Friday, 10.14.2011 / 3:30 PM
Not much has gone right for the Tampa Bay Lightning since their season-opening win. Coach Guy Boucher, though, doesn't seem too concerned.
The Lightning hope to avoid matching their longest losing streak from last season when they conclude a season-opening five-game road trip Saturday night against the Florida Panthers, who make their home debut in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Tampa Bay cruised to a 5-1 win over Carolina in last Friday's opener but has since been outscored 14-7 during an 0-2-1 skid. Dwayne Roloson stopped 13 of 18 shots before he was pulled in the second period of Thursday's 5-1 defeat to the New York Islanders.
"We got a lot of things to take care of, and we will," Boucher said. "Right now, it's a tough stretch. We were on the road for a week for exhibition games, and came back for three days, (now) we're back on the road for a week and a half - and it's starting to show.
"Right now we got to find the energy for that last game before we come back home."
After finishing second in the league with 69 power-play goals in 2010-11, the Lightning (1-2-1) have converted just two of their 18 opportunities with the man advantage - including an 0-for-12 effort during their losing streak.
"We have ups and downs right now but we also have new guys and we have new lines and we're trying some things and we're evaluating our guys," Boucher said. "It's the beginning of the year, there's 78 (games) left. We have to get better, we'll get better."
Roloson has posted a 2.38 goals-against average en route to going 6-2-1 over his last nine meetings with Florida (1-1-0). Mathieu Garon, who stopped all 16 shots over the final 33:08 against New York, is 2-2-0 with one tie and a 2.14 GAA in five games versus the Panthers.
Florida's Jose Theodore
has experienced plenty of success against Tampa Bay, going 11-6-0 with two ties while recording a 2.13 GAA - his second-lowest mark versus any team.
Theodore, who recorded his 31st shutout in a season-opening 2-0 win over the Islanders last Saturday, wasn't nearly as sharp Tuesday, making 25 saves in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
Forwards Tomas Fleischmann
and Marcel Goc
scored for Florida, which went 0 for 5 on the power play.
"I thought we could come in here and be the more energetic team and I thought we were at times," coach Kevin Dineen said. "I thought that was really inconsistent. We had our moments but overall we have to have more consistency to our game."
Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell
, acquired from Chicago during the offseason, feels there are plenty of positives to take away from the start to the season.
"I feel we have a good team, a team that's capable of challenging for a playoff spot," he said. "Would we have liked to have been better than .500 coming home? Yes, but I think we learned a little bit more about our team and what it takes to be a better team and what it takes to win games ... we want to get off on a good note (at home) with a big game against Tampa."
Campbell and the rest of the Panthers' defense will look to slow down Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, who has seven goals and 10 assists over his last 14 games in this series.
Florida finished with the fewest points in the East last season but went 4-1-1 against the Lightning, who tied for the fourth-most points in the conference.
These teams meet again in Tampa on Monday night.