Lightning at Devils Preview
Saturday, 02.25.2012 / 6:17 PM
It’s the third of four total meetings on the year between the two clubs and the first of two to be played at the Prudential Center. The Devils have taken both matchups this far against the Lightning, earning a pair of consecutive victories at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Nov. 19 and Dec. 12.
The Big Story:
Entering the first contest of a three-game road trip on Thursday, the Lightning found themselves just five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings after stringing together a three-game win streak. Since then, however, Tampa Bay has dropped two straight and hasn’t helped its chances of closing the point gap to remain in the postseason picture. It will look to get back on the winning track against the Devils, who enter Sunday’s afternoon matinee having won four of their past five games.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts wrap up a three-game road trip on Sunday, as well as play in the final half of a back-to-back set that began Saturday with an 8-1 loss to the Penguins. Teddy Purcell
had the lone goal for Tampa Bay and Dwayne Roloson
made 26 saves, but a quick 3-0 first-period lead established by the Penguins in a span of 3:31 set the tone for the remainder of the contest and proved too much to overcome. Tampa Bay outshot Pittsburgh and had its fair share of chances, but couldn’t get past a few bad bounces that saw Steven Stamkos
hit a post, Martin St. Louis
get denied on a breakaway chance and Victor Hedman
get interrupted along the boards by the linesman that led to an easy goal by Penguins center Jordan Staal. Already without Vincent Lecavalier
, matters became worse for the Lightning after Hedman missed the entire third period of the game with an upper body injury.
DEVILS – New Jersey hosts the Lightning in the finale of a two-game home stand on which the Devils are 0-1-0 following Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The defeat was just the first in five games for the Devils, who have won all but three games in the month of February. David Clarkson scored New Jersey’s only goal in the game, bringing the Devils back to within one after being down two goals early on in the contest. That’s all the Devils would get, however, as Vancouver’s Cory Schneider stopped 30 shots in place of Roberto Luongo to earn his seventh straight victory in net.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos
has six goals and 11 points in his past five games, while Teddy Purcell
comes in with points in all but one of his past 10 games. For the Devils, rookie Adam Henrique has a goal and five assists in his past five games.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Dana Tyrell
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Marc-Andre Bergeron
(upper body, day-to-day), Vincent Lecavalier
(non-displaced hand fracture, out indefinitely), Ryan Shannon
(upper body, day-to-day) and Victor Hedman
(upper body, day-to-day).
DEVILS – Adam Larsson (back), Ryan Carter (hand), Henrik Tallinder (blood cot) and Travis Zajac (Achilles’ tendon).
“He's got a lot of pressure. But right now he's taken it to another level. He's not perfect every game, but if you would have asked me before the season how far I would have wanted him to go, he's surpassed that. The biggest strength he's got is that he’s all about the team all the time, not the scoring race, and it's genuine.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, commenting to the Tampa Bay Times about NHL-leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos