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TONIGHT: vs. CANUCKS

Who: Tampa Bay Lightning (23-31-8) vs. Vancouver Canucks (29-28-3).

When/where: 8:05, Pacific Coliseum.

TV/radio: Sunshine Network; WFNS 910-AM, WLVU 106.3-FM.

The series: Tampa Bay is 0-1 versus Vancouver this season, losing 3-2 Feb. 12 at the ThunderDome. Lifetime the Lightning is 0-4 against the Canucks, one of five teams Tampa Bay has never defeated.

Who's hurt: Lightning defenseman Donald Dufresne reaggravated the injury to his left knee and did not make the road trip. Vancouver defenseman Gerald Diduck (foot) and left wing Greg Adams (foot) are not expected to play. Right wing Pavel Bure has missed the past two practices with pulled muscles in his back and is day-to-day.

About the Lightning: Wendell Young is expected to be in goal. He has not played in an NHL game since March 20 last season because of two shoulder surgeries.

The Lightning has never won in Vancouver but is 12-6-2 in 20 road games since starting the season 0-8-2. Tampa Bay has won its past seven games in Canada.

The New York Rangers, Boston, New Jersey, Montreal, Buffalo and Pittsburgh appear in good shape to notch the first six playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The battle for the last two spots appears to be among seven teams: Washington, Florida, Philadelphia, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Quebec and Hartford.

About the Canucks: The Lightning might get a break. Bure, who has been on a tear with 22 goals in his past 22 games and is on an eight-game scoring streak, may be sidelined with his back injury. Geoff Courtnall, who scored twice in the first meeting, also has been hot, with 12 goals and 11 assists in his past 18 games. He also has the team's best plus/minus rating at plus 21.

Vancouver, one of the best teams at home last season, is just 14-13-3 at home. This time last year, it was 21-5-4. The Canucks score a lot (202 goals), but they give up a lot (198).

Kirk McLean is expected to be in goal. He is 16-19-3 with a 2.96 goals-against average.

_ CAMMY CLARK

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