Game 27: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the New York Islanders 5-1.

Despite the score, congratulations to Martin St. Louis on his 800th career point. All Lightning fans are very proud that he accomplished such a feat, and in a Tampa Bay sweater, no less. It was the one bright spot in the entire game, and we thank you for that, Marty.

Back to less than nice things; the rest of the game. Ugh. Don't feel too bad about losing to the Islanders, though. They're a much better team now than what people give them credit for. Old habits die hard, I know, but a team is bound to improve sometime when they get the shear number of first overall draft picks that the Islanders have gotten over the years.

The Lightning seem to lack that killer instinct these days. They score a goal, and then they get complacent. "Urgency" is a word that's often used in hockey, but let's call it what it is. It's complacency. As former Lightning (and current New York Rangers) head coach John Tortorella used to say, "Safe is death", and the Lightning are playing things very safe right now.

Which isn't to say that they aren't trying. They are. These are professional athletes, and they've gotten to where they are not just because of their work ethic and natural ability, but also due to how competitive they are. To want to be the best and striving to be it means you're extremely competitive.

Having said that, there are different ways to go about being competitive, and some produce better results than others.

As I was saying on Twitter during the game, the team seems discordant to me. That is, while the players are playing their parts in the music, they maybe they're not all in the same place or even on the same page of sheet music. For the song to be played as intended - or the game to be played as intended - everyone has to coordinate and be where they should be: together. Or, perhaps, some need to be re-tuned - sat down and re-evaluate what they're doing. They are certainly not the well-oiled machine that they have been.

I don't know that a trade or sending people down is the answer. It could be; you just never know. In all honesty, I think there's a communication gap going on somewhere. The team is very close to their previous winning ways, believe it or not, but there are things in the game that they can work on. Of course, there are always things any team can work on, regardless of their record. No player, or team, is ever perfect in all respects.

If I were a coach (not that I'd ever want to coach hockey; but work with me here), I'd sit them all down in the same room, and then have each of them, one by one, tell me what they think they're supposed to be doing and what they think their role is. To me, it looks like a lot of assumptions are being made. The biggest one, I think, is that they're assuming that they know what Guy Boucher wants them to do. It's time to clear the air.

Naturally, my observations could be wrong, but that's how I see things going. They're obviously playing as individuals, but they think they're playing as a team. I put this on the shoulders of the players and the coaching staff. As with everything else, clear communication is the key to fixing any problem.

The Lightning's next game is Thursday, 8 December. Game time is at 7 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will open up at 6:30 pm. Come join us, won't you? Misery loves company, after all.

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