DENVER — Rick Tocchet seemed almost in disbelief as he uttered the words after the Lightning's morning skate.
"We're last in the league in scoring goals," the interim coach said as the Lightning prepared to play the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. "I don't think anybody would have said that this summer with all the guys we have."
Certainly not. And despite changes in ownership and coaching staff (including Barry Melrose's ouster after 16 games), and a roster overhaul, the Lightning didn't figure to be 6-9-7 and tied for third (also known as last) in the Southeast Division entering Saturday. But after scoring just 49 goals in 22 games — tied for the league-worst with Ottawa — the Lightning is still trying to find an identity before its season slips away.
"We're getting better. Baby steps," Tocchet said. "Looking at the tape, we were better than Minnesota (in a 4-2 loss on Friday). Specialty teams hurt us. … I think when it was 2-1 we had two guys (miss) empty nets. We're really struggling to score goals."
Captain Vinny Lecavalier leads the Lightning with nine goals and 18 points and is almost on pace to match his average totals of the past three seasons. Marty St. Louis, a former Hart Trophy winner who scored 25 goals last season, has five goals and 17 points. Ryan Malone and Jussi Jokinen have six goals each, but the Lightning is clamoring for other sources of production.