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Devils, Lightning set to resume on Sunday

by Mike G. Morreale

"Things happen and obviously the Devils feel terrible about it.  It's out of their control. It's tough on the fans, tough on players and coaches. But we'll move forward. I think it's only logical that the game be picked back up from where it was with the score and, in order to maintain the integrity of the game, the sooner the better to be honest with you." -- Lightning GM Brian Lawton

That bank of lights at the Edison Place end of Prudential Center that had run out of juice on Friday night is back on, and so is the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and host New Jersey Devils.

The NHL announced on Saturday that the game between the teams -- postponed on Friday following a 1 hour and 42 minute delay because of a faulty circuit breaker that turned the lights off behind Devils goalie Martin Brodeur with 9:12 remaining in the second period -- will resume Sunday at 6 p.m. (ET). Doors will open at 5 p.m.

The game will pick up with 9:12 remaining in the second and the Lightning holding a 3-0 lead, despite being outshot, 20-7. All tickets from Friday's contest will be honored at Sunday's continuation and fans will be entitled to a free ticket to a future game, according to a statement posted on the Devils' Web site.

Both teams are in action on Saturday. The Devils are in Montreal and the Lightning in Philadelphia. Because Friday's game happened to be the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season, it certainly made sense for the clubs to return on Sunday when travel was still manageable and not a single event was scheduled at Prudential Center.

The Devils travel to Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers on Tuesday before heading to Phoenix on Thursday. Tampa Bay was to have three days off after Saturday's meeting with the Flyers before returning home Tuesday to play host to the Washington Capitals.

Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said through a team spokesperson Saturday morning that repairs on the faulty circuit breaker were completed at 1 a.m. but that the exact cause of the problem had still not been determined.

"It's still a work in progress to find out exactly the cause and effect, if it was more than originally reported or not," Lamoriello said.

The college basketball game slated for 6 p.m. on Saturday at Prudential Center between Seton Hall University and Cincinnati went on as scheduled. It was reported that electricians didn't resolve the lighting issue until 11:35 p.m. on Friday and repairs were not completed until 1 a.m. An official announcement by the Devils to the several thousand fans who awaited a decision was made at approximately 10:07 p.m. (EST) on Friday.

The fact the game will resume only two days after its originally scheduled date is just what Lightning General Manager Brian Lawton had requested.

"Things happen and obviously the Devils feel terrible about it," Lawton told the media on Friday. "It's out of their control. It's tough on the fans, tough on players and coaches. But we'll move forward. I think it's only logical that the game be picked back up from where it was with the score and, in order to maintain the integrity of the game, the sooner the better to be honest with you.

"With trades, injuries and things like that -- the one thing about the NHL is they have the intent of the highest integrity and this is a force de-jour event, so to speak. But the NHL has always done a good job of maintaining (integrity)."

The blackout occurred not soon after Steven Stamkos scored to give Tampa Bay a commanding three-goal cushion with 9:56 remaining in the second period. Just 44 seconds later, Brodeur was left in the dark -- at approximately 8:15 p.m. (EST).

After consultation with the NHL Hockey Operations Department and both general managers of the teams, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman postponed the remainder of play due to concerns for the safety of the players and officials.

"What happened was a circuit breaker went down -- I don't know which one it was," Lamoriello told the media. "PSE&G has been here and they determined that they would not get this fixed (Friday night). The officials, as you saw, went out to determine if there was enough light to play. They determined it was too risky in one end zone. Safety has to come first in a situation like this."

Lamoriello admitted he was in contact with NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell much of the evening.

"It was more when do we decide to cancel -- communicating that with the officials, to the fans and to the media as quick as we can," Lamoriello said on Friday. "Also, our players, as both teams have games (Saturday) night. We have flights. So things have to be re-scheduled."

Lightning goalie Mike Smith was sporting a shutout at the time of the postponement on 20 saves. Stamkos had a goal and one assist and defenseman Kurtis Foster had already dished out two helpers. The Lighting were 2-for-3 on the power play and had scored three goals on only seven shots.

Despite the score, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire was pleased with his team's effort.

"I thought score-wise, it wasn't a good start," he said. "I thought it was a great start the way we played. We didn't allow a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had quite a few, we came close numerous times to get a goal, get back in the game. That is exactly what we needed, a goal, so we could get started, to play with a little more confidence. Up to that point (the blackout), I thought we were playing really well."

Contact Mike Morreale at

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