TAMPA — Before the Lightning left for its first road trip of the season— a five-game, 10-day trek out West — the team talked about the importance of getting points early in the fall.
"To take six out of 10, we'll take that," associate coach Rick Bowness said after Monday's practice.
The Lightning will try to build on that performance tonight when it hosts the Coyotes to begin a four-game homestand.
The first thing the team will try to bring back to Amalie Arena is the chemistry gained on the road, starting with last Thursday's team dinner.
"Just getting on the road like that early, it's great for team chemistry to get to know the guys," defenseman Mark Barberio said.
Bowness' biggest takeaway from the long West swing was seeing how some of the younger players adjusted to the NHL lifestyle.
After stressing work ethic and preparation during training camp, the time on the road forced the players to get a feel for the travel, different venues and uncommon opponents.
"Part of being a good pro is being consistent," Bowness said. "For the young players, it was certainly an eye opener. And for the older players, you're seeing teams that you haven't seen a lot of. It's fun to play against those teams and see how the West plays."
The Lightning got a rough lesson with that on Saturday in a 7-2 loss to Minnesota that the team has already tried to flush from its memory.
"It's how we handle it," Bowness said. "We want to handle those situations better, for sure, so they don't run up seven on us. But you move on."
And that means moving on from a successful road trip and trying to replicate the success at home.
After tonight, the Lightning faces a Flyers team that made the playoffs last year, a Washington team tied for second in the Metropolitan Division and the Flames, who the Lightning beat in overtime last week behind a late offensive flurry.
"It's huge," Barberio said of the homestand. "It's hard to win on the road, but then when you come home, you've got to make sure you take care of business. You've got to make your home ice a really hard place for away teams to come in and pick up points."
Ice chips: Forwards Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault were reassigned to AHL Syracuse, the team announced Monday. Center Alex Killorn and right wing J.T. Brown practiced Monday and could both return tonight from upper-body injuries. "We certainly hope so," Bowness said. … Touted left wing Jonathan Drouin is expected to make his home debut tonight. He missed the opening homestand with a thumb injury but had a goal and two assists in four games on the road.
Contact Matt Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.