-- They are still a lap behind the Eastern Conference playoff race. They lost forward Ryan Malone
Saturday, putting nine regulars on their injured list and half of their AHL team in Tampa uniforms. And the magic that took them on a ride during last year's Stanley Cup playoffs has been conspicuous by its absence.
But Tampa Bay hasn't given up on the notion that Lightning can still strike twice.
On the heels of a seven-game winless streak and in danger of having their season end before the All-Star Break, the Lightning, or what's left of them, have regrouped and revived hope. They backed up a huge home win over Boston their first back-to-back road wins of the season – Friday's 2-1 squeaker over Dallas and a 4-3 win Saturday in Phoenix, where an exhausted team took a 4-1 lead to the third period and limped across the finish line.
"We're so short-staffed it's not even funny, then we lost Malone right at the beginning and it's looking grim," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher
said. "(In Dallas) I played our top guys a lot and we needed to play them a lot again and they responded. Let's not kid ourselves, when you're playing back-to—back you need your goalie to be great because it's just an unfair fight."