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Coach pressures higher-profile players

John Tortorella made it clear the Lightning's inability to score is a team-wide problem. But that didn't stop the coach from putting pressure on some of Tampa Bay's higher-profile players to produce.

Left wing Fredrik Modin (six games without a goal), center Vinny Lecavalier (one goal), center Brad Richards (one goal in his past 12 games), defenseman Pavel Kubina (one goal), wing Jimmie Olvestad (one goal) and center Tim Taylor (no goals) were singled out.

"Modin and Vinny have to start scoring," Tortorella said before Saturday night's game against the Penguins at the Ice Palace. "Kubina has to get his shots through. Tim Taylor and Olvestad have to score a goal."

He could also have mentioned center Vinny Prospal, who has no goals in his past five games, and left wing Juha Ylonen, who has not scored.

Of Modin and Richards, Tortorella said they have to "step it up and do the small things and their offense will come."

"Of course he's right," Kubina said. "He has to put pressure on the forwards. They have to score a couple of goals, and if they can't, the other guys have to step up. And he's right to put pressure on me to join the offense."

Tortorella is a big believer in motivation coming from the locker room and within each player.

"Sometimes as a coach you have to remind them," he said. "It's all mind-set. You think you did something good, but did you get it accomplished? Did you win? We have to get away from almost. It's not good enough."

SWITCH BACK: Prospal was switched from left wing on Lecavalier's line to center between Ylonen and Barnaby.

"He's not a start, stop guy," Tortorella said. "He needs to be in motion. And Vinny sees the ice very well."

Prospal said he doesn't care where he plays.

"I didn't mind playing wing," he said. "It was a little different but I was getting a chance to play and didn't mind it."

LEDYARD HURT: Defenseman Grant Ledyard was lost in the first period of Saturday's game to a possible concussion and did not return.

ODDS AND ENDS: The 37 goals the Lightning allowed through its first 15 games was the lowest in team history. The 1993-94 team allowed the next lowest, 42. Lightning players will visit 15 Tampa Bay area elementary schools Tuesday as part of the Great American Teach-In. Players will discuss life as an athlete. For information, call the Lightning community relations department at (813) 301-6500. Right wing Nikita Alexeev and defenseman Cory Sarich (bruised right shoulder) were scratched. Andreychuk received a 10-minute misconduct in the first period for arguing with a referee after Lightning defenseman Nolan Pratt was called for slashing.

_ DAMIAN CRISTODERO

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