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 tries to overcome road woes

BOSTON — Teddy Purcell said he and his Lightning teammates don't feel any different when they play on the road compared to at home.

And coach Guy Boucher said Tampa Bay's play on the road this season "is not even comparable" to last season, when the team's road record was second worst in the league.

So why is the Lightning still struggling on the road?

"We can't go from being awful on the road last year to all of a sudden be outstanding," Boucher said Friday. "There is a process to it, and we're on the way there. I really believe it."

It is a bit of a tough sell when you consider the results so far.

The Lightning, 6-4-0 overall and 5-1-0 at home, is 1-3-0 on the road. It has been outscored only 11-10 but been outshot in each game and is 1-for-17 on the power play. "We're not off to the start we want," Purcell said.

Worse, there were times during Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Devils that Tampa Bay showed some of the worst characteristics of last season's team, which was 13-22-6 away from home. There were turnovers in the neutral zone and at the opponent's blue line, difficult and unsuccessful entries into the offensive zone, bad passing and missed scoring chances.

But Boucher insisted any simi­larities to last season's team are more perception than fact.

"It's not even comparable to last year's games," he said. "Last year on the road, (we were) awful in our zone; no offense, scared, backcheck bad, all over the place in all situations. That's not what we're looking like. We've got good structure. We're keeping with other teams. We're right there with them."

To Boucher, all it will take for the Lightning to start getting good results — that is, playing at least .500 on the road — is attention to details, or as he described it, "focusing on the process."

That includes understanding how to limit turnovers, especially at the start and end of periods, being more selective when forechecking so as not to leave too much ice undefended and working more efficient offensive-zone entries, all while managing the surges of an opponent pumped up by the home crowd.

A better power play would help as well. Boucher has bemoaned the lack of motion and shots, quite different from the power play Tampa Bay shows at home, where it is No. 1 in the league at 44.4 percent (12-for-27).

"The thing is, we're in these games," Purcell said. "It's not like we're getting blown out. Our focus just isn't there for a full 60 minutes. If we do that for a game, gain some confidence and get on a little path, we'll be fine."

How much time is there before players get frustrated?

"At some point, there has to be some results so we can get something positive to feel good about ourselves and get some confidence," Boucher said. "It's just we can't get that until we take care of the process."

That continues tonight against the 7-1-1 Bruins at TD Garden.

"Are we winning (today)? I don't know, but it has to be part of the process," Boucher said. "Right now we have to stick with it and add on these little details to make us tilt over so we're not at the other end of the spectrum like we were last year."

. Fast facts

Lightning game moves to 7 p.m.

The starting time of today's Lightning game in Boston was moved from 1 to 7 p.m. due to a storm expected to bring up to 30 inches of snow to Boston. It still will air on Sun Sports and 970-AM.

. Fast facts

The disparities

The Lightning's record, averages and special teams stats at home and on the road:

Home Road

5-1-0 Record 1-3-0

5.3 Goals for 2.5

2.7 Goals against 2.8

30.2 Shots on goal23.3

29.7 Shots against 32.8

44% Power play 5.9%

83.3% Penalty kill 77.8%

Lightning tries to overcome road woes 02/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip


    After spliting the four-game series with the Angels to log a winning homestand and get back to .500 at 25-25, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day, country-crossing road trip against the surprising Twins.

    The Twins are leading the AL Central with an impressive 25-18 record, though they have not played …

  2. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety


    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]
  3. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)


    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  4. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  5. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.