TAMPA — Lightning coach Guy Boucher had something to say after Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Devils at the St. Pete Times Forum but cut himself short.
Boucher named forwards Marty St. Louis, Ryan Shannon, Steve Downie and Brett Connolly as "guys who showed up. The rest (he paused) I won't say anything."
Really, though, it was enough.
Tampa Bay (9-8-2) was missing in action for the first two periods in losing its six-game winning streak to a patient, positionally sound New Jersey team. The Lightning was outshot 10-3 in the first period and outscored 3-0 in the second, allowing two power-play goals and one short-handed.
Even though the Lightning made it a game in the third period — with goals in 90 seconds by St. Louis, who had a monstrous 27:26 of ice time, and Shannon, who got his first for Tampa Bay — it was a mirage.
Consider the team was 0-for-3 on the power play in the third with just five shots even though it had 1:21 of five-on-three, 55 seconds of five-on-four and 39 seconds of four-on-three.
"Our power play has to get us a goal there, at least one," St. Louis said. "We didn't get it done."
"It's not about scoring," an agitated Boucher said about Tampa Bay's power play that was 0-for-6 overall. "It's about keeping that momentum or giving us momentum. Not only did they make us lose momentum, they gave us more softness than we had before."
Funny thing about the game, Boucher said, "people got a taste of what we look like on the road," where the Lightning is 3-6-2 — in other words, a painfully slow start with a switch getting thrown after the team falls into a hole.
Dainius Zubrus scored short-handed after St. Louis' giveaway in the offensive zone. Patrik Elias and David Clarkson scored on the power play to make it 3-0.
Tampa Bay clearly was not happy with eight penalty calls against it, but Boucher said, "If we're too stupid to take these types of penalties, they're soft penalties, they're lazy penalties."
Even so, it was 3-2 with 10:06 left in the third.
But when goalie Dwayne Roloson tried to flip the puck with his glove from behind the net to defenseman Matt Gilroy, it fluttered to empty space. Ryan Carter smacked it into an empty net to make it 4-2 with 2:06 left.
"I tried to push it over, and it stays in my glove and flips over the net," Roloson said.
"The play was to stay in my net. It goes off the glass and bounces out. It's my error. I cost us the game."
"The team cost us the game. We played one period," Boucher said. "We didn't deserve the game."
First Period—None. Penalties—Moore, TB (interference), 13:25; Hall, TB (hooking), 17:54; Elias, NJ (hooking), 19:08.
Second Period—1, New Jersey, Zubrus 5 (Carter), 1:09. 2, New Jersey, Elias 8 (Clarkson, Larsson), 6:05 (pp). 3, New Jersey, Clarkson 7 (Henrique, Kovalchuk), 17:44 (pp). Penalties—Volchenkov, NJ (interference), 3:51; Bergeron, TB (hooking), 4:39; Purcell, TB (interference), 8:24; Hedman, TB (holding), 8:53; Fayne, NJ (high-sticking), 14:34; Kubina, TB (holding), 16:29.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 5 (Shannon, Kubina), 8:24. 5, Tampa Bay, Shannon 1 (Downie, Brewer), 9:54. 6, New Jersey, Carter 2, 17:57. Penalties—Carter, NJ (holding), 2:37; Salvador, NJ (delay of game), 3:32; Zubrus, NJ (hooking), 4:10; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 4:53; Gilroy, TB (holding), 13:52. Shots on Goal—New Jersey 10-10-4—24. Tampa Bay 3-10-10—23. Power-play opportunities—New Jersey 2 of 8; Tampa Bay 0 of 6. Goalies—New Jersey, Brodeur 4-3-0 (23 shots-21 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 6-5-1 (24-20). A—18,894 (19,204). T—2:28. Referees—Steve Kozari, Brian Pochmara. Linesmen—Steve Miller, Derek Nansen.