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Tampa Bay Lightning players not dwelling on bad plus-minus stat

OTTAWA — Many dislike the league's plus/minus statistic because it does not directly measure contributions to goals or blame for goals against.

All that matters is being on the ice when one's team scores a goal (plus) or allows a goal (minus).

That said, it is pretty grim to consider that Lightning C Dominic Moore entered Saturday minus-20, 774th out of the 778 players listed by the NHL, and LW Simon Gagne was minus-19, which was 772nd.

Gagne's numbers are more startling because he had played just 23 of Tampa Bay's first 41 games because of a neck injury.

"I don't really see it as a big thing," Gagne said. "You'd like to be in the plus; it would definitely look better. But I don't pay too much attention to it if you know why you get the minus."

Coach Guy Boucher favors his own plus/minus system. "We look at every scoring chance we get," he said. "Did he contribute? If he's on the ice and he didn't contribute, he's not going to get a plus."

And if a player did not mess up when an opponent scored, he will not get a minus.

Still, it is the league stats that are released to the public.

"I'm not happy about it," Moore said of his minus-20. "But it is a deceiving stat. So for me it's more important to be focused on my job and not worry about stats, per se."

Moore assisted on Adam Hall's tying goal and was plus-1 against the Senators. Gagne was even.

SLUMPING: W Teddy Purcell has not scored in 12 games and has one assist. That's quite a crash for a player who has career bests of six goals, 18 assists and 24 points.

"I still feel like I'm skating well," he said. "I'm getting chances. I feel fine. We've gone over some clips with the coaches and gone over some areas. I'm still confident."

Boucher said he has seen a "dip" in Purcell's points "but not in his game."

"I'm getting chances," said Purcell, who has 34 shots during his slump. "It's just one of those things. I can't seem to buy one right now."

REUNITED: Steve Downie played his third game since missing 13 with a high ankle sprain and was back with old linemates C Steven Stamkos and RW Marty St. Louis. Boucher said he would monitor Downie's ice time because the right wing, who ended up playing 12:26, still is trying to regain his conditioning. Ryan Malone played with C Vinny Lecavalier and Gagne, a combination Boucher wants to work because with Downie back with Stamkos and St. Louis, the alternative is to play Malone out of position on a third line.

INJURY REPORT: W Sean Bergenheim did not play because of a respiratory illness that Boucher said has bothered him for about three weeks but became inflamed the past few days. … D Victor Hedman played and said he had no ill effects from falling on his head during Friday's one-on-one drill with teammate Mattias Ohlund. ... D Randy Jones played after missing four of his past five games with a neck/shoulder injury.

ODDS AND ENDS: For the first time this season, the Lightning has gone four straight games without a power-play goal (0-for-13). … St. Louis had eight of Tampa Bay's 27 shots. … Stamkos' assist on St. Louis' goal was his first point in four games. His three-game drought tied his longest of the season. … F Mattias Ritola was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning players not dwelling on bad plus-minus stat 01/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 11:38pm]

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