The chips are down; Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils preview

"This isn't working, is it?" - Justin K. Aller

Mid-season has arrived for the Lightning as they conclude their road trip with a game in Newark tonight. What's working for the club? Not much.

WHERE: The Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
WHEN: 7 PM EST | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 970 WFLA (radio)

[Halftime of final game]

Coach Rig: Now, let's analyze what's been working for us.
[Long pause]
Coach Rig: NOT A GOD DAMN THING'S been working for us. Like this goddamn suit doesn't work for me... and this stinking tie... and this goddamned shirt. IT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME. YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY WINNING HARD-NOSED FOOTBALL? ..... LIKE A GODDAMN RAMPAGING BEAST! And that's the way you got to do it! YOU GO OUT THERE! YOU TEAR THEIR ... HEADS OFF, AND YOU [CRAP] DOWN THEIR NECKS!

Yeah, quoting a football movie in the face of adversity is so passé, especially when we're dealing with ice hockey. Relevant though? I don't think that's arguable. Nothing is working, nothing is right... That's the attitude that fans are expressing, that's the attitude of media.

There is nothing positive, only the lingering negative that is accentuated with a loss like the one suffered last night in Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Lightning's fifth loss in a row.

Goaltending failed - not figuratively in Mathieu Garon and Anders Lindback giving up soft goals, but Garon being injured and Lindback being sullied by the effort in front of him.

Defense failed, by granting opportunities to the Pens that Lindback couldn't stop (nor could most anyone else).

And the offense enabled the failings on defense. You can't control the puck for the entire 60 minutes of a regulation hockey game, but you also have to do your best not to turn it over or to avoid turning it over at such an inopportune time that it strains your defense and puts your goaltender in a compromising position.

So, to recap last night: Things fell down, went boom (again), and tonight the Lightning have to play again.

But so do the Devils, who are on the flip side of their own back-to-back series; a Devils team that lost last night too, and are on their own nose-dive, having lost five straight.

The situation with Garon we pretty easy to see last night - though he was diagnosed with the ambiguous lower body injury, his groin seemed to be what led to his ouster from last night's game. After having a groin tear end his season last year, even a groin strain needs to be taken seriously for Garon.

Cedrick Desjardins has been recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Syracuse Crunch, he'll be on backup duty as Anders Lindback makes his return to the starting role. That was the plan for this road trip - he was getting one start alone. How long Garon will be out for is unclear. Oddly enough, in the 2+ years since Desjardins started two games in the NHL for the Lightning, he has not seen any NHL playing time since (with the Bolts, Colorado Avalanche or Montreal Canadiens).

As for the rest of the club - no lineup decisions have been announced at this juncture. That'll come to light as we get closer to game time.

Other Previews

Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview

Full game coverage on SB Nation

Tickets -- Check Availability

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