The Washington Times - January 13, 2012, 01:41PM

It’s an odd quirk of scheduling that the Washington Capitals won’t apologize for, and they shouldn’t. Every opponent during this home stand is playing the second half of back-to-back games and therefore flying in to town very late the night before.

That includes the Tampa Bay Lightning, who got hammered 5-2 at home by the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Addressing reporters Friday morning, coach Guy Boucher sounded less than optimistic.

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“We’ve never been good in two years on a back-to-back on the road,” he said. “We’ve always got our butts kicked.”

Later on, that same path of conversation continued.

“We’re already behind the 8-ball before the game even starts,” Boucher said. “If we would’ve played at least one good game on the road on a back to back, I would say ‘We can do this, we can manage.’ We have never done it. We’ve always got our butts whipped and looked horrible.”

Boucher is right at least about this year: Tampa Bay is 0-2 on the road in the second half of back-to-backs, losing by scoring of 4-1 and 5-1. Last year’s group did enjoy success in these situations, but the 2011-12 Lightning are a fourth-place team wallowing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

And this isn’t the first time – and won’t be the last – that Boucher talked his team down. Consider this from before the start of the Caps-Lightning playoff series.

“For us it’s clear it’s David against Goliath, and we know these guys are gonna be flying and coming out with an energy and they’re on a mission,” he said. “We have to play a near-perfect game to win against those guys and I strongly believe that.”

Boucher continued that through when Tampa Bay had a 2-0 lead in the series en route to an eventual sweep.