TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – With the Stanley Cup Semifinal series tied at 1-1, the Lightning and Islanders now head to New York for games three and four. Something that bodes well for the Bolts is how well they’ve played on the road this postseason.
“I don’t know if there’s something that we do differently,” said Lightning forward Yanni Gourde about playing at a high level in away games. “I think we try to bring the same game that we do at home that we do on the road… As a group we approach the game the same way. We want to have a good start. We want to keep going and play hard and compete and bring our energy level as high as it can. Just go out there and compete. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what we’ve been doing this postseason on the road. We’ve been doing a great job and it and hopefully we can keep building and keep going that way.”
In the first two series of this postseason, the Lightning started on the road and won both games against the Panthers in Sunrise and then also the first two games in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. Overall, in the 6 road games so far, they are (5-1).
“The playoffs are just a different beast,” said Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper. “I think that you have to have a mature team to win on the road. In a weird way, playing last year in the playoffs the whole time on the road—even though there weren’t fans there—it probably helped us in a way. Like I said, you need maturity to play on the road. I used this last night about managing your emotions because whether you’re at home or on the road, you have to take the crowd out of it and focus on your game. These last two playoffs runs we’ve done a really good job of that. And there’s other times too, I think at home at times, I think as a coach, you can get caught chasing match-ups or doing things like that. On the road, it’s just a little bit more free to be honest. A lot of things go into it, but the big thing is the mental make-up of your players and they’ve done a heck of a job this year just overcoming any sort of adversity of playing on the road.”
In their five road wins so far, the Bolts have outscored their opponents 14-7, including a series-clinching shut-out in Raleigh. In three of those games, the Lightning have only allowed one goal.
“I obviously don’t mind to play on the road,” said Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. “It’s just fun when you score a goal and the whole arena is quiet. There’s just something about it. I think we’ve been great on the road so far so hopefully we can do the same thing against the Islanders.”
Game 3 between the Lightning and Islanders is Thursday at 8:00 p.m. at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.