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Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-1 to Los Angeles Kings

TAMPA — The Lightning power play is so inept, even fans have seen enough.

As the players repeatedly tried and failed Tuesday night against the Kings to simply cross the blue line into the offensive zone, boos filled the arena.

"Just to set it up was hard," captain Vinny Lecavalier said.

The Lightning lost 3-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and there was plenty of blame to go around from defensive lapses to missed scoring chances. But nothing was as frustrating as the power play that generated just two shots while going 0-for-3 and is in a 6-for-63 slump that seems to defy solutions.

Converting any of its three power-play chances would have changed the game for the Lightning, maybe even won it.

Instead, Tampa Bay (23-24-5) lost its 6-0-1 points streak to the league's lowest-scoring team and fell nine points behind the first-place Capitals in the Southeast Division.

"It's been frustrating all year," center Steven Stamkos said. "We needed it to at least give us some momentum, but we didn't generate anything. It's on us. We haven't been good all year and it's cost us games. It certainly cost us a chance to get back in the game (against Los Angeles)."

Consider that 19 seconds after Stamkos scored his league-best 35th goal to tie the score 1-1 7:49 into the second period, Tampa Bay went on a power play when Kyle Clifford was called for roughing.

The Lightning did not even get a shot on goal. Worse, it lost track of Clifford, who took a pass out of the penalty box and beat goaltender Dwayne Roloson on a breakaway with a backhand for a 2-1 lead.

It was a strange play as the arena horn that signals a Lightning goal blew briefly when a shot from defenseman Victor Hedman hit the side of the net just as the power play expired.

"I guess everybody was focused on that and didn't pay attention to the guy coming out of the box," coach Guy Boucher said.

But Lecavalier said, "We knew (the shot) wasn't in so the horn didn't have any part in it."

"We've just got to be more aware," Stamkos said. "Even the guys on the bench, myself included, should have been screaming the guy was coming out of the box."

Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, the Lightning got two power plays in the first eight minutes, but two combined shots did nothing except confirm the power play's No. 26 league ranking.

"It's frustrating," Lecavalier said. "Just to get one power-play goal can make a difference in the game and a huge difference between winning and losing."

Tuesday night was a prime example.

Kings 1 2 0 3
Lightning 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Los Angeles, Kopitar 17 (Greene, Williams), 2:47. PenaltiesKubina, TB (interference), 18:05.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 35 (Purcell, Brewer), 7:49. 3, Los Angeles, Clifford 4 (Scuderi), 10:16. 4, Los Angeles, Penner 5 (Richards, Stoll), 17:46. PenaltiesDownie, TB (tripping), 2:17; Clifford, LA (roughing), 8:08.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesPenner, LA (holding), 3:50; Williams, LA (high-sticking), 7:03. Shots on GoalLos Angeles 6-6-8—20. Tampa Bay 10-4-11—25. Power-play opportunitiesLos Angeles 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. GoaliesLos Angeles, Quick 23-13-9 (25 shots-24 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 7-11-2 (20-17). A16,489 (19,204). T2:19.

Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-1 to Los Angeles Kings 02/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 8:04am]
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