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Sharks visit Lightning, try to continue road success

Tampa Bay has won nine of its past 10 at home

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (29-20-5) at LIGHTNING (30-21-4) 

TV: 7:30 p.m. EST, CSN-CA, SUN, NHL.TV 

TAMPA -- The San Jose Sharks bring one of the League's best road records to Amalie Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. 

The Sharks are 18-8-2 on the road tying the Los Angeles Kings (18-9-2) and Boston Bruins (18-6-3) for second-most away wins in the NHL. The League-leading Washington Capitals boast the best road record at 20-6-2. 

Sharks center Dainius Zubrus said the team seems to have increased focus on the road although he said it's tough to identify one particular thing. 

"I think on the road we don't really beat ourselves," Zubrus said. "I don't think we try to be too fancy. If it's not there we simplify it and we just go [forward]. You want to have that sort of mentality in every game but for whatever reason we do that a little bit better on the road." 

Zubrus expects the Lightning to be a desperate team Tuesday after losing three of their past four games. He says the intensity of the games as the Stanley Cup Playoffs approach is what he looks forward to at this point during the season. 

"Every game forward is kind of a bigger game than it was yesterday," Zubrus said. "Every team is fighting for every point possible. The intensity has picked up. Nothing is like a playoff game [but] today is the most important game of the year and two days from now it will be the most important game. It's fun to have that attitude." 

Tampa Bay is 8-3-0 against Pacific Division teams this season, including a 4-3 win against the Sharks on Dec. 5. The Lightning have won nine of their past 10 games at Amalie Arena. 

Center Steven Stamkos said the Sharks have a very difficult power play to defend and they will have to play better than they did in the first meeting. 

"Both teams are in similar situations, we're both battling for playoff spots," Stamkos said. "We have to be very disciplined because we gave up three [power-play goals] last time. We escaped with a win but we have to play a lot better [Tuesday]." 

Goalie Ben Bishop said it's crucial to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday and continue to get points at home. 

"You always want to take care of home ice," Bishop said. "We've done that a lot lately and this is going to be another challenge. They are a good Western Conference team that's playing well. You want to play well every night but especially at home." 

Tampa Bay will be without center Vladislav Namestnikov, who declared himself out of the lineup and said he's still banged up from taking a hit Sunday against the Blues. 

Sharks goalie Martin Jones will be going for his 27th win of the season. 

Here are the projected lineups: 

SHARKS 

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski   

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward   

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels  

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus   

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun   

Paul Martin - Brent Burns   

Matt Tennyson - Dylan DeMelo   

Martin Jones   

Alex Stalock  

Injured: Brenden Dillon (upper body) 

Scratched: Mike Brown, Mirco Mueller  

LIGHTNING 

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan  

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov  

Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - J.T. Brown  

Jonathan Marchessault - Brian Boyle  

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr  

Matthew Carle - Anton Stralman  

Nikita Nesterov - Braydon Coburn  

Slater Koekkoek  

Ben Bishop 

Andrei Vasilevskiy  

Status update: Lightning assistant coach Rick Bowness couldn't confirm lineup changes but it's likely they will dress seven defensemen. He said Koekkoek has to play more. "Slater is going to play and he's got to play," Bowness said. "He's going to play anywhere from 10-12 minutes. He's a first-round pick we have to develop and he's got to play." ... Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said his lineup will be the same as Saturday. ... Lightning coach Jon Cooper missed morning skate with an illness. 

Who's hot: Thornton has a five-game point streak (three goals, four assists). ... Hedman has five points in the past three games (one goal, four assists). 

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