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When it comes to the Lightning, have you heard this before?

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Groundhog day, and the Tampa Bay Lightning are repeating themselves.

Check out Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. They started with a lead. They fell behind. They got off only 21 shots. And they lost their second game in a four-game home stand (and third overall)  that was supposed to turn all of this around.

“What did Punxsutawney Phil say?” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. He was told six more weeks of winter. “Let’s hope not,” he said.

Things are cold enough for the Lightning, who fell to 22-24-6 with the loss. They lead only Detroit, by only one point, in the Eastern Conference.

“This group’s never been through this before,” Cooper said. “It’s kind of uncharted territory for them. A lot of guys are used to winning a lot. It tests you a little bit. Maybe in other times we’ve had this, but we’ve found a way to fight through it. Right now, it’s tough. Every time we start talking a step forward, we take two back.

“Maybe in the past, we knew something good was going to happen. We were going to work our way through. Now they’re waiting for something bad to happen. That’s the part you have to get over.

The Bolts have obviously been affected by the losing streak.

“It’s tough to describe really,” said Brian Boyle. “We’re just banging our heads against the wall right now. We’re trying to fix things. We’re putting a lot of effort into it. A lot of people are putting their time and effort into it. For whatever reason, we’re not executing.”

“I believe there’s 30 games left, so we can’t have that attitude that were being kicked while we’re down because I don’t think any other team is feeling sorry for us right now, that is going to give us a charity win along the way here. Every game is going to be like this, and whether we know it or not, it’s been like this in the past.”

Tampa Bay plays host to Anaheim Saturday night.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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