newjerseydevils.com – A best-of-seven series isn’t over until one team wins four times, but it’s certainly better to go ahead by a game than it is to fall behind.
The Devils find themselves with a 1-0 series lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series after an exhilarating 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Zach Parise recorded his first career two-goal playoff game and Scott Gomez erupted for three assists, as New Jersey flexed its firepower with multi-point performances from five different players.
Patrik Elias and Brian Rafalski each registered a power-play goal and an assist, while Jamie Langenbrunner added two helpers, including the primary assist on Parise’s go-ahead goal in the third period.
“Jamie made a great play in our zone,” coach Lou Lamoriello said after the game. “Then when he came out, he made a great soft pass and Zach, who is a very skilled player, came from the off side and picked the corner. He’s done that all year long for us.”
Elias, meanwhile, moved past Claude Lemieux with his 35th career playoff goal, becoming the new franchise leader.
Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for his 90th playoff win, joining Patrick Roy and Grant Fuhr as the only goaltenders in league history to have won 90 or more postseason games. Brodeur now needs three playoff victories to pass Fuhr for sole possession of second place on the all-time list. Roy holds the record with 151 victories.
A one-game lead might seem insignificant, but the Devils’ recent history suggests otherwise. New Jersey is 1-2 in its last three playoff series, and each time, the winner of game one has advanced to the next round.
The Devils improved to 12-5 in playoff series-opening games at home, and have won nine-straight series dating back to 1999 in which they have taken a 1-0 lead. The team won three of four series openers en route to its 2003 Stanley Cup Championship.
Game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at Continental Airlines Arena will have a special start time of 7 p.m. this Saturday (FSN NY, WFAN 660 AM).
Tickets for individual playoff games are available at the arena box office, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
WFAN’s Steve Somers will be broadcasting live from the concourse at Gate A on Saturday up until Devils’ pre-game at 6:50 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early at the arena grounds to take part in pre-game festivities before each and every playoff home game, weather permitting.