When the New Jersey Devils won their first Stanley Cup under Jacques Lemaire in 1995, they won 10 of 11 road playoff games in a dominant performance. With Lemaire back behind the Devils' bench, New Jersey is once again making life miserable for opponents on their home ice.
David Clarkson scored in the fourth round of the shootout Saturday afternoon and New Jersey beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 at the St. Pete Times Forum for its seventh consecutive road win to begin the season.
That ties the Devils (8-4-0) for the second-longest road win streak from the start of a season. Buffalo set the League record in 2006-07 with 10 straight victories.
"It means that we're playing well on the road and gives us confidence going into any building," forward Dainius Zubrus said.
The Devils' next task is to improve at home. They take a 1-4-0 record into Wednesday's game against Washington at the Prudential Center.
"We've played pretty good the whole time on the road since the start of the season, but I thought tonight we played such a tight game," Lemaire said. "We didn't give much to their top guns. They have good talent, they've got good skills, and if you give them room you're in trouble."
Martin Brodeur took a shutout into the third period for the second time in eight days, but his bid to tie Terry Sawchuk's career record of 103 ended 4:34 into the third when Stamkos threw the puck at the net from the right boards. It deflected off the stick of Jamie Langenbrunner of the Devils, went between the legs of defenseman Bryce Salvador and between the pads of Brodeur -- extending Stamkos' goal-scoring streak to five games.
After the first seven skaters in the shootout came up empty, Clarkson was tabbed by Lemaire to take his first career attempt in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. He used a backhand move to beat Antero Niittymaki, who turned in a brilliant effort with 37 saves, including a stop of Langenbrunner on a first-period penalty shot.
"Nitty grabbed a point for us," Tampa coach Rick Tocchet said. "Three, four guys didn't come to play. You get flat. Niittymaki was incredible."
The Lightning (4-3-4), who have not scored in 14 shootout attempts this season, used a bit of an unorthodox lineup, starting out with defenseman Andrej Meszaros and checking center Jeff Halpern, both of whom missed the net. Stamkos also missed the net on his try before Brodeur made a save on Vincent Lecavalier prior to Clarkson's game-winner.
"I think with (Tampa) having so much talent, I was surprised to see some of the first ones, but these ones are the hardest," Brodeur said. "You don't have a book on them, you don't know what they're doing much because they don't do it that often. I just had to make one save on four shots -- they missed three times on the net, so we'll take that."
Following a scoreless first period in which the Devils held a 13-3 advantage in shots, they took a 1-0 lead in the second when Zajac scored on the rebound of Mark Fraser's shot at 50 seconds. They outshot the Lightning 15-6 in the period, but Niittymaki allowed nothing else, allowing Tampa to draw even in the third and come away with a point.
"He made some unbelievable saves," Brodeur said.
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com
Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report
|Matt Walker Throwing stick against David Clarkson|
|Zach Parise Slashing against Matt Walker|
|Andrew Peters Interference against Zenon Konopka|
|Steve Downie Fighting (maj) against Bryce Salvador|
|Bryce Salvador Fighting (maj) against Steve Downie|
|James Wright Boarding against Cory Murphy|
|David Clarkson Hooking against Ryan Malone|
|Vincent Lecavalier Tripping against Mike Mottau|
|Zenon Konopka Interference against Bryce Salvador|