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Devils hope to rebound against Tampa Bay @NHLdotcom

DEVILS (0-2-0) AT LIGHTNING (0-1-1)

Season series: The Devils swept last year's season series, beating the Lightning four times. But they weren't all easy. Two of the victories came by way of the shootout, and another came in overtime. Tampa Bay's last win against New Jersey came on Oct. 4, 2007.

Big story: The Devils are off to their worst start in eight seasons after losing to their two biggest rivals to start the season. They fell 5-2 to the Flyers and 3-2 to the Rangers, both games at home. The Lightning have only picked up one point in their first two games, a regulation loss to the Thrashers and a shootout loss to the Hurricanes. Tonight's game will be Tampa's home opener.

Team scope:

Devils: Two games into the season, and the power play has been a problem. Failing to convert with the extra man in the first two games -- including three 5-on-3s -- has proven costly.

"We don't shoot the puck enough," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We're actually killing our own power play at times."

Martin Brodeur has allowed eight goals through two games, but no one is worried about the slow start. "He'll bounce back," said defenseman Paul Martin. "He knows what it takes to be ready to play and he makes a lot of big saves and it's up to us to help him and not give up as many quality chances."

Lightning: It's been a little bit of everything in Tampa's first two losses. In the opener against the Thrashers, the defense was porous in allowing six goals. In the shootout loss to Carolina, Mike Smith allowed just the one goal, but the offense failed to show up in the 2-1 setback.

"It's a little mental right now," coach Rick Tocchet said. "You've just got to free your mind."

Who's hot: With two winless teams squaring off, it's hard to find a lot of players who are heating things up. Devils winger David Clarkson had a two-assist night against the Rangers on Monday, including a fantastic no-look pass to set up a power-play goal by Travis Zajac. On the Tampa side, Martin St. Louis had two goals in the season opener and an assist against Carolina on Wednesday.

Injury report: There are no new major injuries to report for either team.

Stat pack: Going back to last season, the Lightning have allowed at least 30 shots in five or their last six games. The Devils' Zach Parise, who had 45 goals and 94 points last season, has just one assist and four shots on goal this season.

Puck drop: Many thought with the departures of Brian Gionta and John Madden this offseason that the Devils would fall off in 2009-10. An 0-3 start would lend credibility to the doomsayers. The Lightning were expected to rebound after a nightmarish 2008-09 campaign, making tonight's game in front of the home fans all the more important.

-- Dave Lozo,

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