Wendell Young had played 168 NHL games in a career spanning eight seasons. The number of shutouts? One.
His second career shutout bid ended 4:38 into the third period Saturday night when Vancouver's Cliff Ronning scored. Then, his hope for victory disappeared when Jyrki Lumme scored short-handed with 5:29 remaining and Trevor Linden added an empty-net goal with 37 seconds left to give the Canucks a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay at Pacific Coliseum.
Young stepped in net for the Lightning for the first time in almost a year after two shoulder surgeries. He didn't look like the Rock of Gibraltar, but he did have a lot of luck and a lot of help from his teammates. He also stopped the first 12 shots he faced.
Rob DiMaio scored the lone goal for Tampa Bay, which is 0-5 lifetime against Vancouver, one of only five teams it has never beaten.
"It's a game we should have won," Lightning coach Terry Crisp said. "But we just shot ourselves in the foot. It's okay if the other team beats you, but we beat ourselves (with another short-handed goal)."
The loss also ended the Lightning's streak of seven straight victories in Canada.
This loss can't be blamed on Young.
"He played great. It's too bad we didn't get the win for him," Lightning defenseman Shawn Chambers said.
Once again, the team's biggest weakness _ the power play _ proved costly.
The Lightning went 0-for-6 on the power play, which included a 1:09 two-man advantage.
For a league-high 19th time, the Lightning gave up a short-handed goal, and it proved to be the game-winner. Pavel Bure extended his points streak to nine games by feeding Lumme on a two-on-one break with only Chambers back. Young didn't have a chance, and the Canucks led 2-1.
The play was set up when Petr Klima tried to get the puck to Chambers, but a Canuck poked it away. Chris Joseph went for the loose puck and collided with another Canuck, which left Chambers backpedaling and facing Bure and Lumme.
"They're two great players," Chambers said. "I tried to block it, but Bure made a good pass."
Young had not played in an NHL game since March
20 when he injured his shoulder making a save against the Buffalo Sabres at Expo Hall.
This season, he reinjured the shoulder on the first day of training camp. Reconstructive surgery kept him out of commission until late January. When he did come back, he was third on the depth chart behind Daren Puppa and Pat Jablonski. But Jablonski was traded, opening the door for Young's return.
The only game action he had seen since the injury was a two-game conditioning stint earlier this month with the Atlanta Knights. He allowed six goals.
"I felt good out there," Young said. "It's not the end result I would like to see. But we got beat on some unfortunate plays. Overall, I thought we played a good game."
Crisp was pleased with Young. "He played great, a real solid game for not having played in a year."
Young, who finished with 16 saves, didn't allow a goal until Ronning finally got the Canucks on the scoreboard in almost the same fashion as DiMaio did for the Lightning in the first period.
Defenseman Dana Murzyn fired a shot that caromed off the back of the boards, hit the net and bounced out to Ronning. The Canucks' center put a good fake on Young and easily notched his 18th goal of the season.
Tampa Bay had gone 118 minutes, 45 seconds without allowing a goal, its second longest shutout streak of the season. Two nights before, the Lightning blanked Calgary 4-0.
The Lightning took some pressure off Young by getting him an early lead. John Tucker dropped a pass back to Joe Reekie, who fired a bullet from the high slot. The shot was wide by 5 feet, but the puck caromed off the "O" in the SONY sign behind the net and went right to DiMaio in front of the goal. He flipped it into the open net at 4:26 for his second goal in two games.
It was the only goal the Lightning could muster against Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean in 29 shots on goal.
"We just couldn't capitalize on our chances," Chambers said.
Moments after DiMaio's goal, Young and the Lightning got a break when Shawn Antoski's blast from the left wing hit the right post and stayed out of the net.
Four minutes later, Lightning defenseman Marc Bergevin and Antoski tangled, fighting for position in the slot. Bergevin inadvertently high-sticked Antoski, but because Antoski was cut and bleeding Bergevin was given a five-minute major and automatic ejection 10:14 into the game.
Once again the Lightning penalty killers came through. Before Saturday's game, Tampa Bay had moved to seventh in the league in penalty killing (having allowed just 41 power-play goals in 243 chances for 83.1 percent). Tampa Bay killed off all five minutes of Bergevin's penalty.