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|NJD||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
The Tampa Bay Lightning nearly made the best of limited opportunities.
Despite being held to just 16 shots on the night, the Lightning took a one-goal lead through almost the full 40 minutes to start the game, including converting on one of two power plays, but in a rare instance, came up on the short end of its third straight one-goal game.
Dominic Moore had a second-period goal and Dwayne Roloson stopped 25 of 27 shots for the Lightning, who fell for just the first time in their last four in a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night.
“It’s what we expected,” Moore said. “These are great games for us to play. They’re a tight defensive team and there weren’t a lot of chances either way, but these games give us a chance to prove ourselves.”
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the go-ahead goal at 10:10 in the final period for New Jersey, who has won 18 of its last 22 games.
Henrik Tallinder also scored for the Devils, who had an eight-game win streak snapped by Tampa Bay in the teams’ most recent meeting last Friday. Martin Brodeur turned in 15 saves.
“They’re a tight checking team,” Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer said. “They’re not going to give you a chance to get the game going. You’re going to have to grind it out because you know they’re not going to give you a lot of opportunities.”
Tampa Bay had won each of its previous two games by one-goal decisions. Wednesday’s loss was the team’s third straight game determined by a 2-1 score.
Kubina’s shot on the power play hit Moore’s skate out in front and opened the scoring to put Tampa Bay up 1-0 at 4:41 of the second.
“We knew that we had to have a good power play tonight,” Kubina said. “I knew Mooresy was in front of the net so I just tried to shoot it around there and hope for a tip-in or a deflection.”
Tallinder knotted things up towards the end of the middle frame. He wristed a shot past Roloson at 18:45 to send a 1-1 tie into the final 20 minutes.
The Lightning lead the Southeast Division with a three-point gap over the Washington Capitals. Wednesday’s loss, however, dropped them one spot in the conference standings down to third place behind Boston, who will wrap up Tampa Bay’s three-game road trip with a final contest Thursday night at TD Garden.
Kovalchuk, who was held without a point for the first time in 13 games in a victory over Florida on Sunday, put home his team-leading 22nd of the season midway through the third period with the eventual game-winner.
Devils forward Travis Zajac got things started when he intercepted a pass in the offensive zone before feeding the Russian winger between the circles. Kovalchuk reared back and fired off a one-timer that beat Roloson into the left corner of the net. Kovalchuk finished the night with two points.
A tight-checking first period was highlighted by some big saves by each team’s goalie. Roloson, who made six saves in the opening frame, made a nifty glove save off a snap shot by Devils rookie Nick Palmieri from between the circles at 3:03 in the first. Brodeur then turned away Nate Thompson on a shorthanded breakaway attempt with his glove at 13:53.
“Our players are really interested in the details and they care about them,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “So when you get into those one-goal games, the guys come together and do their best to come through.”
Martin St. Louis saw his nine-game point streak, the league’s longest active, come to an end.
Tampa Bay moved the NHL’s best record in one-goal games this season to 21-4-7.
|Simon Gagne Hooking against David Clarkson|
|Anssi Salmela Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Steven Stamkos Interference - Goalkeeper against Martin Brodeur|
|Anton Volchenkov Charging against Simon Gagne|
|SA: 27||TOI: 59:31|
|Saves: 25||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .926||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 16||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 15||EV: 13 - 13|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 2|
|SV%: .938||SH: 1 - 1|
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