The Lightning has lost two straight one-goal games to foes determined to forecheck, swarm in the defensive zone and play physically.

In other words, as coach Guy Boucher has preached since training camp: This is not going to be easy.

For a time it seemed almost too easy. Tampa Bay started 6-1-0 with a league-best 37 goals. Since then it has three goals total in losses to the Rangers and Flyers, and third-period mistakes that cost games.

"You have to go out and earn it every night, and I don't think we've done that the last two games," right wing Marty St. Louis said Wednesday. "Did we play bad? No. Did we go out and try to earn the win? No, we didn't.

"It's not for lack of effort, but we have to be better."

That's quite a different tone from the team's rip-roaring start, during which it benefited from what St. Louis called a "perfect storm." The Lightning played six of its first eight games at home. Three teams were playing the second of back-to-back games. The Lightning faced three backup goalies, got 35 power-play chances and scored on 13.

But against the Rangers and Flyers, the intensity and level of play were raised, and the Lightning didn't quite measure up.

In both games, third-period gaffes led to winning goals. Tuesday against the Flyers, right wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie got caught in the offensive zone, sparking a Philadelphia three-on-two that defensemen Keith Aulie and Brian Lee did not defend well and goalie Anders Lindback failed to stop.

"Not awful mistakes," Boucher said, "but mistakes that a team makes when not mature enough to deal with those tight games."

Tampa Bay also had a season-low 22 shots, went 0-for-4 with two shots on the power play and did not bury scoring chances.