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Lightning at a loss to figure out Nassau Coliseum losses

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was joking, it seemed, when asked how his team can overcome a dreadful streak at the Nassau Coliseum.

"Them moving to Brooklyn might help us," he said, laughing.

Actually, the Islanders are scheduled to move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season. In the meantime, what can the Lightning do to break a four-game losing streak on Long Island — it began Dec. 22, 2010, and continued with Monday's 4-3 defeat — during which it has been outscored 16-6?

"I don't know," Yzerman said Tuesday. "I just always found if things don't go well against a team, do something dramatically different. Maybe you have to change the way you do things, stay in a different hotel."

Steve Thomas, Tampa Bay's player development coach, said he doesn't believe players go into an arena thinking they can't win.

"But I think it's in the back of some players minds we haven't won (on Long Island) for a while," he said, "and sometimes you press and go outside the structure of what we're trying to do."

Bottom line, coach Guy Boucher called the way the Lightning plays at Nassau Coliseum a "nightmare" and "a joke."

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I've never seen our team play as bad as every single game we've played in the Islanders' barn. I just can't wait till they move."

But RW Marty St. Louis said the streak is coincidence. He pointed out Tampa Bay beat the Islanders in a 2004 playoff series in which it won twice at Nassau Coliseum.

Reminded the team at the time stayed at a different hotel, St. Louis said, "Yeah, I liked the beds."

GOOD JOB: If there was any doubt what Boucher thought of Anders Lindback in Monday's loss he squelched it, saying if not for the goalie, who made 40 saves on 44 shots, New York might have scored eight or 10.

"Twenty-four scoring chances and only four go in," Boucher said. "Usually there is at least one goal per five scoring chances in the NHL, so you calculate and you tell me how he played."

Lindback's stats are not stellar. His 3.50 goals-against average in two games entered Tuesday tied for 28th in the league and his .905 save percentage was 26th.

But as Boucher said, "He makes key saves. Good goaltenders, they don't stop everything and they might let one in that you don't like. But they make the right save at the right time and he does that."

GAME TIME: D Brendan Mikkelson played his first game, and had an assist, as defensemen Brian Lee and Marc-Andre Bergeron were scratched.

Boucher said his plan through the first three games was to play each of his eight blue-liners in at least one "and evaluate from there." That said, even Lee knows that after four minor penalties (two in each of his first two games) he has to find a way to stay out of the box.

"Got to keep my sticks out of there," Lee said. "It's stupid, stupid penalties."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's 6-3 victory over the Capitals Saturday had a record 2.8 television rating on Sun Sports and peaked at 3.4 in the Tampa Bay area. Each ratings point equals about 18,000 households. … RW Dana Tyrell, scratched in the first two games, played 8:37 in his first NHL game since January 2012 surgery on his right knee. … Rays pitcher Chris Archer, a Raleigh native, tweeted he was at the game. … Former Lightning and Hurricanes players Cory Stillman and Kevin Weekes sounded the pregame siren.

Lightning at a loss to figure out Nassau Coliseum losses 01/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 11:44pm]
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