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Lightning start road trip by visiting Devils

by Mike Battaglino

LIGHTNING (18-10-3) at DEVILS (12-15-6)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 4-3-3; New Jersey 3-6-1

Season series: The New Jersey Devils took a one-goal lead into the third period, then held the Tampa Bay Lightning to four shots in a 2-1 victory on Oct. 29 at Prudential Center.

Big story: The Lightning scored five times in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. In its four other December games, Tampa Bay has five goals.

"Naturally you want to sit here and say, 'We can score more,'" coach Jon Cooper told the team website Friday. "We had a little burst out against Washington ... but other than [a 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators], we're trucking along getting one, two goals a game, and I feel like if we can get three, that should give us a pretty darn good chance of winning the game, and for the most part it has."

Team Scope:

Lightning: The absence of injured forward Steven Stamkos (leg) has been more noticeable on the road, where Tampa Bay is 1-4-2 without him, than at home (5-1-1). The Lightning scored two goals over four games as a visitor before getting five against the Capitals; they are coming off a 2-1 home shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

"We just have to find a way to get that one more goal a game," Cooper said. "I think that's where we're lacking a little bit. And that's part of the reason, you don't have [Stamkos], that's where that goal has gone."

Tampa Bay visits Detroit on Sunday, then heads back east to play the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Forward Richard Panik will serve the end of a two-game suspension he received for boarding Washington's Karl Alzner.

Devils: New Jersey starts a three-game homestand after a 3-2 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. The Devils have played 20 of their first 33 games on the road.

The Devils trailed 3-0 Friday, then outshout the Penguins 32-11 in the last two periods but lost for the fifth time in six games and eighth time in 11.

"You get tired of the moral victories," coach Peter DeBoer told MSG Network. "It was great we had more shots and we came back, but you have to get points [in the standings], that's the bottom line."

Cory Schneider allowed three goals in the first 14:40 but DeBoer did not pull him and use Martin Brodeur, who likely will start Saturday.

"I thought about it, but we decided that we would have a chat between the first and second [periods] and talk about regrouping and finding our game," DeBoer said. "I think we did that, and Cory did too."

Who's hot: The line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Martin St. Louis has combined for 13 points in Tampa Bay's past four games. With the exception of allowing five goals against Washington, goalie Ben Bishop has not surrendered more than two in any of his past six games. … Devils forward Patrik Elias has six points in a five-game streak. Forward Jaromir Jagr has four points in three, and forwards Dainius Zubrus and Travis Zajac have three in three.

Injury report: Lightning forward J.T. Brown (maintenance) did not practice Friday. Defensemen Keith Aulie (upper body), Victor Hedman (lower body) and Brian Lee (knee), and forwards Ryan Malone (lower body), Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and Stamkos (broken right tibia) are out. Forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body) is day-to-day. … Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov (back) left the game Tuesday but played Friday. Defenseman Bryce Salvador (foot) is practicing but won't play this weekend. Forward Ryane Clowe (concussion) has been medically cleared to play. Defenseman Peter Harrold (foot) is out indefinitely. Defenseman Adam Larsson (lower body) and forwards Ryan Carter (leg) and Stephen Gionta (ankle) are on injured reserve.

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