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's playoff hopes nearly dead after 5-2 loss to Florida Panthers

Stephen Weiss (9) scores past Lightning goalie Mike Smith early in the third to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead 1:54 after Steven Stamkos had pulled Tampa Bay within 3-2.

Associated Press

Stephen Weiss (9) scores past Lightning goalie Mike Smith early in the third to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead 1:54 after Steven Stamkos had pulled Tampa Bay within 3-2.

SUNRISE — For those who still hold out hope the Lightning somehow can sneak into the playoffs, consider this:

With its 5-2 loss Sunday to the Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center, Tampa Bay plummeted to 14th in the 15-team East, eight points behind the eighth-place Bruins for the final playoff spot.

In other words, if Boston (32-27-12) goes 5-5-1 in its final 11 games to finish with 87 points, Tampa Bay (28-32-12) would have to be undefeated in its final 10 to reach 88. And that doesn't take into consideration the other five teams the Lightning has to leap.

"The odds are stacked against us," center Steven Stamkos said. "We have to play for something, right? It's still within reach, but it's not going to be easy, that's for sure."

It will be impossible if the team plays as it has in a 2-11-1 streak, including five straight losses in which it has been outscored 18-7.

Coach Rick Tocchet tried to shake things up by putting left wing Marty St. Louis with center Vinny Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell, and left wing Alex Tanguay with Stamkos and Steve Downie.

But St. Louis had zero shots and is without a goal in seven straight games. Tanguay, in the lineup after Saturday's scratch against the Capitals, had one shot and is without a goal in 15.

"We're just not getting any bounces," Stamkos said. "We just don't get any breaks, and when things go bad, they really go bad. … It seems that every game there's a certain time and point we panic and fall apart."

That was in Sunday's first period, when the Panthers scored three times in 4:16 to take a 3-1 lead with 1:32 remaining.

Florida scored every which way in the game: with a deflection off a Lightning stick; with at least one softy allowed by goaltender Mike Smith; when defenseman Kurtis Foster's stick broke as he tried to swat away the puck and put it in his net; and with Tampa Bay's defense offering little close-in grit.

"The biggest thorn for us is we have too many goals in front of the net," Tocchet said. "We've just got to get tougher in front of the net. It's really costing us."

Stamkos' 43rd goal and team-record 19th on the power play broke a five-game goal drought, and Downie scored his 19th, which gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 6:04 into the game. But it was not nearly enough for a team that on Feb. 10 was sixth in the East and talking playoffs.

Asked about the postseason now, Downie said, "We've got to figure out how to win a game first."

Panthers 3 0 2 5
Lightning 1 0 1 2
Panthers 3 0 2 5
Lightning 1 0 1 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Downie 19, 6:04. 2, Florida, Horton 18 (Stillman, Weiss), 14:12 (pp). 3, Florida, Booth 6 (Bitz, Ballard), 17:42. 4, Florida, Stillman 15 (Horton), 18:28. PenaltiesKonopka, TB, major (fighting), 2:09; Tarnasky, Fla, major (fighting), 2:09; Konopka, TB, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 13:12; Tarnasky, Fla, major (fighting), 13:12; Tampa Bay bench, served by Tanguay (too many men), 15:39; Booth, Fla (holding), 20:00.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesHale, TB (hooking), 9:55.

Third Period5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 43 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 2:08 (pp). 6, Florida, Weiss 25 (Allen, Ballard), 4:03. 7, Florida, Dvorak 12 (Garrison), 15:34. PenaltiesAllen, Fla (hooking), :49; Downie, TB (slashing), 8:28; Konopka, TB (boarding), 17:59. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 10-12-9—31. Florida 14-8-18—40. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 2; Florida 1 of 5. GoaliesTampa Bay, Smith 10-16-7 (40 shots-35 saves). Florida, Clemmensen 6-6-0 (31-29). A14,831 (19,250).

Panthers 5

Lightning 2

Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff hopes nearly dead after 5-2 loss to Florida Panthers 03/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 21, 2010 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Judging by those who were asking for them before Saturday's giveaways, those who tried to get an extra one or two once inside the Trop and those who quickly slipped theirs on before finding their seats, the DJ Kitty Onesie might be the Rays' most popular giveaway. Ever.

  2. Rays vs. Rangers, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Rangers

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Florida; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  3. Gators pick up commitment from 5-star QB Matt Corral

    Blogs

    Florida has picked up a major commitment toward its 2018 recruiting class, getting a pledge Saturday night from quarterback Matt Corral, rated a five-star recruit by Rivals and Scout.

  4. Warren Sapp has firsthand advice as Bucs try to toughen up

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was a molten morning, surface of Mercury, on the football field at Skyway Park, near Tampa International Airport. Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp was working with some of the Bucs' defensive linemen. HBO Hard Knocks crews followed them. Training camp was a week away. Sapp pointed to …

    Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp made it clear as a rookie that he wasn’t backing down from anyone, mixing it up with the Dolphins during summer scrimmages. [Times file]
  5. Rays Tales: With Rays surprising buyers, a look back at previous deadline deals

    The Heater

    The buildup to this July 31 trading deadline is different for the Rays, for the rudimentary reason that they are working — feverishly, from what we hear — to add on to a team they feel has a legitimate chance to make a playoff run.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a strike to open up the first inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.