After becoming the final team to lose back to back games on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to regain some early season momentum as they take on the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. It will be vital for the Lightning to pick up points in these final West Coast games after dropping the first two on the road trip. Although it will not be easy against the very talented Sharks, the Lightning will look to be the first team in the Eastern Conference to reach 30 points on the season. In its last trip to San Jose, the Lightning were never even competitive in a 7-2 blowout loss.
Head coach Jon Cooper announced at Wednesday’s team practice the switching of a couple top lines after the Lightning have seemed out of sync the last couple outings. Valtteri Filppula has moved up in the ranks to be with team captain Marty St. Louis and Teddy Purcell. Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop will also look to get back on track after allowing five or more goals in his last two starts on the trip.
Looking for its seventh road win of the season, the Lightning will no have easy task in going up against Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau of the Sharks. San Jose has posted a 5-1-2 record on home ice and an overall 13-3-5 record on the year. For the Lightning to be successful against an elite Sharks team it will have to maintain its “defense first” mindset. San Jose is third in the NHL in offense and it will be key for the Lightning to sustain pressure on such a dynamic offense.