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Tampa Bay Lightning
New Jersey
Devils
Tampa Bay
Lightning

26 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NJD
TBL
game recap

Devils 3, Lightning 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Devils 3, Lightning 2
New Jersey Devils 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -A bounce here, a bounce there. The way Martin Brodeur sounded, the New Jersey Devils were fortunate to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In reality, the three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie was the difference in the first-round Eastern Conference series that the Devils won Sunday with Brodeur stopping 32 shots and Brian Gionta scoring two goals in a 3-2 victory.

Faced with criticism after playing poorly in the first three games, the 34-year-old goaltender reverted to the form that helped him set a regular-season record for victories and win three straight to end the best-of-seven matchup in six games.

"We won, and it doesn't matter if you play well or not," Brodeur said. "It's a fine line in the playoffs - winning and losing, and how somebody performs - because the luck factor is such a big factor."

Brian Rafalski also scored and Patrick Elias assisted on all three of New Jersey's goals. The Devils advanced to the East semifinals against the Ottawa Senators, who eliminated Pittsburgh in five games.

Brad Richards scored two power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which was shutout by Brodeur in Game 5 after scoring three goals in each of the first four games and making the New Jersey star look nothing like a goalie that won a league-record 48 games this season.

Brodeur's performance in the first three raised questions about his vulnerability. He rebounded from squandering a two-goal lead in the second period of Game 4, which New Jersey won in overtime, then stopped 31 shots for his 22nd career playoff shutout Friday night.

"It wasn't like he was playing horrible. It was just some bounces. The two game-winning goals that they did get came off shin pads," New Jersey's John Madden said. "It wasn't like everybody was out of position or anything like that. You've got to keep plugging away."

That's exactly what Brodeur did.

"When you've been through it, you just put your head down and work harder. I can't make the bounces go my way if I don't believe that I'm able to stop the puck," Brodeur said. "I know when it doesn't go well, I'll get that criticism."

Brodeur's 93rd postseason win moved him ahead of Grant Fuhr and into second place on the career playoff list behind Patrick Roy's 151.

"I don't think he was totally on his game through the first four (games)," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "The opportunity we had in overtime, we didn't get it done. But you knew he was going to come up sooner or later, and I think the last two games he was the difference."

Despite being shutout in Game 5, the Lightning outshot the Devils 31-14 and carried the same mind-set into Sunday. They dominated early again, making Brodeur work to keep New Jersey from falling behind.

Gionta's power-play goal snapped a scoreless tie late in the opening period and Rafalski's second goal of the playoffs made it 2-0. Gionta's shot from the left circle gave the Devils a 3-1 lead just 39 seconds after Tampa Bay broke through against Brodeur for the first time since the second period of Game 4.

Gionta, who had five goals in the series, was aided when Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba got tangled up with Elias in front of the net and wound up knocking over goalie Johan Holmqvist, who was sprawled on his back when the shot whizzed past.

Richards, who teamed with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis to score 11 of Tampa Bay's 14 goals in the series, trimmed the Lightning's deficit to 3-2 with his second power-play goal with just over 9 minutes remaining in the second period.

Tampa Bay outshot the Devils 10-7 in the third, but was unable to capitalize on its only power-play opportunity of the period to finish 2-for-6 with a man advantage. New Jersey converted its first two power-play opportunities and finished 2-for-4.

Holmqvist made 23 saves, including stops on point-blank shots by Elias, Zach Parise and Jay Pandolfo to keep the outcome in doubt until the final horn.

"They're moving on and we're not," St. Louis said. "It's an empty feeling and it's disappointing, but we have to remember how this feels."

Notes: The first team to score won each game of the series. ... New Jersey D Colin White did not make the trip, missing his fourth consecutive game with a back injury. ... Lightning RW Ruslan Fedotenko was a healthy scratch after dressing for Game 5 but not playing. He was benched because of a lack of production. He scored one goal in his last 29 games. ... The Lightning were eliminated in the first round for the second straight season. A year ago, they lost to Ottawa in five games.

scoring summary
1st Period
14:29
NJD
PPG - Brian Gionta (4) ASST: Patrik Elias (4), Brian Rafalski (5)
1 - 0 NJD
2nd Period
01:21
NJD
PPG - Brian Rafalski (2) ASST: Patrik Elias (5), Scott Gomez (6)
2 - 0 NJD
05:10
TBL
PPG - Brad Richards (2) ASST: Filip Kuba (3), Vinny Prospal (4)
2 - 1 NJD
05:49
NJD
Brian Gionta (5) ASST: Patrik Elias (6), Scott Gomez (7)
3 - 1 NJD
10:46
TBL
PPG - Brad Richards (3) ASST: Filip Kuba (4), Vincent Lecavalier (2)
3 - 2 NJD
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
04:38
NJD
Sergei Brylin  Hooking
13:36
NJD
Scott Gomez  Roughing
13:36
TBL
Shane O'Brien  Roughing
13:36
TBL
Shane O'Brien  Roughing
18:28
NJD
Patrik Elias  Roughing
18:28
NJD
Brian Rafalski  Hooking
18:28
TBL
Paul Ranger  Roughing
19:27
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier  Cross checking
19:27
TBL
Martin St. Louis  Unsportsmanlike conduct
19:27
NJD
John Madden  Unsportsmanlike conduct
2nd Period
01:08
TBL
Jason Ward  Hooking
02:28
NJD
Brian Rafalski  Hooking
04:47
NJD
Scott Gomez  Too many men on the ice
10:38
NJD
Zach Parise  Tripping
16:30
NJD
Travis Zajac  Diving
16:30
TBL
Shane O'Brien  Tripping
3rd Period
01:09
NJD
Jay Pandolfo  Hi-sticking
06:17
TBL
Shane O'Brien  Cross checking
goalie stats
Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur
SA: 34TOI: 60:00
Saves: 32EV: 22 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 11
SV%: .941SH: 1 - 1
Johan Holmqvist
SA: 26TOI: 58:56
Saves: 23EV: 21 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 4
SV%: .885SH: 0 - 0