Lightning strikes Canucks

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

The weakest division leaders in the National Hockey League have a rare matchup tonight.

The Vancouver Canucks host the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at General Motors Place (7 p.m. Team 1040/Sportsnet).

The Canucks enjoy a two-point lead over the Calgary Flames atop the Northwest division, which translates to third overall in the Western conference.

Tampa Bay, No. 3 in the East, clings to its Southeast division lead by percentage points. Atlanta Thrashers also have 78 points, but Tampa Bay has three more victories.

It'll be the last time the Canucks will play an Eastern conference team before the fall, unless they wind up representing the Western conference in the Stanley Cup final. Canucks are 7-2 (including a tiebreaker loss) against Eastern conference teams. Their record is a perfect 4-0 against Southeast division teams.

Canucks' goaltender Roberto Luongo recorded a career-best 36th win in Sunday's shootout win over the Minnesota Wild. He has played in 61 of Vancouver's 65 games.

The Lightning were 6-2 losers to the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State rivalry match on Saturday. Lightning possess the league's hottest scoring duo of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Lecavalier has a league-leading 42 goals while St. Louis is third with 39.


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