GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (17-15-6-1) at New Jersey Devils (20-9-9-1).
TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Pat Burns is steamed. The New Jersey Devils look lost on the ice.
The defending Stanley Cup champions will try to get their acts together when
they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Continental Airlines Arena.
Burns has watched his team struggle through a 1-3-1 stretch that reached
rock-bottom with a 4-2 home loss to lowly Pittsburgh on Wednesday. After the
game, Burns ripped into his players in a closed-door locker room tirade.
"I'm going to have to check their hearts, check their heads to see where
we're going," Burns said. "(Is it) preparation? I'll take responsibility. (Is
it) motivation? I'll take responsibility. What goes on the ice is not my
"I think definitely it is gut-check time,"
All the Devils have to show for their last five games is a 3-2
come-from-behind win over Edmonton on Monday, results that aren't acceptable to
the players either.
"(Coach) getting angry is fine," captain Scott Stevens said. "We're
angry, too. Everyone's angry. So we have to come out harder at the start and go
On Thursday, the NHL All-Star voting was announced, and the positive
reinforcement may help the Devils resume their winning ways as New Jersey had
three starters voted into the game by the fans.
Martin Brodeur, the 2002-03 Vezina Trophy winner and NHL leader with 19 wins
and eight shutouts this season, will start in goal for the third time and play
behind teammates Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.
The Lightning are hopeful the rest of the team can follow the lead of
All-Star Martin St. Louis and keep the Devils' downward spiral going.
St. Louis had two goals and two assists for his first career four-point
game, helping Tampa Bay win for the second time in the last three games, 4-1
over Montreal on Thursday.
Named an All-Star starter before the game, St. Louis increased his
team-leading point total to 36 in 39 games.
"It's a great honor," St. Louis said of his All-Star election. "It's an
individual thing -- I don't try to really pay attention to that. I'm going to
enjoy my time when I'm there, but there's a lot of business to be done until
then with this hockey team and that's really the most important thing."