TAMPA — Coach Guy Boucher made the point to his players before Thursday night's game with the Islanders that they must — must — shoot the puck more.
He even showed video from their last game, in which Boucher said the team passed up shots 17 times to look for a better play.
So, what did Tampa Bay do in a 2-0 loss to the Islanders in front of an announced crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum? It passed up shots to look for better plays and managed just 18 shots on goal.
"We just don't want to shoot it when it's time," Boucher said. "It's that extra hesitation to find Option B or Option C when Option A is very clear. There are shots there, and we're not taking it."
It is now an acute problem.
Tampa Bay (11-15-1), losers of nine of 12 games, had just 13 shots in Tuesday's win over the Panthers. Add three shots from the third period of Saturday's loss to the Canadiens and the Lightning has been outshot 81-34 in the past seven periods.
That is no way to win games, a tougher challenge with captain Vinny Lecavalier out indefinitely with what seems to be a left foot injury sustained against Florida.
"It's just another obstacle, more adversity we have to overcome," center Steven Stamkos said. "No one is feeling sorry for us. We have to find a way, and it starts from within."
It starts with shots.
"They either go in or create rebounds or they create chaos," Boucher said. "Secondary chances, not the first chances, are the ones that go in."
New York's John Tavares scored that way during a second-period power play. Brad Boyes shot from the blue line, and Matt Moulson, at the top of the crease, passed the deflected puck to Tavares at the side of the net.
Goaltender Anders Lindback had no chance, which was unfortunate because he played his second straight fine game and made 27 saves on 28 shots, not including one on Boyes' empty-net goal.
Give the Islanders credit. They got sticks in passing lanes and blocked 15 shots to help Evgeni Nabokov to his second shutout of the season.
But as Lightning wing Teddy Purcell said, "We didn't seize the opportunity. We have enough guys that can make plays. When you create ugly chances and go hard to the net, the nice plays open up."
"We had a couple chances and good looks," wing Ryan Malone said. "We just didn't get the job done."
How does Boucher shake some shots out of this group?
"I might have a brain cramp and figure out something," he said. "Video didn't work. We have to put pucks on net. We had plenty of offensive zone time to do so."
First Period—None. Penalties—None.
Second Period—1, N.Y. Islanders, Tavares 17 (Moulson, Boyes), 10:22 (pp). Penalties—Killorn, TB (slashing), 9:55; Streit, NYI (hooking), 17:38.
Third Period—2, N.Y. Islanders, Boyes 7 (MacDonald), 19:20 (en). Penalties—Nielsen, NYI (holding), 11:31. Shots on Goal—N.Y. Islanders 13-9-7—29. Tampa Bay 6-6-6—18. Power-play opportunities—N.Y. Islanders 1 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 2. Goalies—N.Y. Islanders, Nabokov 12-8-3 (18 shots-18 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 9-7-1 (28-27). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:25. Referees—Tim Peel, Rob Martell. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Tim Nowak.