TAMPA – Remember those 1 p.m. start times on those consecutive Saturday's last month? They got the Lightning ready for today's 3 p.m. puck drop against the Devils in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Lightning beat the Flyers 7-6 in a shootout and the Canadians 3-2 in a shootout during those Saturday matinees.
Hockey players are all about the routine, and at least having some familiarity with an afternoon start helps.
It also helped the Lighting won Game 1, 5-2 behind a big night from the Taylor Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point line and a big game by Yanni Gourde. Now, can it do it again for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
One note: The Lightning have gone 2-0 in a playoff series just four time in its first 2-0 playoff series. The Lightning is 14-6 all-time in Game 2s and 6-4 in Game 2s at Amalie Arena. It is 4-4 in Game 2s after opening the series with a win.
Game 1 got a little chippy at the end, with pushing and shoving by both teams after the final horn.
"Yeah, it's the playoffs," D Victor Hedman said. "That's what it is. Everyone is trying to get something good out of games. It's going to get chippy. You look around the league there's been a lot of that in the first game of every series. It's going to be a physical battle out there. There's going to be arguments after whistles. We can't focus on things we can't control. We have to play our game and the way we wanted to play. We have to keep a cool head and play with fire."
Contact Roger Mooney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @rogermooney50