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THN.com Blog: Lights out for Tampa on the road

Brad Richards is helped off the ice by teammates after suffering a leg injury in the second period of a 6-1 loss to Toronto.

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Brad Richards is helped off the ice by teammates after suffering a leg injury in the second period of a 6-1 loss to Toronto.

The Tampa Bay Lightning is an NHL-worst 2-11-1 away from home this season (compared to an 11-3-2 mark at home, second only to Detroit’s 13-2-0 record at Joe Louis Arena). And Tampa’s road woes were on full display Monday night in Toronto as the Bolts surrendered four goals in 4:32 in the middle of the second period – shortly after Brad Richards left the game with a left leg injury – and two more in the third period in a 6-1 loss.

The game, between two teams fighting tooth and nail to be top-eight in the East, followed a script that’s becoming much too familiar for the Bolts. That is, Tampa looked fine and carried the play in the first, but the moment an obstacle appeared – the loss of Richards – the Lightning got lit up.

The silver lining is Tampa Bay officials were hopeful the injury was nothing serious. The team contemplated letting Richards return for the third period against Toronto, but ultimately decided discretion was the better part of valor.

Richards reportedly limped out of the Air Canada Centre before the media converged on the team after the game.

Uncommon Sens
You know you had a good start to the season when you lose seven games in a row but still sit atop your conference.

That would be the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators, who have righted the ship with back-to-back victories following a seven-game spiral that brought the team back to earth after it blasted out of the gates at 13-1-0 to start the season.

The Sens are 18-7-3, three points ahead of their closest pursuers – with a couple games in hand, too.

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The Chicago Way?
Don’t go, Chicago, don’t go. The Blackhawks are mired in a four-game losing streak, their longest of the season, and have fallen below the post-season line in the tight Western Conference standings (three points separated second-place Vancouver from ninth-place Columbus).

At 14-13-2, there’s no need to panic – after all, the Hawks usually are long forgotten by this point in the season – but Chicago is a young team that has done a lot of losing in recent years.

Here’s hoping they can remain relevant well into the 2008 portion of the schedule.

Tortorella at the mic
Think what you want about Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, the guy’s a great quote, even when he hardly says anything at all.

After losing 6-1 to Toronto Monday night, Tortorella kept it short and not so sweet in the post-game press conference.

The first question lobbed at Tortorella was about Richards’ status: “I have no idea,” he replied.

Then, he was asked about his team’s performance: “Let’s call a spade a spade, it was a good old-fashioned s***-kicking,” Tortorella steamed. “It doesn’t matter who went down or what happened. It was just a good old-fashioned s***-kicking and let’s just leave it at that.”

And then he left.

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