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Lightning: We can only go up

There is consolation, if you can believe it, in being as bad as the Lightning.

And that is this: Things are bound to get better.

Somewhere. Sometime. Some way.

That was the spin, at least, that Lightning interim coach Rick Paterson had for the club after it squandered a two-goal lead and fell 5-2 at Anaheim Wednesday night _ the 10th game in a row without a win for the 2-10-2 Lightning.

"I know the players are down, certainly now that they didn't win," Paterson said after this latest debacle, one in which the Lightning allowed the Mighty Ducks to rally behind two goals by Ted Drury in the second period and two by Teemu Selanne in the third.

Tomas Sandstrom also scored in the final period for Anaheim, which is off to its best start in club history _ at the same time the Lightning is off to its worst.

"They've been down for a while _ but they're competing, and saying the right things," Paterson said of his players. "Now we have to find a way to win."

How is another matter.

Wednesday night, a goal by Mikael Renberg less than three minutes into the game (his first goal since the season opener) and a goal by Jeff Norton early in the second (the first power-play goal in 34 chances) was not enough. At least not with the kind of mistakes made by the Lightning, including one turnover by Igor Ulanov and another by Paul Ysebaert that led to Anaheim goals.

"There were letdowns," Paterson said, "and they cost us."