Jim Burton knows what's at stake this weekend.
After enduring one of the worst five-game stretches in team history, the Augusta Lynx coach said Tuesday that his job could be riding on the outcome of games Friday and Saturday at home against Charlotte and Columbia.
"Anytime you lose like we have, you have to look at everything," said Burton, whose Lynx dropped five straight on the road and were outscored 29-6. "I'm not thinking I'm in trouble yet, but I know we have to get this thing going right away."
Despite an influx of young talent from the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, the Lynx are off to a 3-7-0 start and stuck in last place in the Southeast Division.
Though Burton believes the talent is there to compete, he bemoaned the team's inability to generate offense and its overdependence on rookie goalies Geoff Faulkner and Josh Blackburn.
The Lynx rank 26th out of 27 teams in offense, averaging two goals a game, and are 25th in goals-against, allowing 4.30 goals per contest.
"The goaltending is something we have to address," Burton said.
For Burton, the delay in goalie Zac Bierk's arrival has hurt most. Burton was counting heavily on Bierk, who finished second in the ECHL with a .925 save percentage last season. The former NHL goalie remains with AHL Springfield because of injury problems in the Coyotes system.
Burton is hoping for help from goalie Colin Zulianello, who is expected to return this weekend after missing the first month with a groin pull.
Meanwhile, special teams woes have also contributed to the rough start. The Lynx are last in the ECHL in penalty killing and 26th on the power play.
"I don't think it's fair to blame the goalies," Lynx veteran Jim Shepherd said. "There's a lot of factors right now. I just don't think we're mentally prepared."
BRUISED: Lynx winger Tyson Holly put his body on the line in Friday's loss at Pee Dee, and he has the battle scar to prove it.
Holly suffered a deep bruise to his hip and groin after blocking a slap shot by a Pee Dee player. He sat out Saturday's loss at Roanoke and hasn't skated since.
"The shot must have gotten in between my pads," Holly said. "I'm lucky it wasn't worse."
Doctors feared Holly suffered a fractured hip, but the X-rays came back negative.
"It's day-to-day right now," Holly said.
ONE-TIMERS: Installation of league-mandated safety netting began Tuesday at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Lynx owner Peter Gillespie said the netting will be in place by Friday. ... Burton said Tuesday that he contacted former Lynx tough guy Jessie Rezansoff, who is playing for a semipro team in Quebec about the possibility of returning, but that Rezansoff said no thanks. Burton added that he asked Rezansoff about the availability of former Lynx captain Dan Kopec, who also is playing in Quebec, but that Kopec was also not interested.
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