Season Series: The Lightning and Devils face off in the first of four meetings on the year. Last season, New Jersey took three of four from Tampa Bay, including one of two at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning, though, have collected at least a point in three of the past four contests at home against the Devils.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay comes in riding a six-game win streak at the Times Forum, which is the longest at home since it won eight in a row from Mar. 17 through Apr. 8, 2006. The Bolts’ current streak also ties Washington for the NHL’s longest at home this season. With 20 points, Tampa Bay enters Saturday’s game just one point out of a three-way tie atop the Southeast Division with both the Capitals and Florida Panthers.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays the middle game of a three-game home stand, which wraps up just two days before Thanksgiving. Following a 7-4 loss to the Panthers in the home opener on Oct. 17, the Lightning have been rolling at the Times Forum ever since. The winning streak at home continued in the team’s last outing on Thursday, as the Bolts knocked off the league’s top team with a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vincent Lecavalier scored twice, and Brett Connolly and Steve Downie added power-play goals in the win, which was backstopped by a 33-save effort from Dwayne Roloson. The Lightning goaltender pitched nearly 57 minutes of shutout hockey, but had the bid ruined with just over three minutes to go in regulation after Tyler Kennedy notched the lone goal for Pittsburgh. Still, it didn’t matter much to Roloson, who won for the fourth straight time at home.
DEVILS – New Jersey visits the Times Forum in the fourth match of a five-game road trip, which wraps up Monday in Sunrise with a tilt against the Panthers. The return of Ilya Kovalchuk from a five-game absence highlighted New Jersey’s best offensive output of the season in a 5-3 win Wednesday in Buffalo. Zach Parise had a goal while shorthanded, then Kovalchuk struck on the power play to give the Devils a quick lead they wouldn't relinquish. Martin Brodeur made a number of highlight-reel stops among his 29 saves and his teammates continued to tack on, with Patrik Elias’ goal early in the final period proving decisive.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has recorded 10 goals and six assists in the past 13 games for the Lightning, and Vincent Lecavalier has seven goals and six assists over that same span. New Jersey’s David Clarkson has goals in consecutive games for the Devils, while Patrik Elias comes in leading the team with 17 points.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve) and Ryan Malone (upper body, day-to-day). DEVILS – Travis Zajac (Achilles), Jacob Josefson (collarbone) and Eric Boulton (hand).
Notable Quotable: “This team is as hard as it gets. But we met the challenge tonight, just like we did against Chicago. We are at home and we’ve been doing this from the beginning. It feels great to win in front of our fans." – Guy Boucher, on his team’s success playing at home
tampabaylightning.com is the official Web site of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning and tampabaylightning.com are trademarks of Lightning Hockey L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Lightning Hockey, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.