After jumping out to a 6-1 start on the year, the Tampa Bay Lightning have suffered four straight losses, scoring a measly total of six goals in those defeats. As surprising as it may sound, the Bolts are still atop the NHL‘s Southeast Division, though by just a point.
Still, if Guy Boucher‘s club can’t find a way to get the sticks going, the Lightning won’t be in first much longer.
In a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers Sunday night, Tampa couldn’t get anything going from the start. The Bolts gave up their first goal less than a minute into the first period and it was all downhill from there. Goaltender Mathieu Garon started the contest but was pulled for starter Anders Lindback after allowing three goals.
Sunday was a different story, but for the most part this season Tampa Bay has benefited from solid play between the pipes. But the ineffectiveness on the offensive end is now putting increased pressure on the defense and netminder. The Lightning are scoreless on the power play over their past three games and have only combined for 61 shots on goal during that span.
As painfully obvious as it is, in order to score goals, you have to get pucks at the net.
The Lightning are getting out-hit, out-shot and just outplayed in general, and they can’t wait much longer to get it turned around. Luckily, no other team in the division is doing much to stand out from the crowd. The Carolina Hurricanes (5-4-1) and Winnipeg Jets (5-5-1) are locked at 11 points, and the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals are both below .500.
Still, we’re a quarter of the way through this 48-game shortened season, and one nasty slump may be all it takes to take a team out of what is looking like a sprint to the finish. The Lightning need to right the ship fast and ensure they aren’t that team.