NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, November 23rd (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (10-7-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (6-7-6), 5 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After a perfect homestand, the New Jersey Devils aim for a season-high fourth straight win this evening in a visit to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.
After dropping the start of a home-and-home set to the Capitals in Washington last week, New Jersey returned home for three straight. It began that stretch with a shootout win over the Caps before also knocking off Florida and the New York Islanders for its second three-game win streak of the season.
The Devils' residency wrapped with Friday's 5-2 victory over the Islanders that saw New Jersey get a goal out of five different skaters. Brian Gionta scored in his third straight contest and also added an assist in the win. David Clarkson, Travis Zajac, Bryce Salvador and Paul Martin all lit the lamp as well.
Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise each had three assists and Patrick Elias added two helpers to give him four goals and four assists over his last four games.
Kevin Weekes made 25 saves in the win for the Devils, who have lost their last three on the road, where they are 3-3-1 this season. Also, the club hasn't won four straight since a five-game win streak from February 16-24 of last season.
The Devils will be without Mike Mottau after he was suspended for two games on Saturday for elbowing New York's Frans Nielsen in Friday's game. John Madden (left foot) is questionable tonight after getting scratched from the Islanders game.
New Jersey has won four straight over Tampa Bay, including a 4-3 shootout win at home on November 5. That marked the Devils' second game without Martin Brodeur due to an elbow injury that required surgery. Weekes made 24 saves in that win.
Tampa will feature a different look from that game tonight, as it now has Rick Tocchet on the bench as interim head coach after Barry Melrose was fired on November 14. The Lightning lost Tocchet's first two games in a shootout before giving him his first NHL win on Friday.
Vincent Lecavalier scored twice to lead Tampa Bay over Nashville, 4-1. Vinny Prospal and Mark Recchi also tallied for the Lightning, who snapped a five- game overall losing streak and have won three of their last five at home versus the Devils.
Martin St. Louis notched an assist to post his 499th career point with Tampa Bay, while Ryan Malone returned from a four-game absence to record three assists before leaving the game late with an undisclosed injury.
Mike Smith, fifth in the NHL with a .932 save percentage, stopped 34 shots for his fifth win of the season, but likely won't play tonight due to a nagging lower-body injury. Olaf Kolzig should instead make his sixth start of the season, and is 1-3-1 with a 3.22 goals against average so far this year.
Chris Gratton (lower-body injury) and Gary Roberts (upper-body injury) did not play in Friday's win, and Lukas Krajicek joins them as questionable for tonight due to a lower-body injury he suffered against Nashville.
Tampa Bay plays the third test of a four-game homestand tonight and is 3-3-4 as the host club this season.
11/23 10:36:58 ET