Tampa Bay draws 1-1 with Boston but players and coaches are disappointed.
A few weeks ago, Lightning coach Steve Ludzik and his players might have been ecstatic about a tie.
Not when Tampa Bay could've won its third straight game in an extended homestand and instead tied Boston 1-1 before an announced 16,623 at the Ice Palace.
"You know what? I guess there was a day that that was acceptable to get a point," Ludzik said. "But I don't think so. I think some of us have got to look in the mirror and we've got to regroup. Simple."
The Lightning locker room emptied quickly despite a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1), its first since early November.
"We have high expectations for this hockey club now," said right wing Martin St. Louis, who had an assist and several chances to score. "I guess you never get satisfied. If you're looking at being perfect, one point is not good enough."
Tampa Bay defenseman Andrei Zyuzin scored on the power play in the first period and Dan Cloutier stopped 33 shots in his first start since Dec. 17. Boston countered with its first-period goal and Byron Dafoe, who saved 22 shots.
"We felt like we could've won this game," Zyuzin said.
Tampa Bay was 1-for-6 on the power play and killed off five penalties, including a four-on-three in the third period after being whistled for too many men on the ice.
"I think the defense played really well," Cloutier said. "They took care of the rebounds for me."
Except for one.
And Boston right wing Brian Rolston took advantage.
The rebound came off defenseman Jonathan Girard's slap shot from the point right to Rolston, on one knee in front of the net.
Rolston, acquired as part of a trade in March that sent Ray Bourque to Colorado, poked a shot to Cloutier's left for his sixth goal of the season and 100th of his career 9:28 into the first period.
"It was a big rebound and I got my stick on it and it just kind of rolled by (Cloutier)," he said.
The Lightning responded with Zyuzin's first goal of the season.
He was standing in front of the net when St. Louis passed from the right corner. He beat Dafoe at 14:49 into the period.
"I was pretty happy about that first goal," Zyuzin said. "I didn't even try to get some points. St. Louis gave me a great pass and I'm just happy."
Tampa Bay has two power-play goals in its past three games.
Cloutier was challenged all night, especially in the second and third periods when he faced 27 shots.
"It was a big game for him," Boston coach Mike Keenan said. "They've been battling here in the goaltending position and he gave them a good effort tonight."
Ludzik was not as forgiving of his defense, though he praised Cloutier's effort.
"I don't like relying on our goalie the way we are," he said.
Tampa Bay had three shots in the third period, none in the last 17 minutes of regulation. It had two shots in the overtime, including a hard slap shot by left wing Fredrik Modin from the right circle that Dafoe snagged with his glove.
St. Louis and right wing Alexander Kharitonov led the Lightning with five shots and had several opportunities to break the tie.
"I thought St. Louis and Kharitonov were our best players," Ludzik said. "They're also two of our smaller players. That tells me that they've got a lot of heart."
The six-game homestand concludes with Toronto at 7:30 tonight.
NOTES: Stan Drulia, who has missed the past eight games with a nagging back injury, is back in town after spending two days in St. Louis receiving treatment. "I feel a lot better today than when I left," Drulia said before the Boston game. The veteran right wing said the problem was diagnosed as swelling in his lower back. He was treated with two shots and skated pain-free for 15 minutes Friday. Asked whether he was confident he could play against Toronto tonight, Drulia said: "That's what I'm here for." Defenseman Pavel Kubina missed his first game in more than a month with an injured left index finger. Kubina said he took nine stitches after a skate cut through his glove during the second period against Philadelphia on Thursday. "My hand was kind of on the ice and one guy just skated over it," he said. Defensemen Sergey Gusev and Kristian Kudroc were healthy scratches for the Lightning.