The weather in San Jose – balmy temps hovering around 80, clear blue skies and comfortable evenings – has been welcoming to the Tampa Bay Lightning during the team’s three-day stay in the Bay Area metropolis.
The Bolts reception at the SAP Center has been anything but kind, however.
Tampa Bay hasn’t won in San Jose since March 24, 2003, when it scored a 4-1 victory.
The Lightning have lost five straight in the Sharks’ home, and most of those defeats haven’t been close.
“I don’t know what, sometimes we have tough games in different buildings, but we haven’t won here in a long time,” said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who’s been on the ice for three of those five losses. “We just have to go out there and focus on our game and not focus too much about what happened in the past. There’s a lot of new guys on the team now, and obviously we have to bring our A game tonight to have a good chance at winning.”
The Lightning have been outscored 27-7 in their last five in San Jose, including a 7-1 loss during the 2008-09 season and a 7-2 defeat in 2011-12.
“I think every time we play here, we’ve been down three or four goals after the first,” Hedman said. “We have to have a great start to this game tonight. We have to go out there and focus on those first 20 minutes.”
In last season’s 5-1 loss in San Jose, the Bolts trailed 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second.
“If we’re down one or two goals after the first, we just have to make sure we play our best and focus on our game,” Hedman said. “We have the tools and the players that we can come back from being down.
“We want to go out and play a good first period and see where that takes us.”
The Lightning are 4-8-0 with a tie overall at the SAP Center. Three of those victories came the first three times the Bolts played there.
“It’s a fun building to play in, great atmosphere, and it’s always a high-paced game,” Hedman said. “I think that’s going to fit us very well this year.”