Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella did not waste much time analyzing his club's effort Wednesday night.
"It was our worst game of the year," Tortorella said after the Canucks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "We deserved to lose that one. We did."
Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, whose franchise is 21 years old and posted only its second win ever in Vancouver. Tampa Bay made history of another sort by posting a fourth straight road win for the first time since Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2008.
"I just think it was a game that we were out of sorts, out of sync, and it wasn't just one particular guy," Tortorella said. "It was the whole team."
Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay.
Brad Richardson and Zac Dalpe replied for the Canucks, who lost their second straight.
After a scoreless first period, the Lightning overcame a 1-0 deficit to clinch the win in the closing seconds of the second period following a flurry of goals.
"We played a solid road game," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "We fell behind, got the lead and found a way to hold onto it, and it's what you have to do if you want any chance to make the playoffs: Find ways to win on the road and hold leads."
Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin also called the effort Vancouver's worst of the season.
"Today was too sloppy," he said. "I don't think we worked hard enough, to be honest with you. Last game (a shootout loss to Philadelphia) was really different."
"They should have been up way more than they were after two periods," added Henrik Sedin. "We were fortunate to only be down one going into the third, and it was far from good enough.
"We have to be sharper. It was turnover after turnover, and that can't happen."
Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his 21st win of the season as the Lightning outshot the Canucks 33-30. Vancouver's Eddie Lack recorded 29 saves.
Neither team scored in the first period despite some decent chances. Both teams recorded 11 shots.
In the first minute of the second period, Lack denied Filppula on a 3-on-2 rush, stopping his shot from the wing and then smothering the rebound.
Richardson opened the scoring at 11:25 as he raced in alone and beat Bishop with a quick shot after Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis forced a turnover in the neutral zone with a hip check on Richard Panik.
But the tight game quickly broke open as the clubs produced three goals in 34 seconds.
Filppula and Johnson scored 20 seconds apart to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. But the Canucks countered 14 seconds later as Dalpe banged in a goalmouth pass from Dale Weise.
"There was a big play coming back and tying it at 2-2," Tortorella said. "But, obviously, we didn't seize that and gain the momentum. We lost it at the end of the period."
A botched Vancouver clearing attempt enabled Kucherov to put the Lightning ahead 3-2 during a power play with only 2.6 seconds left in the second period. Kucherov's riser went in off the skates of Hamhuis as he slid in an attempt to block the shot.
Tortorella said the goal had a crippling effect on the Canucks.
"I just think we need to get out of that second period 2-2," he said.
Killorn extended Tampa Bay's lead to 4-2 as he scored on a deflection with about 7:30 gone in the third period.
Although the Lightning have been good on the road lately, they entered the game with two straight home losses, to Montreal and the New York Rangers. Suffice to say they succeeded in making amends.
"It's a tough building to play in against a really good team," said Bishop, who excelled after being bypassed for the U.S. Olympic team earlier in the day.
"We knew we could play better, those two games after Christmas. We didn't play our best, so we wanted to come out here and play better."
NOTES:: Tampa Bay F Ryan Malone returned after missing 16 games with a fractured ankle. ... Vancouver C Ryan Kesler was named Wednesday to the U.S. Olympic team. He played for the American squad that won a silver medal in 2010. ... Lightning C Steven Stamkos skated Wednesday morning and said he hopes to recover from breaking his leg in November in time to play for Canada at next month's Winter Olympics. ... Canucks G Roberto Luongo took part in his first workout with the team, during its morning skate, since he was injured Dec. 22 against Winnipeg. Luongo revealed he suffered a lower body injury on a shot by Evander Kane and hopes to return to the lineup in the next few days. ... The Canucks have re-assigned C Jeremy Welsh to Utica of the AHL.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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