Some on this team may not be able to compete anymore.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 12 shots before being pulled for Mathieu Garon, who allowed 2 on 10 shots the rest of the way for the backdoor loss. I said a few games back after the loss to the Isles that some on this team are either unwilling or unable to compete. Roloson is one of 2 or 3 players who may not be able to compete at this level anymore. I would leave him on the bench until the wheels completely come off Garon, at this point.
NJ Sykora (6), (Salvador, Elias), 0:28
NJ Zubrus (9), (Taormina, Henrique)(PP), 5:38
TB Downie (4), (Gilroy, Stamkos), 17:34
TB Jones (1), (Tyrell, Gilroy), 18:54
NJ Parise (9), (Henrique, Tallinder), 0:56
NJ Kovalchuk (9), (Parise), 5:42
NJ Henrique (7), (Parise, Fayne)(SH), 13:23
TB Stamkos (17), (Moore, Lecavalier)(PP), 9:29
TB Stamkos (18), (Kubina, Lecavalier), 19:26
Steven Stamkos was the game's third star.
It's a frustrating loss because the Lightning did a lot of good things in this game. They heeded the call from the last game and outshot New Jersey a solid 36-22 in the contest. But when you give up 2 soft goals like Roloson did (and his goals to start the first and third periods were absolutely awful) that can undermine the ability to get the result. It did tonight, and it's tough to keep doing the right things to turn things around when you can't get results from the effort.
The other couple of players who were really exposed tonight were Pavel Kubina and Brett Clark, who got caught flat footed and whose lack of speed contributed to three quick strike goals by the Devils. These two guys are in the final years of their contracts and they just seem to be running out of gas. Kubina used to be a lock for 30+ points a season, even after the lockout, but his production has diminished to the point his lack of footspeed and mental errors are tougher to tolerate. As for Clark, he's an excellent shot blocker, but every other part of his game has gone into the toilet since the halfway point of last season. Steve Yzerman thought he could squeeze one more decent season out of Roloson, Kubina, and Clark, and it seems to be backfiring. Throw Ohlund (who wasn't an Yzerman acquisition, in fairness) into that mix and the Lightning desperately need to overhaul an aging, toothless defense from the nets out.
One youthful acquisition that Yzerman made to try to address that issue continues to absolutely drive me nuts. Matt Gilroy has good instincts in the offensive third and a deft touch on his passes, but I've never seen a guy get so many shots and shot-passes blocked from the point. His decision-making is terrible, and it resulted in a goal against tonight. Geez, man, look up, and if all you can see is shin pads, move it up the boards. Be smart. That's the second goal recently that's resulted from a play that should not happen at this level.
Blair Jones had his first goal and was +1 with 3 shots in 12:13. It was his best game of the season, by a wide margin, because he was good on the forecheck and had some dangerous scoring chances.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.