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)

Tampa Bay Lightning season in review

DIRK SHADD   |   Times


All the money, all the personnel changes, all the expectations the Lightning had going into the season resulted in this: a second straight last-place finish in the Southeast and 29th in the league; 24 victories and 12 at home, both the league's fewest; the inability to figure out overtime or shootouts; a league-worst 89 power-play goals against; and 19 losses when either tied or leading heading into the third period. Coach Barry Melrose was fired after 16 games. Center Vinny Lecavalier's 29 goals and 67 points were his lowest outputs since 2001-02, and injuries, especially a season-ending concussion to goalie Mike Smith, brutalized the lineup. For Thursday's home finale against the Capitals, 11 players were sidelined. For the season, 50 players, including an NHL record 22 defensemen, suited up. The good news? There's no place to go but up.

MVP Marty St. Louis

The right wing had team highs of 30 goals and 80 points, and his plus-4 was notable on a team with a minus-72 goal differential. But his influence went well beyond the ice. St. Louis, 33, was a mentor for rookie Steven Stamkos, a leader in the locker room and an engaged partner to coach Rick Tocchet in team meetings, practices and video sessions.

Best story Steven Stamkos

He started the season with a coach, Barry Melrose, who didn't believe in him and had four goals in 40 games. He ended the season with a coach, Rick Tocchet, who worked to make him better, and scored 19 in his last 39. Stamkos' 23 goals are a Lightning rookie record and third among first-year players. His 46 points were fifth, and he led with 181 shots.

Biggest disappointment Vinny Prospal

The left wing signed a four-year, $14 million deal and limped along with 19 goals and 45 points. Prospal, 34, also was minus-20, tied for 880th out of 885 listed players.

Most ridiculous stat

5-18 Overtime record, including shootouts

Best game Lightning 8, Flames 6

It wasn't a complete game as defense suffered, but it was exciting on March 1 as Tampa Bay went into Calgary and knocked off the Northwest leaders with three third-period goals. Vinny Lecavalier's winner was his 300th career goal, and Mark Recchi had a franchise-best five assists.

Worst game Coyotes 3, Lightning 2

Four days to recharge at a Scottsdale, Ariz., resort, and still, wing Mark Recchi said, players were "skating in quicksand." Tied 2-2 in the third on Jan. 8 with a team that seemed as disinterested, Tampa Bay had just six shots.

Numbers game

91-66 Outscored in the third period and overtime

3-10 Shootout record

10-29 Record in one-goal games

9-7-4 Record against the Northeast, the only division against which the Lightning was a winner

76.2 Road penalty kill percentage, last in the league

353 Man games lost to injury or illness

19-33-14 Rick Tocchet's record as interim coach

Shootout woes

Want to know why the Lightning stunk at shootouts? Check these stats:


Vinny Lecavalier113.273

Ryan Malone41.250

Marty St. Louis51.200

Steven Stamkos51.200

Vinny Prospal50.000

GoalieSAGASv. PCT.

Mike Smith2715.444

Karri Ramo135.615


"That's why the United States has nuclear weapons. It's called a deterrent."

Former coach Barry Melrose on the value of an enforcer

"I'll predict right now, Tampa Bay will win the division."

Owner Len Barrie on July 8, to the St. Petersburg Times

"It ensures that our team is better in October and for the next 10 years."

Owner Oren Koules on acquiring defenseman Matt Carle in the Dan Boyle deal. Carle was traded after 12 games

"He's not being traded today. He's not being traded tomorrow. He's not being traded any time soon."

GM Brian Lawton in January on rumors captain Vinny Lecavalier could be dealt

"Can you imagine if he starts (next season) like the last two months?"

Coach Rick Tocchet about Steven Stamkos

"It felt like my whole forehead was split open. I knew I had to get to the bench because I didn't know how much blood I was actually losing. I just didn't know if my brain was sticking out of my head. It was dripping. I was scared I needed some help."

RW Marty St. Louis after he was gashed by the skate of linesman Derek Amell


Signed: Forwards — Evgeny Artyukhin, Brandon Bochenski, Ryan Craig, Adam Hall, Jeff Halpern, Zenon Konopka, Vinny Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Vinny Prospal, Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Paul Szczechura, Radim Vrbata; Defensemen — Andrej Meszaros, Paul Ranger; Goaltenders — Mike Smith. Salary committed: $38.075 million.

Restricted free agents: Forwards — Martins Karsums; Defensemen — Lukas Krajicek, Matt Lashoff, Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby; Goaltenders — Mike McKenna, Karri Ramo.

Unrestricted free agents: Forwards — David Koci, Matt Pettinger, Jason Ward; Defensemen — Marek Malik, Josef Melichar, Cory Murphy, Richard Petiot, Noah Welch.

Tampa Bay Lightning season in review 04/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 7:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?


    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  2. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue (w/video)


    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former Countryside and LSU softball standout A.J. Andrews will be among 23 athletes to be featured in ESPN The Magazine's body issue. "I have a really ripped back," Andrews says while laughing in the video. [Photo from video]

  3. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  4. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  5. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.