NHL Game Night: 2-14-12 Senators at Lightning

That's all, folks?

OTT-4
TB-0

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the loss. He also stopped a Kyle Turris penalty shot in the contest.

First Period
OTT Karlsson (10), (Spezza, Butler), 1:04

Second Period
OTT Spezza (23), (Kuba, Karlsson)(PP), 16:32

Third Period
OTT Spezza (24), (Butler, Michalek), 12:37
OTT Spezza (25), (Gonchar)(EN), 18:58

You got the sense the Spezza goal that got the score in this game to 3-0 really made reality set in for the Lightning. They can't afford to be losing back-to-back games right now and they can't afford to be losing 4-point games against teams they're competing against for position in the conference, and they just did both. With the loss, you'd have to expect the Lightning to be sellers at the deadline with several potential UFA's as rental opportunities for playoff-bound teams like Pavel Kubina, Dominic Moore, and Brett Clark. Unfortunately for the Lightning, it's difficult to envision them finding pieces such as a goaltender or some more Mikkelson-esque defensemen to receive in return to help rebuild the roster.

I will be interested to see how the post-deadline roster looks, and whether the Lightning will give some prospects in Norfolk an extended look before the end of the year. Particularly, I'd like to see Mark Barberio get a chance against NHL speed to see where he's at, particularly in his own third. The Lightning need d-men almost as much as they need a goaltender, and it seems foolish not to use this time to diagnose a guy who is currently the AHL's leading scorer amongst d-men.

The other thing is that Guy Boucher might just need to throw caution to the wind at some point, accept the mistakes young #14 is going to make, and start feeding Brett Connolly some scoring line ice time. If the Lightning can get a guy like Connolly or one of their other forward prospects to a point they feel more comfortable about them next season, it'll make it more comfortable for them to deal a veteran forward like Ryan Malone, assuming he'd allow it, to get some defense or goaltending help.

The good news is that I'm optimistic this season is a pot hole and not a ditch. There's a lot of good talent in the system, and the Lightning really are just 2-3 players away from being right back to elite status. And, no, those players aren't Scott Stevens and Patrick Roy. But, they do need to be guys who are a better fit for the current system and are a lot more clutch than what the current group has shown this year.

J.T. Wyman was -1 in 5:26.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.