The Tampa Bay Lightning are just 3-10-1 over their last 14 and now sit 13th in the Eastern Conference, a startling fall for a team that started the year 6-1-0, outscoring opponents 37-18.
Head coach Guy Boucher is trying to stay positive during the slump, but also wants to keep it real (so to speak).
Specifically, by telling his troops they’re keeping themselves from being successful.
“We have to find a way not to sabotage ourselves,” Boucher told the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Because that’s what we have been doing and it’s hard because I would love to be able to teach some of that stuff but they are just decisions at moments that cost us.”
The Lightning have failed to earn a point over their last four games, a stretch that’s coincided with Mathieu Garon taking the starting goalie gig from Anders Lindback.
Garon has been the goalie of record in Tampa Bay’s last five games, due in large part to the inexperienced Lindback learning on the job — a process that’s come with some bumps and bruises.
“[Lindback] has to go through the process,” Boucher told the Tribune prior to making the switch to Garon. “You can’t buy a process, because if you buy the process, everybody would be great. It’s just the process of time and experience, it’s mistakes, it’s correcting and it’s preparation.
“That’s what it is, right now for him he’s going through the exact process all young goalies have to go through.”
Looking ahead, the next two weeks could make or break Tampa’s season entirely. The last real solid homestand of the season begins on Mar. 7 — the Bolts play five of six at home from the 7th to 18th.
That’s important, because the Lightning will play eight of their final 13 regular season games on the road.