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Lightning expect tight defense from visiting Devils

by Lonnie Herman /

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their six-game homestand Saturday when they host the New Jersey Devils.

Although New Jersey is coming off a 5-3 loss Friday against the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper doesn't have any doubts about what kind of team he'll be facing.

"New Jersey does such a good job of playing defense and keeping the puck out of the net. It's tough to break through and score against these guys," Cooper said. "I look at the score last night and they gave up five goals and it's like an eye-opener, and then I think, 'Why couldn't they have given up five against us?' That doesn't happen that often and they have world-class goaltending in there and they have a system in place and they know how to play."

Lightning forward Ryan Malone will sit out again Saturday, the fifth consecutive game when he will be scratched. Joining him in the stands will be forward Nikita Kucherov, who is without a goal in his past 14 games, and forward Richard Panik, who is without a point since returning from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on March 4.

Forward Tyler Johnson has four goals in his past five games, giving him 21 for the season. That is two behind the Lightning rookie record set by captain Steven Stamkos in 2008-09.

Johnson, 23, put that situation in an interesting perspective.

"I think Stamkos was 18-years old when he did that feat," Johnson said. "If I'm not mistaken, he got 60 goals when he was 20 or 21 years old. I don't really think about it at all."

The Devils arrived late after their game against the Panthers and took the morning off.

Martin Brodeur is expected to be in goal for New Jersey. He has defeated the Lightning in their two previous matchups this season, allowing one goal, by Stamkos.

Here are the projected lineups for the Devils and Lightning


Jaromir Jagr - Travis Zajac - Tuomo Ruutu

Ryane Clowe - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Mark Fayne - Andy Greene

Jon Merrill - Anton Volchenkov

Marek Zidlicky - Bryce Salvador

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Peter Harrold, Jacob Josefson


Ondrej PalatValtteri FilppulaRyan Callahan

Teddy PurcellTyler JohnsonSteven Stamkos

J.T. BrownTom PyattAlex Killorn

B.J. CrombeenNate Thompson

Eric BrewerRadko Gudas

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Keith AulieMatthew Carle

Michael Kostka

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Ryan Malone, Nikita Kucherov, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio

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