Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning seeks to solidify power play

TAMPA — When Teddy Purcell was told the Bruins have the league's best penalty kill and it has allowed just one power-play goal on the road all season, the Lightning right wing didn't flinch.

"So, they're due," he said.

It was a great response in the run-up to tonight's sold-out game between the teams at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, backed by the Lightning's No. 1 home power play, clicking at 35 percent.

But don't let that fool you. Tampa Bay has been more jalopy than roadster on the power play the past seven games, converting 3 of 27 chances. And one of those goals — Matt Carle's Tuesday against the Maple Leafs — was a whiff by goalie Ben Scrivens.

"We've been a little out of synch," defenseman Sami Salo said.

That's not exactly comforting considering Boston has killed 48 of 51 power plays overall (94.1 percent) and 26 of 27 on the road.

Power plays generally are streaky, so periods of hot and cold will happen. It's just that Tampa Bay was so good during a 6-2-0 start, converting 13 of 36 chances — including 12-of-27 at home — that the dropoff, during which the team is 2-4-1, can't be ignored.

It also has allowed two shorthanded goals.

Add that Tampa Bay has some of the league's most skilled players, including 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos, and the head-scratching leaves a bald spot.

"We're trying to do too much stuff," Purcell said. "You try to do too much stuff and you paralyze yourself."

What does he mean by "stuff"?

"Just thinking too much," Purcell said. "Too many plays. We're thinking about getting to our position too much rather than letting the play come to you."

"I think so," captain Vinny Lecavalier said when asked if that was a fair assessment. "Guys are going to be out of position and in different spots, but until you settle the pressure, you've got to fight for the puck. You've got to win those battles and not worry if you're in the wrong position."

And once the puck is gained?

"All I can say is when we're successful, whatever is given to us, in front of us, if there is a hole, we take it," Lecavalier said. "If we don't take it, that's when we get static. Whatever hole we have, that's what we have to attack."

It's interesting that coach Guy Boucher blew off questions about the power play. Given Boston can roll four effective lines, he said, his emphasis is how Tampa Bay plays five-on-five. And to be fair, it was five-on-five defense that was so stifling during Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Toronto.

So, Boucher said, "I don't care about the power play right now. If our focus is on the power play, it's not on the right spot."

Boucher does care a bit, though. Wednesday he held a 15-minute power-play practice.

The good news: The power play is 2-for-10 during Tampa Bay's two-game winning streak. The bad: It generated just nine shots, and Carle's goal was a gift.

"We just have to simplify a little bit and bear down on our battles and try to shoot the puck," Salo said. "It's nothing that concerns me too much, but we want to be better. It's going to help the team in the long run."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com.

.tonight

Lightning vs. Bruins

When/where: 7:30; Tampa Bay Times Forum

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

Key stats: Lightning W Ben Pouliot has two goals, seven points in his past four games. … C Vinny Lecavalier has two goals, three assists in a five-game point streak. … Bruins C Patrice Bergeron led players with at least 200 faceoffs with a 62.8 winning percentage entering Wednesday. Boston also led the league at 57.4 percent. … Boston is 6-1-1 this season and 36-13-2 since last season in games in which it has a fighting major. … Boston's power play is on a 3-for-25 streak. … Lightning RW Marty St. Louis is tied for the league assists lead with 18.

Lightning seeks to solidify power play 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.