Too many turnovers and not enough goals.
It sounds like a broken record describing the Lightning lately, and that was again the case in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday in front of 19,772 fans at Wells Fargo Center.
The loss was the sixth in the past seven games for a Tampa Bay team still looking to resolve its issues after dropping to 12-15-2 on the season, nine points behind Southeast Division-leading Florida and five points behind eighth-place Washington.
Saturday's showing looked eerily similar to many of the team's losses throughout the season.
"We just killed ourselves, we sabotaged ourselves one more time,'' Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "This has happened since the beginning of the year.''
A lack of offense has also contributed to the stumble down the standings as Tampa Bay has scored two or fewer goals in 10 of its past 11 games. The Lightning's record in that span is 3-8, with two of those wins coming in either overtime or a shootout.
"We are not going to win many games when we are giving up four or more goals and not scoring more than two, so it's frustrating,'' center Steven Stamkos said.
Ryan Shannon got the Lightning on the board first — a rarity on the road — when Dominic Moore made a crisp cross-ice pass to an open Shannon on the back post for his second goal of the season at 11:52 of the first. The goal stood up through the first period, though Tampa Bay had two power-play chances — one late in the first and then another to start the second, but failed to build on the lead.
"If we score a big one to make it 2-0, it could be a different game,'' center Vinny Lecavalier said.
Instead, the failed conversions came back to haunt the Lightning as the Flyers scored twice in a span of 34 seconds in the second period, the direct result of neutral zone turnovers.
First, a turnover at center ice by Bruno Gervais turned into a Danny Briere goal that went high to the glove side at 2:38 to tie it. Then, another turnover at center ice when Nate Thompson lost the puck led to a Jaromir Jagr wrist shot – high to the glove side after the shot hit Victor Hedman's stick — that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
The Lightning spent most of the remainder of the period killing off three consecutive penalties, with the second one accounting for Philadelphia's third goal as Wayne Simmonds tried a blind backhand pass through the crease that caromed directly off Brett Clark and into the net with 5:11 left.
Garon made an incredible rebound save with the paddle of his stick to stop Sean Couturier's rebound chance in the final seconds and prevent further damage.
Tampa Bay pulled to within a goal 55 seconds into the third period when Lecavalier put a wrist shot through the legs of Ilya Bryzgalov for a power-play goal. But the Flyers answered right back with a power-play goal courtesy of a touchy boarding call on Steve Downie, as Matt Carle scored on a wrist shot to the short side at 4:55.
The Lightning, meanwhile, didn't even get a sniff at a comeback opportunity as they went 13:01 without another shot on goal after Lecavalier scored. They finished the third period with just four shots on goal
"Two turnovers and they get the lead, we take penalties — and I'm not so sure about all these penalties — and then we have tons of opportunities in the third period to shoot and we don't shoot,'' Boucher said. "When you put it all together, we can't win this one.''