Style points mean little. It’s all about the standings points.
And in the first real road test of the abbreviated season, the Lightning will come home with none on an 0-3 trip with only a cancelled game in Boston preventing a more disastrous road result.
Carl Hagelin had two goals and an assist to help hand Tampa Bay a fourth consecutive loss, falling to the New York Rangers 5-1 in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden on Sunday. With the last three games coming on the road, the Lightning have fallen to 1-4 on the road this season after winning just 13 of 41 away from home last year.
“It’s not acceptable,’’ center Steven Stamkos said. “We are known as a team that can’t win on the road right now and it’s embarrassing, to be honest. We have to find a way, and it feels like we keep saying that all the time, but we are a lot better team than we are playing on the road.’’
After starting out the season 6-1 while scoring 37 goals, Tampa Bay has scored a total of six goals during the four-game losing streak that has dropped the team to 6-5 on the season. The Lightning are just one point ahead of Winnipeg and Carolina for the top spot in the Southeast Division.
During the four-game losing streak, Tampa Bay has scored a total of six goals despite having some of the top offensive players in the game. And that has to be especially biting in the first period on Sunday when the Lightning generated four odd-man rushes – two by Stamkos, a breakaway by Vinny Lecavalier and another by rookie Cory Conacher – but failed to come away with a goal and trailed 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes of play.
“Those (odd-man chances) are the shots and the goals that need to go in,’’ Conacher said. “That’s a reason we are not getting these Ws right now because are not capitalizing on those chances like the other team is. They had a couple of two-on-ones, made some plays. We have to do a lot better.’’
Goals by Hagelin, on a double deflection 31 seconds into the game, and a breakaway by Ryan Callahan after a Matt Carle turnover gave the Rangers that 2-0 lead. Yet Tampa Bay was still in the game in the second until Hagelin came down the left wing side and put a shot just under the right pad of Mathieu Garon at 9:58 to make it a 3-0 lead for New York. The goal ended the night for Garon, who was pulled in favor of Anders Lindback after allowing three goals on 19 shots.
Tampa Bay Lightning lose to Rangers, end winless road trip
Tampa Tribune | Feb 11