The Tampa Bay Lightning are a quarter of the way through this shortened season, sitting in second for the Southeast Division, and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Right now, they're a 0.500 club, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, being on a five-game winless streak isn't exactly encouraging, either.

Yes, they went 6-1 in their first seven games. That sort of set the bar pretty high for the fans, as they were expecting even more great things from this team this season after such a strong start. Then the slump happened, and now fans are despondent about that.

The problem with the team is fairly simple, really. The guys have been playing well lately are mostly the guys who started the season in game shape. Who were the best players last night against the Montreal Canadiens? Victor Hedman, who played for a KHL team in Kazakhstan and most of the guys up from Syracuse: Keith Aulie, Cory Conacher, Alex Killorn, and Richard Panik. Even Anders Lindback, who had a stellar game, played a bit during the lockout.

The guys who are struggling right now are the guys who didn't play during the lockout. Martin St. Louis looked rundown last night. There were rumors of a top-6 forward being questionable for the game against Montreal, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were him. Steven Stamkos has bursts of brilliance, but wasn't able to maintain it. Vincent Lecavalier looked worn out by the end. Most of the defense was struggling to keep up at times. Basically, they looked tired and didn't play as crisply as they had when the season first started.