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Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier, Alex Tanguay, Ryan Malone remain in scoring slump

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The pressure is on some of the Lightning's top players to get on the scoreboard.

Captain Vinny Lecavalier has zero points in four games. LW Alex Tanguay has one goal in 11, and LW Ryan Malone has zero in 10.

The slumps come as Tampa Bay is desperate for secondary scoring to bolster C Steven Stamkos and LW Marty St. Louis, who have combined for 19 of the Lightning's past 30 goals.

D Mike Lundin, RW Steve Downie and C Nate Thompson chipped in Saturday against the Islanders, but Lecavalier, Tanguay and Malone combined for just six shots.

"I've been putting pressure on myself since the start of the year, and it hasn't panned out," said Tanguay, who has nine goals. "We're all trying, (Malone) and Vinny and myself, to contribute a little more. It's certainly frustrating."

It looked as if Lecavalier turned a corner with three goals and 10 points in six games from Jan. 12-21. But in 10 games since, he has two goals and five points.

Coach Rick Tocchet, who on Saturday reiterated how important it is for Lecavalier to play well, even shifted Malone to his line to see if either could get the other going.

"I just have to put the puck on net and get back to the basics of hockey," said Lecavalier, who has 15 goals.

"We certainly can't dwell on what happened (Saturday), and for us guys that aren't scoring as much, (today) is a new start," Tanguay said. "If not, we'll certainly have time to get away from the pressure the next two weeks (during the Olympic break). So let's work hard (today)."

Downie is up: Downie is plus-10 in his past seven games and is a team-best plus-18.

"He has the puck on his stick a lot, and he's one of our best forecheckers. So that correlates to spending less time in our end," Tocchet said. "If you're willing to hold onto the puck in the corners and take hits, then you're not going to defend."

It doesn't hurt that Downie plays with Stamkos and St. Louis. But Downie pulls his weight with 14 goals and has three goals and eight points in his past six games.

"Teams are a little leery of him when he's forechecking," Tocchet said. "That's what I like about him."

Smith in net: Despite one start since Jan. 12, G Mike Smith said he is ready to play today against the Rangers.

"I know what I can do," said Smith, who missed six games with a neck strain then sat while Antero Niittymaki carried the ball. "I've been working real hard in practice so when I do get a chance I'll be on the top of my game. I expect nothing less."

Chipping in: Thompson's goal, his first for Tampa Bay in 10 games since being claimed off waivers from the Islanders, put the Lightning ahead 3-2 with 7:33 left in the second period. His previous goal was Dec. 21 against Tampa Bay.

Thompson also fought former teammate Matt Martin.

"It was nice to get a goal," Thompson said. "I would have rather had the win."

Odds and ends: The Lightning power play is in a 2-for-20 slump. … D Kurtis Foster's assist gave him a career-best 21 and tied his career high of 28 points. … D Mattias Ohlund's assist was his first point in 19 games. … LW Todd Fedoruk was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier, Alex Tanguay, Ryan Malone remain in scoring slump 02/13/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 14, 2010 12:48pm]
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