Game 43: Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the New Jersey Devils 6-3.

Yeah, how the Devils scored more than two is beyond me, either. Must've been the team they played. Or, at the very least, their lack of offense and team defense.

But I guess this is a recap about the Lightning, huh?

This game wasn't quite as bad as the one in Pittsburgh last week. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure many games can come close to that, frankly. But when you allow a team that's been struggling as much as the Devils have score six goals - two of which were empty netters - well, you know that you have a problem.

To help put this in perspective for you, this was just the Devils 11th win of the season - and they've played 42 games thus far.

Where to start? Well, the offense isn't clicking right now. The overall team defense is just as bad as ever. And Dan Ellis did not look very confident in net. About the only group that seemed ready to play this game was the coaching staff.

Oh, they started out well enough. The first went fairly well; and the second, while not great, wasn't bad, either. They were ahead 2-1 going into the third period when things crumbled on them. But then they must've watched some of the World Juniors Hockey Championship gold medal game during the second period intermission, because they let New Jersey score four unanswered goals in the third period.

(For those that missed the World Juniors Hockey Championship, Canada was up on Russia 3-0 going into the third period, when Russia came back and scored five goals to win the game - and the gold - 5-3 - much to the embarrassment of the entire country of Canada.)

It's easy to point at the goalie as being the problem, but that's far too simplistic. This is an entire team problem. Had the goalies been a the entire problem, then that game in Pittsburgh wouldn't have been so bad. Seriously. No, there's still something wrong with players figuring out the entire team defense part - not just the defensemen, either, but everybody.

The good news is that the Washington Capitals didn't play tonight, so that means the Lightning are sill atop the Southeast Division, and still second overall in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is that if they don't figure out why they're so inconsistent, they may not be able to stay (or reattain) such lofty heights in the NHL standings. Timing-wise, it's good that they have time to figure this stuff out in January, instead of March.

The next game is Wednesday, 12 January, versus the aforementioned Washington Capitals. It is a home game, so game time is at the customary 7:30 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will be open for business at 7 pm. See you then.