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Must-win game? Tampa Bay in dire times against Carolina

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 12: Steven Stamkos #91 is congratulated by Ryan Malone #12, Teddy Purcell #16, and Matt Carle #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning after scoring the game-winning goal against the Florida Panthers in the third period at the BB&T Center on March 12, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida. The Lightning defeated the Panthers 3-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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Times are tough for the Tampa Bay Lightning of late. Over their last 10 games, they’re just 2-8-0 and when it seems more games than not are worth three points, coming up with just four points in 10 games is bad news.

The Lightning are seven points back of Winnipeg for eighth place in the Eastern Conference and eight points behind Southeast Division leading Carolina. As Steven Stamkos tells Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune, their game tonight against the Hurricanes is a virtual must-win game.

“We are not in a position to think otherwise right now; we have to get points and that’s the only way we are going to give ourselves a chance to climb back into the race,’' center Steven Stamkos said.

“It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but there are no other options. We have to find ways to win games, at least get a point in games where things are not going as well as you want.’'

Tampa Bay has 21 games left in the season and while that sounds like a lot of time to make up ground, there are those pesky three-point games to contend with from everyone else ahead of them. It’s make it or break it time now.