TAMPA -- Nico Hischier didn't want the most exhilarating hockey experience of his first season as a member of the New Jersey Devils to come to an end.
He found it tough expressing exactly what his rookie season truly meant when he sat at his locker stall long after the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the Devils with a 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amalie Arena on Saturday.
The New Jersey Devils beat the odds by qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs one season after finishing last in the Eastern Conference.
Despite losing the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round to the Atlantic Division champion Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, it appears the rebuild that began three seasons ago under the watch of general manager Ray Shero is ahead of schedule.
TAMPA -- Any notion that Nikita Kucherov was wearing down at a point in the season when the Tampa Bay Lightning needed him most is a distant memory after his performance against the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Kucherov, who had two goals, three assists and a minus-3 rating in his last eight regular-season games, was a player on a mission once the Stanley Cup Playoffs began.
BRANDON, Fla. -- Ryan Callahan will be a game-time decision for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they play the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amalie Arena on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, NBCSN, SN360, TVAS2).
Zajac aims to carry load, help Devils extend series against Lightning
Veteran center will be relied upon again by New Jersey in Game 5
Shawn P. Roarke
/ NHL.com Director of Editorial
NEWARK -- The hopes of the New Jersey Devils to extend the Eastern Conference First Round rest heavily on the shoulders of their Mr. Everything, center Travis Zajac.
The Devils, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in the best-of-7 series, must win three consecutive games beginning with Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, NBCSN, SN360, TVAS2) to avoid elimination.