The Lightning came here last in the NHL standings with just six points, off to its worst start ever at 2-9-2 and mired in a nine-game winless streak.
Mikael Renberg came here with just two goals in 12 games, off to his worst start ever and mired in a slump of 11 straight games without a goal.
Consider it an understatement of monumental proportion, then, when Renberg says "we haven't played good as a team," and consider it an overstatement of reality, then, when Renberg adds, "and that includes me."
Well, Renberg broke out of his slump. But the Lightning did not.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim beat Tampa Bay 5-2 in front of 17,067 at the Pond, overcoming a two-goal deficit and capping the comeback with Teemu Selanne's game-winner in the third period.
And _ just like that _ the Lightning (2-10-2) fell to 0-9-1 in its last 10 games, a franchise record for futility as it surpassed the old mark of nine games straight without a win.
"The effort was certainly there tonight," interim head coach Rick Paterson said. "We had some great scoring chances and then the third period cost us."
For a team that is looking for any and all signs of encouragement, Wednesday night could have been filled with many.
Renberg, billed as a big-time goal scorer when acquired in the offseason from Philadelphia, wristed in Brian Bradley's pass for his third goal of the season at 2:59 of the opening period _ Renberg's first goal since he had two in a
season-opening victory over Carolina.
The Lightning padded its lead with a power-play goal from Jeff Norton at 5:12 of the second period, the first goal in 34 tries for a unit ranked second-to-last in the league in that department. Norton's slap shot from the right point deflected in off the skate of defenseman David Karpa, a sign that perhaps fortune was about to fall upon the Lightning.
And for half a game, at least, the Lightning seemed to play well enough _ with luck, or without _ to get its first win in three games under the guidance of Paterson, who was promoted to interim head coach when Terry Crisp was fired Oct. 26.
Then _ just like that _ it all came crashing down.
Again, just like it has so many times this season.
This time, it was Ted Drury doing the damage with two goals 47 seconds apart in the second period.
Drury converted Dmitri Mironov's interception of a bad Igor Ulanov clearing pass into his first goal, a shot that beat goalie Daren Puppa high gloveside. He came in alone on Puppa for his second, again going gloveside for the goal.
And at 5:04 of the third Selanne converted a Paul Ysebaert pass into a breakaway goal against Puppa, Selanne's eighth straight game with a goal. Tomas Sandstrom added a goal, converting Matt Cullen's three-on-one pass, and Selanne made it 5-2 with the final goal.
And the Lightning again found itself wondering what it must do to turn things around _ a frustration personified perhaps best by Renberg.
By scoring in his first game with the Lightning, Renberg seemed to have shed the pressure that went with the pressure of stepping in for last season's leading scorer _ Chris Gratton.
Since then, though, Renberg's and the Lightning's season has been all downhill.
Renberg went through two bouts with the flu, missing one game. Then last week he missed several days of practice after having two wisdom teeth extracted.
"I don't want to blame anything on sickness or teeth problems," Renberg said Wednesday morning. "It's a little frustrating. But things like that happen to everybody.
"Everybody has got to get going, but I have to score goals for this team to win."
Even when he found a way to do just that, the Lightning found another way to lose.