TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to break a five-game winless streak when they meet the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and coach Guy Boucher will be going to the back-up goaltender to get matters turned around.
But not because he wants to; because he has to.
Anders Lindback, who has started seven of the past nine games for Tampa Bay, is out ill, so Mathieu Garon gets the call in net. As to the extent of Lindback's illness, Boucher sounded as in the dark as anyone.
"I don't know how sick he is," Boucher said. "I have no clue. I don't know if he'll dress tonight. He's home right now and I have no clue. They're going to call him back and see how he's doing later; it might just be a one- or two-hour thing, but right now we're going with Garon in net. That's what I control; the rest -- it's somebody else's business right now.”
And if Lindback isn't able to rally, Tuesday's backup will be?
"I have no clue," Boucher said. "No clue at all. Right now I'm crossing my fingers that Lindback will be fine for tonight."
If the frustration in Boucher's voice was apparent, chalk it up to the current winless streak, which Boucher attributes to the forces of adversity and poor mental focus -- in addition to a lack of finishing scoring chances.
"We've been missing goals; maybe that's the common thing, and it's been frustrating our guys. Against the Rangers we had three 2-on-1 chances with our top guys and a breakaway and a back-door open net, and we don't get one goal and guys get frustrated, and because they are frustrated, then whoops! Then they change their game."
Then, there are some things that that just can't be helped.
"Against Montreal we have a 5-on-3 against us that we don't deserve and then defenseman Eric Brewer's stick got stuck in the boards," Boucher said. "At New York, too, before the game, Ryan Malone gets injured (kicking a soccer ball). Just a lot of adversity and frustration that we have to deal with. We've talked about it. We can't let it bring us down. We can't allow it. Life is perception; you choose what you want. We can't sink lower than the circumstances are."
So aside from burning incense and chanting incantations, Boucher is setting out to change the focus of his team.
"Right now, we're going into a game with the Capitals. It's isolated for everything else. That's how we have to look at it," he said. "When we go into a period and the other team scores, well, it's done. We have to move on and keep going. That's what we haven't been doing because of too many goals we've missed. We have to change that."
Alexander Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Cory Conacher - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
B.J. Crombeen – Tom Pyatt – Adam Hall
Richard Panik – Nate Thompson – Benoit Pouliot
Eric Brewer – Matthew Carle
Victor Hedman – Sami Salo
Keith Aulie – Brian Lee
Scratched: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Brendan Mikkelson, Pierre-Cedric Labrie
Injured: Ryan Malone
Matt Hendricks – Mike Ribeiro – Alex Ovechkin
Wojtek Wolski – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Eric Fehr – Jay Beagle – Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner – Mike Green
John Erskine – John Carlson
Jeff Schultz – Tomas Kundratek