TAMPA — Constantly flying west for road games can be taxing for any East Coast team.
“But we adapt pretty well,” Lightning F Mathieu Joseph said.
Tampa Bay’s bye week begins today after Saturday night’s 6-3 win against the Sharks at Amalie Arena, and with the bye week leading into the All-Star break, that adds up to 10 days off before the Lightning’s next game. The break couldn’t come at a better time for a team that has spent a lot of its season out West.
Since the season started, the Lightning has had more than half its games on the road (about 52 percent).
It has at least gotten the hardest of its travel out of the way. Of its 24 road games, 17 have been in a different time zone. Only one more game in St. Louis will take Tampa Bay outside of the Eastern time zone for the rest of the regular season. That means less time on a plane and more time at home.
Joseph said Saturday that traveling so often can be difficult for everyday things such as sleeping but it’s just an adjustment the team has to make.
Last month the Lightning finished a four-game road trip (3-0-1) three days before Christmas, only to have another four-game road stint starting on New Year’s Eve.
“It’s been tiring,” F J.T. Miller said. “It’s kind of like a Western (Conference) schedule a little bit.”
Miller said that front-loading the season with long trips might be worth the easier travel down the stretch.
Joseph is just looking forward to staying in the same time zone.
Contact Mari Faiello at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @faiello_mari.