Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning seeks to snap 4-game home losing streak

For those who prefer to see the glass half full, there is a way to spin the Lightning's four-game home losing streak so it doesn't seem so bad.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper tried that Friday after the team's optional practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, when he pointed out that two of the losses were by shootout, so points were gained for the regulation ties.

Fine, but there still is this bottom line.

"You never want to lose that many at home," defenseman Radko Gudas said.

"No, you don't," Cooper finally admitted, and added, "It's tough."

It's tough because the Lightning had been taking care of business at home with a 14-3-1 start and further solidified itself as an Eastern Conference contender by winning eight of its past 10 on the road.

It's not like the bottom has dropped out — each home loss was by one goal — but as Cooper said, "The problem is now we're using up a little bit of our kitty, so we need to fill the winning jar back up. We can't be dropping these points at home."

So, why hasn't the Tampa Bay Times Forum lately been home sweet home?

Certainly, circumstances have not been kind.

The 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens on Dec. 28 and the 4-3 loss to the Rangers the next day were the first games after a three-day holiday break in which teams weren't allowed to skate.

The 4-3 loss to the Capitals on Jan. 9 was the only home game in an eight-game stretch. And Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders was the first game at home after that eight-game sojourn ended with three straight on the road.

But players and coaches also indicated subtle differences have surfaced between the way Tampa Bay lately has played on the road and at home.

On the road, defenseman Victor Hedman said, the team has been "really focused" on sticking to its system and structure.

"We really follow the game plan," he said.

At home, Cooper acknowledged, "human nature" sometimes takes over.

"They try to impress more at home," Cooper said of all teams. "They're trying hard for the fans. And I truly believe the harder you try, sometimes you get out of the structure zone, or the comfort zone, you should be playing in, and things don't go your way."

"I don't know if it's trying to impress them," center Tyler Johnson said of the fans, "but for some reason you might try to make that nice play instead of just getting shots."

"On the road, it's a more meat-and-potatoes game," Johnson added. "You just grind. We've just got to do that more."

Especially today against the Sharks, one of the Western Conference's best teams.

"We just need to make sure we're 100 percent ready at game time," Hedman said. "The way we've been playing on the road has been tremendous. If we keep playing the same way, we're going to find a way to win at home. We want to win in front of our fans."

Lightning seeks to snap 4-game home losing streak 01/17/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 18, 2014 4:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.