TAMPA, Florida – The only team as hot as J.T. Miller's new team is his old one.
Someone's seven-game series ends on Tuesday when the Vancouver Canucks visit Tampa Bay Lightning.
The National Hockey League states that it is only the second time that two teams that have won in at least seven games in a row have played against each other.
"There are certain games, you know you don't have to say much to your team," said Canucks coach Travis Green after skating in the morning at the Amalie Arena. "This is one of them; We're playing a really good team, one of the teams you're talking about, trying to win a Stanley Cup. They did their best and it will be an exciting game for our group. "
No one speaks of the Canucks who won a Stanley Cup this season, but their longest winning streak in six years has put them back in the playoff position.
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With nine points, including a winning goal, Miller was a key player during the Canucks run. But since arriving in Tampa last June, he has been one of the best players in Vancouver.
In 42 games, barely halfway through the season, Millers are 15 goals more than he scored for Lightning (13) last season, and his 40 points got him up to speed to a career high of 56 to blow up for which he accumulated the New York Rangers three seasons ago.
"Happy for Millsy," said Tampa coach Jon Cooper. "The reason he is no longer with us is the business side of the game. But he has been a big part of our organization for the few years he has been here. He is a good hockey player. So you surround him with some good players and they do what they expected and (show) why they gave up a first round selection for him, probably one of those trades that was a win-win for both. ”
As the Lightning faced a wage ceiling crisis, the Canucks abandoned first and third round designs to take over Miller, who was 26 years old with a cost assurance of $ 22 million and a remaining contract term of four years.
He played most of the season with the young stars Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser at the top of the Canucks.
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"They were relied on to be more of a guy who goes out there and leads, whether it's singing or playing," said flash star Steve Stamkos about his former teammate. "He works hard, he plays hard. I think he's pulling some of these younger guys with him. You see what he can do.
"He has had the package for a long time, right? He is tall, strong, a good skater, a great shot. We always annoyed him here that he probably had the best shot in the team, but he didn't shoot enough. This is not a surprise to the guys who played with him. "
Miller told Sportsnet before the training camp started that he had to increase his shot volume to become a 20-goal scorer again. Born in Ohio, this season has almost as many recordings (105) as last (108). His shots per game increased from 1.44 to 2.50.
"I was given a great opportunity," said Miller. "Of course I have good chemistry with Petey and Boes. They are younger in the league, so I try to work with them on it. Obviously they have a lot of skill, which makes my job easier. We click and win as a team… And that's all that matters. Personal success usually arises when your team works. ”
The Canucks have not won eight games in a row since January 2011.
"Every time you put together a series it's exciting," said Miller. "But I don't think we're so worried about the show. I think if we take care of ourselves and do our business, there is potential (eight wins in a row). It's going to be a fun game "I think everyone is looking forward to a game like this, and whoever plays a better game will keep his series going."