Make us your home page

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's scorers haven't earned their money

Ryan Malone, right, who signed a seven-year, $31.5-million contract during the offseason, has no goals and only three shots on goal.


Ryan Malone, right, who signed a seven-year, $31.5-million contract during the offseason, has no goals and only three shots on goal.

Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — Ultimately, it all comes down to goal scoring with the Lightning, doesn't it?

Talk all you want about problems in the defensive zone and a faltering transition game. In the end, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie spent most of their money last summer bolstering Tampa Bay's top two lines.


• An 11-year, $85-million contract extension for captain Vinny Lecavalier.

• Signing Ryan Malone for seven years, $31.5-million, Vinny Prospal for four years, $14-million, Radim Vrbata for three years, $9-million.

• Add Steven Stamkos' three-year rookie contract that will pay, if all incentives are met, $11.175-million and the $13-million owed Marty St. Louis in the last three years of his deal and, well, you get the idea.

Lecavalier and St. Louis have a goal and assist each. Prospal has an assist.

Not exactly cost effective, so far.

"We need our offensive players to start scoring goals. That's black and white," coach Barry Melrose said. "You're paid to score goals. You're paid to play hard offensively. You're paid to put the puck in the net. That's what we have to get our skill guys to do."

It is a bit of a tricky topic.

So much offensive flow comes from the transition out of the defensive zone. Tampa Bay has struggled there, not only gaining possession of the puck, but with the transition because, as Melrose has said, the defense's lack of composure with the puck.

And it has been only three games; three games after a hectic and shortened training camp that made integrating new players, new coaches and a new system much more difficult.

"It's a big factor in what we're trying to do," Prospal said. "We changed everything, really. It's like we started from scratch."

Even so, Melrose said, "I'd like to see them compete a little harder. I use the saying all the time, 'Will beats skill.' We have to get a little more will. If your skill guys work as hard as the other team's players, the skill guys are going to win because they can put the puck in the net. We just have to compete a little harder."

Malone, who had 27 goals last season for the Penguins, agreed.

"I really haven't had many scoring chances," he said. "When you're not getting many scoring chances, you have to figure out what's going on. For myself, it starts with moving my feet and throwing the puck on the net."

Not a bad idea.

Malone, St. Louis and Stamkos enter tonight's game with the Islanders at the St. Pete Times Forum with just three shots on goal.

Prospal has five, Vrbata six and Lecavalier, who, to be fair, is coming off right shoulder surgery, has 13.

It also is worth noting that with five total goals, no one on the team is lighting it up. But that is exactly when the top lines must come to the rescue.

"All the guys here, they want to score goals. Sure, you feel that," Prospal said. "Everybody wants to score as soon as possible."

"We never played a full 60-minute game," he added. "We play well in some parts, but we didn't put it together. That's what it's going to take."

That's what it comes down to.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at


Lightning vs. Islanders

When/where: 7:30; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa.

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM.

Injuries: Tampa Bay — C Ryan Craig (groin) is out. New York — C Mike Sillinger (hip), D Chris Campoli (shoulder), D Andy Sutton (hand) and D Radek Martinek (upper body) are out; C Josh Bailey (lower body) is day to day.

Key stats: The Lightning is 5-0-1 against the Islanders at the Times Forum the past three seasons. … The power plays for both teams have struggled at 12.5 percent (2-for-16). … G Rick DiPietro (knee) could start his first game of the season for New York.

Lightning's scorers haven't earned their money 10/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 5:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  2. Jake Dotchin on rule violation: 'It's hurting me'


    While defenseman Jake Dotchin continues to practice with the Lightning, it's uncertain when - or if - he'll get any preseason action.

    Jake Dotchin violated an unspecified team rule, which is why he hasn't played in the first four games.
  3. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'


    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  4. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Nine Gators, including Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett, face felony fraud accusations


    Nine Florida Gators face at least 62 potential felony charges on accusations of credit card fraud. 

    Star receiver Antonio Callaway is among at least four Florida Gators who face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud.