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 seeks consistency from all quarters

The Lightning chased the game in vain Saturday, as defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron does here trailing Devils left wing Zach Parise, in a 4-2 loss at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Associated Press

The Lightning chased the game in vain Saturday, as defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron does here trailing Devils left wing Zach Parise, in a 4-2 loss at the St. Pete Times Forum.

BRANDON — How much nicer it is for the Lightning when everyone shows up for work.

A few players took the day off Monday for either body maintenance or because of injuries, but those who practiced at the Ice Sports Forum toiled to coach Guy Boucher's satisfaction.

"Well," Boucher said, "I didn't have to lose it."

Boucher was close after Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Devils in which he said only four players — Marty St. Louis, Steve Downie, Ryan Shannon and Brett Connolly — showed up.

Monday, though, Boucher was full of positive energy, and during practice praised the players for meeting "our standard."

Even so, Boucher's postgame shot at his players still resonated.

"Anytime anybody questions your work ethic you have to make sure it doesn't happen again," left wing Ryan Malone said. "It's obviously something that needs to be addressed and taken care of."

"He had every right to say it," captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "We have to be more consistent in everything. It's something we definitely have to work on."

Perhaps most troubling was that the slow starts plaguing the team on the road crept into a home game as the Lightning fell behind 3-0 after two periods.

Then there was the 0-for-6 power play that squandered a 1:21 five-on-three. And Lecavalier said the team did not do enough to challenge New Jersey's defense and wear it down.

At least Boucher's review of game video showed Tampa Bay played well defensively five-on-five. But that does not answer the question of whether the Lightning, when it plays as it did, lacks effort or just doesn't execute.

Perhaps it is a bit of both. Consider this from St. Louis: "We're aware we didn't play hard enough long enough (against the Devils). The bottom line is the power play has to get us a goal and it didn't. I'm not going to say we didn't work hard. We didn't execute at key times."

Funny, Boucher said, how these problems don't exist as much against teams like the Blackhawks, Flyers and Penguins, each of whom the Lightning beat.

"Let's not kid ourselves," he said, "when our guys play these high-end teams we seem to be all jacked up for these games. When we play normal teams we don't have the same urgency at all. That's our big problem this year.

"Jersey is a good team, but right now it doesn't have the same impact that the other teams have, and we don't have the same urgency."

There should be plenty of urgency tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Maple Leafs, who entered Monday tied for first in the Northeast — though given what happened Saturday and that the Lightning (9-8-2) has lost three of four, the opponent really shouldn't matter.

"We want to raise the bar and be better," right wing Teddy Purcell said. "We expect better of ourselves."

"It shouldn't have to be brought up every couple of weeks," Malone said. "Guys have to take it as their own responsibility that they're ready to battle and compete every night."

In other words, show up for work.

NOTES: Left wing Tom Pyatt (upper body) is expected to play. … Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron left practice and is questionable because of a lower-body injury sustained against the Devils, Boucher said.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at


Lightning vs. Maple Leafs

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

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

Key stats: The Lightning has won four straight over the Maple Leafs and has not lost in regulation to Toronto since November 2009 (5-0-1). … Toronto RW Phil Kessel has a league-best 16 goals and entered Monday leading with 29 points. … The Maple Leafs are tied with the Avalanche for the league's youngest roster at an average 26.5 years. … The Lightning's power play is on a 2-for-25 skid.

Tampa Bay Lightning seeks consistency from all quarters 11/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.