Lightning - Devils Preview
Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 10:18 AM
The two teams face off for the fourth and final time this season. The Devils won both games in Tampa Bay on Nov. 19 and Dec. 12, while the Lightning scored a 4-3 victory in New Jersey during the most recent meeting on Feb. 26. Tampa Bay will now look to even up the season series at two games apiece as it concludes a three-game road trip.
The Big Story:
Tampa Bay had its three-game win streak come to an end on Tuesday night, but that didn’t deter Steven Stamkos
from continuing to pad his league-leading goal total. Stamkos scored numbers 54 and 55 on the season, and with six games remaining, has a legitimate shot of becoming the first 60-goal man since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08. Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier
, who has been out since Feb. 18 with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand, is also eyeing a return to the lineup on Thursday against the Devils, as both he and Stamkos will look to get the team back on the winning track before returning home to Tampa Bay.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay completes a three-game road swing in New Jersey Thursday night before returning home for its final pair of home games on Saturday and Monday, respectively. The Lightning come in as winners in three of their past four, with the lone defeat during that stretch coming in their most recent outing on Tuesday night in Boston. Steven Stamkos
scored twice to help the Lightning draw even at 2-2 in the third period, but Boston scored three unanswered goals in the final 8:26 to come away with a 5-2 win. The loss was the Lightning’s 20th in regulation on the road this season, as the team dropped to 12-20-5 away from home in 2011-12 with four of the final six games still left to play coming on the road.
DEVILS – New Jersey completes a two-game homestand before traveling to Carolina on Saturday. The Devils earned a 2-1 victory in the shootout against the Blackhawks on Tuesday to move four points ahead of Ottawa with five games remaining, but the team has faced its fair share of struggles as of late. New Jersey comes in with just two wins in its past six games and has scored more than two goals in a game just once since Mar. 14. The lack of scoring was again the case in its most recent outing, although this time it worked out in the Devils’ favor. Petr Sykora scored the team’s only goal in regulation, while centers Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac had goals in the tiebreaker to help goaltender Martin Brodeur add to his NHL record for both wins and shootout wins.
Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos
notched his league-best 55th goal of the season on Tuesday and now has five goals in his past three games. Martin St. Louis
has also recorded three consecutive multi-point games for the Lightning. For the Devils, Zach Parise has two goals in his past three 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, out for season), Mathieu Garon
(torn groin muscle, out 3-4 weeks), Adam Hall
(upper body, day-to-day), Ryan Shannon
(upper body, out for season), Nate Thompson
(upper body, day-to-day) and Victor Hedman
DEVILS – Anton Volchenkov (lower body) and Henrik Tallinder (blood clot).
“We're trying our best and that's all you can ask. When you look at what we have right now, everyone is giving their all. There's no quit on this team.” – Steven Stamkos
, on his team’s effort in recent games