ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis is trying to treat Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) with the same single-minded focus as the rest of his teammates.
Even if it's harder for him to do that considering the ties he has to this area and the Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis was all business after arriving here with the Rangers on Tuesday.
"Coming back here [in the] regular season, it was definitely a tough thing, I think, just being here for so long, but I think we're well past that now," St. Louis said. "Tampa's always going to be a special place for me and my family, but I'm coming here as a New York Ranger and trying to get through this conference final and get to the Stanley Cup Final."
St. Louis lived in the Tampa area for almost 15 years and played 972 games with the Lightning from 2000-14, crafting what could be a Hall of Fame career in winning the Stanley Cup and Hart Trophy in 2004, as well as the Art Ross Trophy twice.
He at least admitted the obvious Tuesday: That this conference final is a unique experience for him given his history with the Lightning. He was traded for forward Ryan Callahan at last year's NHL Trade Deadline.
"It's probably the only time that I say I have a lot of friends on the other side," St. Louis said. "I've never really had that before. And I guess you accumulate friends when you're somewhere for so long, and it's not just the players. Yeah, that is unique, but when the puck drops, people play hockey, and I don't think that I have some friends on the other side. I'm trying to help my team win."
St. Louis has no goals through 14 games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had two assists in the Rangers' 6-2 loss in Game 2 on Monday.
The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.