when the Buffalo Sabres are welcomed to the TD Garden.
Winners of four in a row, the Bruins hammered the New York Rangers 6-1 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in a result that apparently convinced the management of the Rangers to throw in the towel and look to rebuild.
With so many tight races in the league currently, New York could do rather well at the trade deadline later in the month, if they play their cards right.
Third in the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Maple Leafs may be one such suitor. With firepower to spare and a crying need on defense, it will be instructive to see the decisions the Maple Leafs make.
Toronto's point differential is still a healthy +26, third best in the Eastern Conference, and patience may be a more prudent approach for the young pretenders.
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