Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins’ six-game losing streak is over with, the Tampa Bay Lightning might replace them as the NHL’s coldest team with an 0-5-1 skid of their own.
The biggest story from the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 win against Tampa Bay should be Troy Brouwer’s first career hat trick, but Lightning head coach Guy Boucher might steal the spotlight with his rants about the league’s scheduling. The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno captured Boucher’s frustrations about the Lightning’s losses in back-to-back games.
“We’re already behind the eight ball before the game even starts,” Boucher said. “If we would’ve played at least one good game on the road on a back-to-back, I would say, ‘We can do this, we can manage.’ We have never done it. We’ve always got our butts whipped and looked horrible.”
Tampa Bay suffered a gut-wrenching loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night and then turned around to face the Capitals in D.C. tonight.
That is indeed a challenge and it’s true that the Bolts have looked ugly in back-to-back games in which the second contest was on the road. Here’s the rub, though: including tonight’s loss, they’re just 0-3-0. That’s not a good thing, but it’s not as if the Lightning are running into this problem on a constant basis.
Boucher and Tampa Bay are going to have to suck it up as this season goes along, too. Here are the remaining games in which at least the second contest of a back-to-back set is on the road:
Friday, Jan. 20: at Dallas
Saturday, Jan. 21: at Phoenix
Saturday, Feb. 11: at Buffalo
Sunday, Feb. 12: at Pittsburgh
Saturday, Feb. 25: at Pittsburgh
Sunday, Feb. 26: at New Jersey
Friday, March 2: vs. Rangers
Saturday, March 3: at Carolina
Monday, March 26: at Philadelphia
Tuesday, March 27: at Boston
Wednesday, April 4: at Montreal
Thursday, April 5: at Toronto
Boucher told reporters that the Lightning did everything they could to win tonight’s game, but if Tampa Bay wants to turn things around, they’ll need to actually make it happen in those stretches.
Even if they’re cursing the schedulers on the way.
Oh yeah, in case you’re curious, here’s video of Brouwer’s first career hat trick, with the empty-netter eventually turning into a game-winning goal.