NEWARK, N.J. – Karri Ramo made 31 saves for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but a late goal by Patrik Elias gave the New Jersey Devils the extra point on Friday night. In the final game of the season series between the clubs, the Devils squeaked out a 2-1 overtime decision against the Lightning.
Michel Ouellet scored the lone Tampa Bay goal as the team closed out a pair of back-to-back road games.
Early in the opening period Ramo held off a shot by Elias off the left side boards. The Lightning responded with a chance at the opposite end as Nick Tarnasky put a shot on goaltender Martin Brodeur. From a few feet above the goal line Tarnasky snapped the puck on net, but Brodeur squared up to the shot for the save.
Within minutes Martin St. Louis stole the puck in the defensive zone before passing ahead to Vincent Lecavalier. The Tampa Bay center carried the puck into the zone for a shot from the left faceoff circle, but Brodeur made a pad save.
Posting his team-leading 28th goal of the season, Zach Parise opened the scoring at 12:16 of the first period. After Elias backhanded a pass through the slot, Parise settled the bouncing puck to snap a shot from the left faceoff circle. The shot snuck to the right short side against Ramo to give New Jersey the lead.
Despite the goal Ramo followed up the play with a handful of quick saves against the Devils. After stopping a right-point slap shot by Travis Zajac, Ramo made a pair of pad saves as Dainius Zubrus and Mike Rupp tried to connect on the rebounds.
Moments later Junior Lessard made a blueline pass to Alexandre Picard, who slapped a shot on Brodeur from the point. Craig MacDonald tipped the attempt on goal but Brodeur kicked the puck away.
As the Lightning skated with the man advantage during the second period, St. Louis skated the puck into the zone before dropping a pass to Lecavalier. Brodeur made a kick save on the play after Lecavalier fired a wrist shot from the right wing circle.
Ramo responded with a right pad save for Tampa Bay, stopping Arron Asham after the New Jersey forward switched to a backhand after cutting to the front of the net.
The Devils continued to pressure Ramo on the power play midway through the period. Making a centering pass from the goal line to the right of Ramo, Brian Gionta found Sheldon Brookbank open as he went to the net from the point. Although Brookbank got off a shot behind the play, Ramo quickly moved across his crease to stop the puck.
However, Tampa Bay made the most of their next power play when Ouellet scored to tie the game at one.
Dan Boyle gets checked to the ice by the New Jersey Devils' Mike Rupp in the third period on Friday. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
With less than three minutes remaining in the second period, Dan Boyle sent a pass from the right point to the left faceoff circle. Ouellet fired a shot from the left faceoff dot, beating Brodeur through the five hole.
The goal gave Ouellet his second goal in consecutive games. The Lightning winger has posted five goals during his previous seven outings, including points in six of those contests. Ouellet has recorded seven points during the stretch.
Early in the third Brodeur made a pair of saves as Tampa Bay skated with the power play. After holding off a tipped attempt by Mathieu Darche from in close, Brodeur blocked a slap shot by Boyle from the point.
Ramo responded with strong saves through the remainder of the game, stopping 14 Devils shots in the third.
Skating with the man advantage, Gionta picked up a loose puck in front of the net before spinning around for a quick shot in the goal mouth. Gionta put a shot to the five hole, but Ramo blocked the attempt.
Later in the frame Zubrus held on to the puck before dishing a pass from the right side boards. Zubrus fed Rupp the puck as he crashed towards the goal, but Ramo made the save on the redirected shot.
As the teams skated into overtime tied at one, Elias converted an odd-man rush to post the winner with 58 seconds remaining in overtime. After picking off the puck in the Lightning zone, Elias skated in against Ramo with Parise on the left wing. The Devils winger wristed a shot to the glove side for his 18th goal, his eighth game-winner, this season.
Elias finished the game with one goal and one assist, leading all skaters with nine shots.
Ramo stopped 31 of 33 shots in the contest, falling to 2-3-0 in his previous five starts. The Tampa Bay goalie entered the game with a 2.26 goals-against average in his previous four games.
The Lightning held the Devils scoreless through five power plays.
Tampa Bay continues their road trip on Sunday, March 9 for an afternoon match-up (3:00p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning will close out a stretch of three road games in four nights with their lone match-up of the season against the Blue Jackets.
1 - 0 NJD
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NJD