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Lightning aim to end skid against Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

LIGHTNING (9-12-1) at DEVILS (10-7-5)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 3-7-0, New Jersey 2-6-2

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Devils won three of four games last season, and scored a 4-2 victory on Feb. 7 at Prudential Center. The teams will meet one final time in the regular season on March 29 at Tampa Bay.

Big story: Both teams enter the game struggling to find that early-season success. Since starting the season with six wins in seven games, Tampa Bay is 3-10-1 in the past 14 games and has lost five straight. The club is 13th in the Eastern Conference with 19 points, four behind eighth-seeded Philadelphia. The Devils, meanwhile, are 0-4-1 in their last five games. New Jersey, as high as first in the East on Feb. 16, now sits seventh with 25 points.

Team Scope:

Lightning: In 11 road games this season, the Lightning have yet to win a game outside of the division, recording road wins in Carolina and Florida. On Monday, the team dropped a 4-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center despite a pair of goals by Steven Stamkos. The Lightning also lost goalie Mathieu Garon, who exited Monday's game 2:19 into the second period with a lower-body injury. He was replaced by Anders Lindback after yielding one goal on 13 shots. Lindback, the likely starter against the Devils, made 16 saves on 18 shots in relief.

Devils: New Jersey suffered their fifth straight loss on Monday, a 4-2 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky did score both New Jersey goals in defeat, but it marked the first five-game losing streak since a six-game losing streak (all in regulation) from Dec. 17 to Dec. 29, 2010. The Devils have been outscored, 18-9, in the past five setbacks, all without the services of injured goalie Martin Brodeur. Devils coach Peter DeBoer would not reveal his starter between the pipes against the Lightning. It's possible Keith Kinkaid could make his first career National Hockey League start. Kinkaid was 17-11-5 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 33 appearances for New Jersey's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany this season.

Who's hot: Devils forward Andrei Loktionov has three goals and two assists in the past six games. … Stamkos has recorded a point in 10 consecutive games (10 goals, 17 points). He's currently first in the NHL with 17 goals and second with 34 points.

Injury report: Forwards Benoit Pouliot (upper body) and Ryan Malone (lower body) and Garon (lower body) are questionable for Tampa Bay. … The Devils are without right wing Dainius Zubrus (wrist) and goalie Martin Brodeur (back).

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