Slumping Bolts Need Offensive Spark

JC De La TorreAnalyst IIIDecember 3, 2009

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost for the third time in as many games Wednesday night, and the theme has been the same for all three contests.

As the old commercial went, "Where's the beef?"

The beef, in this instance, is goal scoring. Tampa Bay has managed one goal in the last 126 minutes and 19 seconds.

Lightning stars Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier were a combined -9 in Tampa Bay's 4-1 loss to Boston.

Ryan Malone, whos second on the team with 15 goals, has managed just one point (an assist) in the last four contests.

The Bolts power play is powerless in their last 13 opportunities.

To say there's a scoring issue with the Lightning is putting it mildly.

"It seems before we were not getting shots but we were scoring, now we are getting the shots but we are not scoring," said Stamkos, who leads the team with 17 goals, told the Tampa Tribune , "It's tough because it's not coming from a lack of chances—pucks just aren't going in. We need to get more traffic to the net and keep it simple. I think 40 shots against a pretty good team, we'll take that every night, we just need to find ways to score more goals."

Lightning coach Rick Tocchet agreed, "The bottom line is you've got to score goals. Sooner or later you've got to get the job done, and that's it. You have to finish."

If there's one thing the Boston Bruins know how to do, it's finish off the Lightning. Boston beat Tampa Bay for the 14th time in 18 games.

The offense wasn't the only issue in this one for Tampa Bay, defensive lapses and mistakes by goaltender Mike Smith led to Bruin scoring chances, which they buried.

"When you don't score goals," Tocchet said, "those are the things that really bite you."

One Tampa Bay player suggests that the Lightning's early success got them a little big for their own britches.

"We were kind of kidding ourselves with some of the effort we put out recently," Ryan Malone said, "We have to look in the mirror and pick it up a level. Sometimes you get a little success, you get a little comfortable."

One thing's for certain, as the slide continues, the Bolts will certainly get less comfortable.