Game 5: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Florida Panthers in their second shootout loss in a row 3-2.

They looked better than their previous game against the New York Islanders, but anything would be better than that. They had more jump, but still lacked discipline. They were a little more organized towards the end, but they still were very sloppy.

It's as if they've forgotten how to play in Guy Boucher's system. All but defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, of course, with his two goals. But then, Bergeron's been playing this system for going on three years now.

Think about that for a moment. It's most of the same team from last season. They all struggled with Boucher's innovative 1-3-1 system for the first two or three months before sort of getting it down. Though, after seeing how it was supposed to work when at a game in Norfolk, they never really did get it down.

It's as if they came into camp thinking that they've already got it all figured out, but really didn't remember it right despite that. They're disorganized, they aren't sure where anyone's supposed to be, and they're sloppy because of it. It's no wonder they can't get anything going.

The worst is the defense, which had its problems last season. Matt Gilroy is completely lost out there. It's as if no one's told him where he should go or what he should do, at least in a way that he can understand it. Bruno Gervais is a little better, but not by much. Eric Brewer and Bergeron know what they're doing, but everyone else in between sort of knows and sort of doesn't.

Then there are the forwards. About half of them know what they're doing and where they're going, while the other half isn't entirely sure. It looks like chipmunks doing a Chinese fire drill at times.

It's most obvious in their transition game. On offense, most of them know what they're doing. But it's when they transition to defense that it all falls apart and leads to odd-man rushes.

You've got to give it to Mathieu Garon. He played a great game. You really can't blame him or Dwayne Roloson for the four-game losing streak.

What a way to start a new season, huh?

No, I don't think that they're resting on their laurels from last season. I think that they collectively believe that they all know what they're supposed to be doing, when at least half of them really don't. And who knows if they'll listen to a refresher because of that.

The Lightning are currently 1-2-2 on the season and are fourth in the Southeast Division. Yep, the 4-0 Washington Capitals are very afraid of them in regards to the standings, aren't they? At this rate, the Lightning probably wouldn't be able to beat an AHL team.

The next game is Monday, 17 October. It is the official home opener of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and game time is 7:30 pm ET. If you aren't attending, then please join us here. The game thread will open up at 7 o'clock.

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