Published November 20, 2014
After splitting the first two tests of an epic nine-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks will travel to the Sunshine State for tonight's battle against the Lightning at Tampa Times Forum.
Thanks to a tennis tournament currently taking place at HP Pavilion, the Sharks have been pushed to the road for the majority of February. San Jose began its swing this past Sunday in St. Louis and the club won't play at home again until Feb. 28 against Philadelphia.
After dropping a 3-0 decision to the Blues, San Jose bounced back with Monday's victory in Washington. The 5-3 decision over the Capitals was just the second win in five games for the Sharks, who are currently three points ahead of Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division.
"The message changed, and it was up to them to bounce back and respond the way they did," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.
Joe Thornton added three helpers and Thomas Greiss stopped 39-of-42 shots for his third win in four starts. The victory also improved San Jose's road record this season to 13-8-4.
The Sharks have dominated the Lightning in recent years, winning two straight and six of the last seven meetings in this series. San Jose posted a 7-2 home win over Tampa back on Dec. 21 with Logan Couture scoring twice for the Sharks in that lopsided victory.
San Jose had won three straight in Tampa until a 5-2 loss at the Forum on Oct. 22, 2009.
The Lightning have lost two straight and are just 2-3-2 in February after closing January on a season-high five-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay, which is 15-9-2 at home compared to a 9-17-4 road record, began a four-game homestand on Tuesday and was dealt a 4-0 setback by the Ottawa Senators. Jason Spezza notched a hat trick for the visitors and Craig Anderson made 28 saves to record the win.
Mathieu Garon allowed three goals on 26 shots in the loss, which was Tampa's first shutout defeat since dropping a 3-0 decision in St. Louis on Nov. 12.
"I think we missed a lot of opportunities that could have gotten everyone rolling. We definitely got a lot of chances to get back in the game," Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier said.
Tampa Bay is tied with Buffalo for 13th in the East and is 10 points out of a playoff spot.