Tampa Bay Lightning wing Marty St. Louis says of frustrating stretch: "We deserve better as a team"
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning made a couple bad defensive mistakes in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Senators and goaltender Dwayne Roloson failed to bail them out a couple of times with saves he should have made. But what really has burned coach Guy Boucher and his players recently is their missed scoring chances.
Just listen to wing Marty St. Louis:
"This season has been hard," he said. "I feel like the past two or three years, the amount of scoring chances that we generate with nothing to show for it is at a three-year high, I would say. That could weight in a lot on your mind and make you think about things. You just have to be honest with your game and your assessment of your game. I feel we deserve better as a team."
So does coach Guy Boucher.
"During the game it's frustrating but when I look at the video it's really frustrating," he said. "You can't believe the goals that we missed. It's unreal. We've had more scoring chances than last year. It's just ridiculous. I don't remember coaching a team that misfires this much."
Against the Senators, the most notable was Steven Stamkos with a puck on his stick staring at an empty net.
"And something happens and it trickles," Boucher said, "and that's just one of them."
So, what can Tampa Bay, losers of four straight, do?
"If we keep at it and stick to it and keep working hard on these small details, we'll be a much better team," Boucher said. "Because once the damn thing goes in ... "
Realignment: The Lightning and Panthers pretty much got the worst of realignment and it all comes down to travel. Consider that in order to play conference rivals Montreal, Boston, Buffalo, Ottawa and Toronto, the Lightning and Panthers have to fly past cities that are part of another division. That is, Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey (I know New Jersey is not a city, but you get the idea). How nuts is that? Said St. Louis, "Maybe we should build a practice facility in Vermont and live in Vermont and take little flights from here and there and live in a hotel when we come home for stretches." Added Boucher, "Carolina is the closest team to us and is not our conference. We've built a rivalry with Washington and they're gone, too. I guess the league has their own agenda, and we've got our own. Obviously, when you've got two different agendas, they clash."
Other stuff from the morning: The Lightning called up recently acquired defenseman Evan Oberg from AHL Norfolk. Ignore the listing of Oberg at 165 pounds. He officially is 6 feet, 191. ... Boucher clearly wasn't unhappy with the play of defenseman Bruno Gervais, who in just his seventh game and after eight straight scratches, scored his second goal. "He was outstanding," the coach said. Oberg was called up, Boucher said, because yet another defenseman is nicked and might not play tonight against the Islanders. ... Boucher said he coached against Oberg when he played for AHL Manitoba and called him a smart player who can move the puck. He also has four NHL games under his belt with Vancouver, so there is that. ... Mathieu Garon gets the start in net. ... Defenseman Pavel Kubina will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Sounds as if Adam Hall is back in after being a healthy scratch for two games. Boucher said he was unsure of what forward he will scratch.