Make us your home page
Instagram

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 went on road trip without offense, power play

The Sharks’ Logan Couture, right, beats goalie Mike Smith, second from left, during Tampa Bay’s 5-2 loss Saturday. The Lightning scored just seven goals in the four-game trip.

Getty Images

The Sharks’ Logan Couture, right, beats goalie Mike Smith, second from left, during Tampa Bay’s 5-2 loss Saturday. The Lightning scored just seven goals in the four-game trip.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Before the Lightning began a four-game, nine-day road trip, it averaged 3.6 goals.

At the end of the 1-2-1 trip in which it scored just seven times, was shut out once and only once scored more than two goals, its average was down to 3.

Tampa Bay had its chances. It just had trouble converting.

Even the power play, which entered Sunday seventh in the league at 22.8 percent, hit a skid with three goals on 23 chances (13 percent) in its past six games.

No reason to panic, coach Guy Boucher said. And it is understandable, to an extent, given the number of injures and illnesses that have kept players from optimum performance.

Still, the drought is nothing to dismiss, especially when Boucher's system, though rooted in stout defense, is designed to create offense with a quick transition, and the power play has the personnel to be one of the best.

"I always say goals are like bananas," Boucher said. "We've had the same opportunities, we just need to bury them."

Actually, what Tampa Bay (7-4-2) needs is to stop blunting its own momentum.

The Lightning faced 18 power plays on the road trip compared to 12 of its own.

In the second period of Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Sharks at HP Pavilion, left wing Sean Bergenheim was whistled twice in the first three minutes for holding and tripping, respectively. Right wing Ryan Malone was called for a double-minor high stick.

That's eight minutes to kill. And while the Lightning's penalty kill, third in the league entering Sunday at 89.8 percent, did the job, the effort kept the team on its heels and drained energy.

Add defensive mistakes and San Jose scored twice in the second period for a 4-1 lead while outshooting Tampa Bay 20-6. It was the most shots the team allowed in a period this season. The 39 shots allowed in the game also were a season high, and if not for goalie Mike Smith the damage would have been worse.

"They were doing what we're supposed to do, that we used to do, crash that net and get a lot of rebounds," center Vinny Lecavalier said. "He made some big saves, but we weren't there for the rebounds. We left a couple of guys alone, so it definitely was tough for him."

Tough to watch at times has been the power play, which has trouble entering the offensive zone when it tries to be fancy at the blue line, players and coaches said. Steven Stamkos scored his 11th goal, and fifth on the power play, against San Jose, but it came late in the third period.

More critical was Stamkos' breakaway with 15 seconds left in the first. Had he converted to tie the score 2-2, the vibe of the game would have changed. But Sharks and former Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki stopped the backhand. He also stopped 18 of 19 third-period shots as Tampa Bay finally found its footing.

"Had (Stamkos) made it 2-2, it still doesn't solve the problem of our penalties," Boucher said. "If it is 2-2 and we take that many penalties, there's no way we can win that game."

"At the end of the day, it's tough playing shorthanded," Stamkos said. "We have to be a lot more disciplined."

And a lot more opportunistic.

MINOR MOVES: With defenseman Matt Smaby (ankle) and center Dominic Moore (groin) ready for action, forwards Blair Jones and defenseman Matt Roy were reassigned to AHL Norfolk.

Tampa Bay Lightning went on road trip without offense, power play 11/07/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 7, 2010 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.