The Devils head out on a three-game road trip starting in Toronto on Tuesday. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. ET.
The win came with the team having found out that the Devils had parted ways with General Manager Ray Shero (Read Feature Here).
The team's strong leadership core helped the team to overcome the news heard a few hours before puck drop and focus for a tough opponent.
"I don't think anyone saw it coming, especially so close to game time," Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine stated. "We have really good leadership on this team and that's what you need in a time like this. Guys made sure everyone was ready for this game and it showed."
Nasreddine added that he was very impressed by the performance of Louis Domingue, whose 26 saves against his former team came on the heels of shutting down the NHL's best in Washington the night before.
"I talked to him after the game and you could see that his emotions were running high. I think he had been waiting awhile to get a real shot. Back-to-back games are not easy for a goalie. He stood tall in both games," Nasreddine said.
Coleman agreed with his coach.
"Louis' been outstanding. You've got to have good goaltending to win in this League. We're getting it from a couple guys right now and if they stay strong we're in good shape."
Domingue was pumped after the win against his former team.
"It feels like I just won my first game all over again. It's awesome," he said.
The Devils had an early power play after Yanni Gourde took a penalty for high-sticking and peppered four shots on Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney but could not convert. A second power play midway through the period similarly produced no results.
Nikita Kucherov got a shot off on a partial break and Louis Domingue was sharp in making the stop with seven minutes to go in the first. Andy Greene hooked him a little and it was enough to draw a two-minute minor and Tampa Bay's first power play of the night. Devils PK did a good job killing that one off.
The power plays continued to roll in as Ondrej Palat dumped Nico Hischier late in the first but Devils man advantage failed to convert once again.
After one, shots on goal were 11-9 for the Bolts.
In the opening minute of the second, Tampa Bay scored the game's first goal. Tyler Johnson was all alone in front of the net and fired it blocker side on Domingue to put the Bolts up by one.
Less than three minutes later, Andy Greene's blast from the left point beat McElhinney to get the Devils back on even terms.
"We played pretty well. Those are two top teams, two teams that are going to go on a long run in the spring. We played a good system and played a really solid team game," said Greene. "When we manage the puck well, we force teams into tough positions with our speed."
Midway through the second, the Devils moved in front for the first time in the game. Travis Zajac tipped a Nikita Gusev point shot in front to put the Devils in the lead.
After two, shots on goal were 20-16 for the Lightning.
Domingue made a big stop on Stamkos and coming back the other way, Miles Wood had a great chance and McElhinney denied him with both saves coming six minutes into the final frame.
Nikita Gusev made an unbelievable play with 8:21 to go in the third, scoring on a backhand but it was disallowed. Through a coach's challenge, it was ruled that Blake Coleman had run goaltender interference.
"Coley had his foot in the crease which prevented the goalie from doing his job. I was a little surprised they made that call that quickly but it is what it is," shrugged Nasreddine.
"That was a heck of a goal by Goose. I owe him dinner I guess," Coleman laughed.
Miles Wood added an empty netter for the second straight night to seal it 3-1.
"Back to back, two really good teams. This Tampa Bay team winning 10 in a row. I thought we had a solid effort," said Nasreddine.
"Great defensive effort, commitment by the whole team."