Following a 7-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night, the Bolts returned to the ice on Tuesday to hold practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Despite Monday’s defeat serving as the sixth loss in the team’s last seven games, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said the recent results have not affected the team’s attitude in coming to the rink every day.
“Guys are upbeat and they continue to come in every day ready to work hard,” Boucher said. “They’re focusing on the details and they’re very much focusing on getting better.”
As the Lightning’s playoff chances appear to be dwindling, so do several key regulars out of the lineup.
The Bolts competed in Tuesday’s game against Buffalo without eight mainstays, including forwards Nate Thompson, Adam Hall and Ryan Shannon, each out with upper body injuries.
Guy Boucher did not elaborate on the status of each player, but simply stated nothing was new to report.
“Either I can start crying, which I felt like, or just look at it as ridiculous,” Boucher said. “I've just got to go with it.”
With Dustin Tokarski being sent back to Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, Dwayne Roloson will get the start in goal for the team’s next game on Thursday versus Edmonton, and likely several starts after that.
Recently-acquired net minder Sebastien Caron was at practice on Tuesday, but according to Boucher, will not see any game action just yet.
“At some point he’ll get in,” Boucher said. “But right now we’re going to get him accustomed to being back in the NHL, seeing NHL play, and getting him behind the bench too so he can get a feel. Then later on we’ll be able to put him in net.”
It didn’t take Guy Boucher long to tell reporters at Tuesday’s practice what his message to the team would be for the remaining 10 games of the regular season, despite reality setting in that a playoff spot is not likely in the team’s plans for this summer.
“Everything matters,” Boucher said. “Everything we do today matters for tomorrow, it matters for next year, it matters for the team, it matters for the organization and it matters for the fans. I really truly believe that you can gain something every day. I understand things have been tough for us, but we have to maintain a very high standard of not just play, but character, work ethic and attitude. It’s not about winning right now. It’s about giving every single ounce of energy and being the best we can be for the fans so it’s worth their money.”