Now that Guy Boucher is out as the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, looking back at his two-and-a-half years there shows the kind of wild roller coaster ride he had in Florida.
His first season as coach of the Bolts saw him lead the team to 46 wins and 103 points while finishing second in the Southeast Division to the Washington Capitals. In the playoffs, however, Boucher made his mark taking the Lightning to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Bruins losing a 1-0 heartbreaker with 41 year-old goalie and mid-season acquisition Dwayne Roloson nearly taking them to the Stanley Cup finals.
Despite the work Boucher did in leading the Lightning that season, his first as a head coach in the NHL, he was not a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma would take home the award that season only to see the Penguins ousted by Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs in seven games.
The following season saw the Lightning regress. Roloson aged another year and didn’t improve and Mathieu Garon wound up with the bulk of the starts. While Steven Stamkos poured in 60 goals, it wasn’t enough to get Tampa Bay back to the playoffs as the team finished with 38 wins and 84 points, good for third in the Southeast and tied with Winnipeg for 10th in the East.
This season, Boucher wasn’t able to lead the team out of the doldrums from last season thanks to more of the same problems. Poor goaltending, poor defense, and a lack of scoring depth saw him bringing aboard more players from the AHL to try and turn things around. After going 13-17-1 he’s now out of a job.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer