Up 3-0, Lightning will try to finish off win vs. Devils
Friday, 01.08.2010 / 6:00 PM
NHL.comLIGHTNING (16-17-10) at DEVILS (31-10-1)
Big Story --
This is the resumption of a game from Friday night's schedule that had to be postponed with 9:12 remaining in the second period after a bank of lights at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, blew out. The Lightning held a 3-0 lead at the time play was halted, despite the Devils holding a 20-7 advantage in shots.
Tampa Bay made a stopover in Philadelphia on Saturday that resulted in a 4-1 loss. Martin St. Louis
scored with 6:55 remaining to cut a two-goal deficit in half, but Blair Betts added a pair of insurance goals for the Flyers.
While the Lightning now have to give up their Sunday off and return back up the New Jersey Turnpike, they find themselves with a nice cushion against the Devils and less than half of a regulation game remaining in which they must hold it.
Tampa made the most of the few shots it did put on Brodeur, as Steve Downie
's power-play deflection 6:58 into the first period started the scoring. Brandon Bochenski added a power-play goal 5:13 into the second, his first score with the Lightning, and Steven Stamkos
stretched the lead to three at 10:04, less than a minute before the lights went out during a stoppage of play.
Mike Smith stopped all 20 shots he faced Friday. Antero Niittymaki started Saturday for Tampa.
This will be the biggest challenge the Eastern Conference leaders have faced this season -- a three-goal deficit and less than 30 minutes in which to make it up. But at least New Jersey has a bit of a positive momentum coming in, as the Devils went to Montreal on Saturday and defeated the Canadiens 2-1 in overtime.
set up Travis Zajac
for a first-period goal that opened the scoring. Ex-Devil Scott Gomez would tie the score for Montreal, but New Jersey won its first OT game of the season in wild fashion as Parise scored on a breakaway with 2:22 remaining. Parise had actually broken his stick while in the defensive zone and sped to the bench to get a new piece of lumber. By the time he had it, the Devils had gained possession of the puck so Parise banged his new stick on the ice and Zajac hit him with a long lead pass. Parise beat Jaroslav Halak, making a winner of Martin Brodeur
, who finished with 29 saves one night after stopping just four of seven shots by Tampa.
It will be interesting to see if Brodeur finishes the game against the Lightning and plays for a third consecutive day. Yann Danis, the Devils' backup, has appeared in just four games this season, with three starts and one relief outing.