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Lightning tries to reverse what coach Guy Boucher calls a "horrible" trend against the Panthers



Hi, guys. Sorry this took so long to post, but there was a power failure at the Tampa Bay Lightning's team hotel and my computer battery ran down to nothing, so had to wait for the lights to come back on, which they recently did.

Now, back to something you actually care about:

The Lightning is a miserable 6-14-2 at Florida since 2003-04. That includes a 6-0 blowout on Oct. 16 at the BankAtlantic Center. How does Tampa Bay reverse that trend?

"It's a new day," coach Guy Boucher said. "That's the danger of thinking there's a monkey on my back here. There isn't. We played crappy against Washington and then won two in a row and beat them in a shutout. So, the reality is it's a new day. What we're going to do and not what came before that matters."

Still, Boucher admitted," Here (the BankAtlantic Center), it's horrible for the team."

But back to how the Lightning handled its struggles against the Capitals.

"We didn't talk about Washington. We didn't talk about the last games," Boucher said. "We only focused on the things we needed to do to make it happen, and we did. So, that would be the solution."

Other stuff from the morning: I know you're thinking about it, but it is very, very unlikely the Lightning would put in a waiver claim for goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who signed a one-year, $570,000 deal with the Red Wings. Nabokov went on waivers at noon. We will know at noon Saturday if anyone claimed him. As for the Lightning, had they not traded for Dwayne Roloson, then, okay, it might have made a claim, especially considering Nabokov's salary is pro-rated for the rest of the season, meaning he's in the $250,000 range. But Tampa Bay got Roloson to be the guy, and I don't believe that strategy has changed. Besides, Nabokov likely would never have lasted long enough to get to Tampa Bay. ... As expected Dan Ellis gets the start in net against Florida. Ellis hasn't started since Jan. 8 against the Devils, and he hasn't played since Jan. 14, also against the Devils. Boucher said Ellis has been working on better stopping long shots. For some reason he has been better when challenged in close. "He's worked a lot on those far shots. That's been his weakness," Boucher said. "Close-in, rebounds, he's been very good. It's the far shots that seem to have eluded him a little bit and he's been working on those the last little while." ... So, how about the Lightning winning four straight shootouts. Prior to that the team was 7-19 in shootouts since 2008-09. Also interesting, the team is doing it without Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, who have been benched, for the early rounds at least after going a combined 9-for-49 in shootout attempts since 2008-09. On the other hand you have guys such as defenseman Victor Hedman (2-for-4 this season) and forwards Ryan Malone (2-for-3), Adam Hall (2-for-3) and Dominic Moore (1-for-2). Boucher said it is a matter of perception, that the high-end guys feel so much pressure to score they take themselves out of their game. And St. Louis, 1-for-10 in shootouts since 2008-09, didn't disagree. "Obviously, I had my chance to prove myself in shootouts, and obviously I'd like to be better at them," he said. "But the reality is, it's not the best part of my game, so I have the pom-pom and I'm okay with it. But if they need me, I'm ready to go." Hall said he loves the situation. "There's that competitive feeling that you want to make a difference," he said. "You just concentrate on what you're doing and try to help the team win." ... The Lightning is 16-3-5 in one-goal games this season. "We pride ourselves on never quitting," Boucher said. "You feel it in the games. We always come back."

[Last modified: Sunday, February 20, 2011 12:15am]


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