The Ottawa Senators have played very well at home over the last month. It's the road where they need to improve their game.
Their current three-game slide away from home began with a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, whom they will visit again Sunday evening.
Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist as Ottawa (17-11-5) scored three times in the third period to extend its season-high home winning streak to four games with Friday's 4-2 victory over San Jose.
"It's a huge win," said defenseman Chris Wideman, who scored his fourth of the season. "Going down to Florida before the (Christmas break). We want to hit that break on all cylinders."
While the Senators have averaged 3.6 goals in winning six of seven at home, they've dropped five of six on the road and been held to a single goal in four of them - including each of the last three. This is the first time they've suffered three straight regulation losses on the road since April 2013.
Craig Anderson has a 1.86 goals-against average in the club's last seven home games but a 3.43 GAA while losing four of his last five on the road.
Despite those road issues, the Senators appear eager to tackle this two-game Florida swing against the Lighting (16-14-3) and Panthers before getting four days off. The trip offers them a chance to build some momentum by turning things around away from home and taking care of the two clubs right behind them in the Atlantic Division standings.
"When you're at home you hope to take care of your points and hope the rest falls into place," said Ryan, who has a 14-game point streak at home but has one goal and three assists in his last seven on the road.
"It's early to be scoreboard watching. ... (But) now we play two very important divisional games before the break. You try not to look too far ahead and just go back to work."
The Senators have been held to six goals while losing three of four to Tampa Bay, which has earned at least one point in seven straight against them after a 4-1 home win in the season's first meeting Dec. 10. Ben Bishop made 30 saves to improve to 7-0-3 against Ottawa with a 2.13 GAA.
Tampa Bay didn't allow the Senators to score on the power play in that contest, part of a four-game stretch where the Lightning's much-maligned unit killed all 10 penalties. However, they've since allowed Toronto and Washington to go 4 of 7.
Two of the Capitals' three goals with the man advantage came during a third period where they scored four times to erase a 3-0 deficit and hand Tampa Bay a 5-3 defeat. The Lightning are last in the Eastern Conference in penalty killing at 76.0 percent.
"That one is a tough one to swallow, because for the most part, I thought 5-on-5 we played extremely well in the first and second periods," forward Steven Stamkos said after the Lightning fell to 5-3-0 in December.
On a positive note, Stamkos snapped a 10-game goal drought with his 12th to tie Nikita Kucherov for the team lead. Stamkos has a point in seven straight home games against Ottawa.