Tortorella wants no excuses for loss

As the Lightning falls to a league-worst 3-13-1 record on the road, the coach says his team gets what it deserves for its poor play.

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA, Times Staff Writer
Published December 27, 2007

WASHINGTON - Lightning coach John Tortorella didn't want to hear about the goal that cost his team Wednesday night's game against the Capitals.

Looking into the rule book wasn't necessary. He didn't need to know the explanation of the video review in Toronto. His team lost another game amid controversy - a 3-2 setback to the Capitals at the Verizon Center - but Tortorella said the referees weren't responsible for the loss.

"I didn't want to hear an explanation," Tortorella said. "You get what you deserve."

In his third NHL start, 21-year-old goaltender Karri Ramo kept the Lightning in the game with some spectacular saves, but Tampa Bay blew a pair of one-goal leads and couldn't put the Capitals away.

"It's not just an offensive drought," Tortorella said. "It's everything about our hockey club. I hope they're frustrated. I'm not so sure they are. I don't know what to tell you. There's a lot of things we need to get better at.

"There had better be some panic going on within this club to get this turned around, or it's going to spiral to where you have no luck at all."

The result was another loss away from home, as the Lightning dropped its league-worst road record to 3-13-1. And after losing to the cellar-dwelling Capitals, the Lightning (15-19-3) is just one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference.

"We should have been showing that desperation two weeks ago, not just now," Lightning forward Marty St. Louis said. "We've got to be that way for the rest of the year. You have to win one game and get on a streak. We've done it before.

"We're not out of anything. But it's got to happen now, and it's got to happen often."

The Lightning has won just one of its last six road games, and with the back end of back-to-back games tonight at home against Montreal, every game becomes more pivotal.

"We have to get a win (tonight)," said center Vinny Lecavalier, who scored both Lightning goals. "We have to make sure we play more desperate throughout the whole game. If we do that, good things will happen."

That didn't happen Wednesday in Washington.

The Capitals' winning goal came with 2:53 remaining. As Washington center David Steckel's shot from inside the blue line deflected off the stick of Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba, it hit Ramo in the chest and deflected into the air behind him.

As Ramo fell backward trying to glove the puck, four Lightning skaters converged on the crease, but it was Capitals wing Matt Bradley who poked the puck into the net. At about the same time, the goal came off one of its hinges, prompting a video review in Toronto.

"The net had to be completely off its moorings before the puck crossed the line, and video review showed it had already crossed the line," said Mike Murphy, the NHL's vice president of hockey operations.

Ramo made 29 saves, and he was at his best when the Capitals had a man advantage, holding Washington scoreless on all four power plays.

On the Capitals' first power play, Ramo made a jaw-dropping stop on Alex Ovechkin. Ramo flew from one side of the crease to the other to take away an open left side and make a toe save.

"That's the only reason we were in the game at that point in time," Tortorella said of Ramo's play. "It could have been 8-2."