Lightning try to stay hot at home in test vs. Devils
The Lightning are on their longest home winning streak since 2006, but keeping that run going against the Devils and a healthy Ilya Kovalchuk may prove to be a difficult task.
Tampa Bay tries to run its string of victories at St. Pete Times Forum to seven in a row this evening versus visiting New Jersey.
The Lightning dropped back-to-back games in St. Louis and Winnipeg before returning home to battle Pittsburgh on Thursday. Vincent Lecavalier had a pair of goals as Tampa recorded its sixth consecutive win at home for the first time since March of 2006.
Brett Connolly and Steve Downie also scored, and Dwayne Roloson made 33 saves for the Lightning, who opened a three-game homestand and moved to 6-1-0 as the host this year.
"All the guys played well tonight and it was a total team effort," Connolly said after netting his first career power-play goal.
Connolly, a rookie, will get his first taste of this matchup, which has been dominated by the Devils as of late. New Jersey has won 13 of the past 15 meetings overall, though Tampa Bay's two wins have come in the last five encounters and six of the Devils' wins have come after regulation.
The Lightning snapped a six-game slide to the Devils in the last meeting at home on Feb. 25.
Kovalchuk had three goals and seven points in four games versus the Lightning last year and returned from a five-game absence due to a lower-body injury in New Jersey's 5-3 win at Buffalo on Wednesday. Kovalchuk scored a power-play goal in the first period to give the Devils a 2-0 advantage.
"We wanted to come out fast against this team because they have a lot of speed and can get things going," said Kovalchuk. "We got that first one then the power-play goal and that was big."
Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias and Mark Fayne also scored as the Devils won for the fifth time in seven games. Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots to pick up the win.