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Bolts' scoring woes not for lack of chances

by John Kreiser /
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning bring a four-game losing streak to the Nassau Coliseum for tonight's game against the New York Islanders. They've scored just seven goals in those games, including two each in 4-2 losses to the New York Rangers at home on Saturday and at Ottawa on Monday.

But coach Guy Boucher feels his team is doing a lot of things right -- except for putting the puck in the net.

"At the beginning of the year, on the road, we were horrible," Boucher said. "Plain and simple -- all over the place. The work ethic wasn't there. The relentlessness wasn't there, the physicality wasn't there. We were getting some chances, but not like now. Now, it's ridiculous -- our games could be 5-1 after two periods. That's frustrating -- to miss those goals.

“During the game, it's frustrating -- and when I look at the video it's really frustrating. You can't believe the goals that we've missed; it's unreal. We've had more scoring chances than even last year -- just ridiculous."

It's not that the Lightning lack firepower -- Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are three of the best offensive players in the NHL. But for whatever reason, the pucks haven't been going in.

"I don't remember coaching a team that has misfired that much," Boucher said. "Look at Stammer -- he was wide-open, the puck on his stick, the goalie wasn't even there, but something happens and it trickles. That's just one of them.

"We're missing these goals, and that comes with swagger and swagger comes with results. It's a vicious circle. But one thing's for sure: We're playing great. If we keep at it and stick to it and continue working at the small details, we'll be a much better team, because once the (puck) goes in and we correct these little things … we can hope for good things."

The Lightning led 2-1 in the third period of the games against the Rangers and Senators, but allowed three goals each time and went home empty-handed -- dropping them to 11-13-2 and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

"If we want to win games, we have to make sure we check in those moments," Boucher said. "Both those games -- one with three minutes left, one with four minutes left -- you go into overtime and lose, it's still a point and a point, like winning one of the two games, and those points are big."

After former Islander Dwayne Roloson played in Ottawa on Monday, Mathieu Garon will start in goal for the Lightning, who again will be without defenseman Pavel Kubina, out with a lower-body injury. Tampa Bay recalled Evan Oberg from the AHL Norfolk Admirals for the game -- they acquired Oberg just four days ago in a four-player swap with Florida.

Forward Adam Hall, a scratch in the last two games, is likely to dress -- "there's a big chance he plays," Boucher said. "Big, big chance."

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