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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 15th (All times Eastern)

New Jersey Devils (29-25-13) at Tampa Bay Lightning (35-24-7), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning saw Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan score long-awaited goals in Thursday's skid-stopping victory.

The duo will try to keep the Bolts headed in the right direction on Saturday night in a home meeting with the New Jersey Devils.

Both Stamkos and Callahan potted tallies in Thursday's 5-4 triumph over the Florida Panthers, one that halted the Lightning's 0-3-2 skid. The much-needed win has Tampa Bay tied with the Montreal Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

Stamkos, who also had an assist, got his first points in four games since coming back from a broken leg suffered on Nov. 11. That injury sidelined Tampa Bay's new captain for 45 straight games.

Callahan, meanwhile, got his first goal in four games since being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers in the deal that shipped Martin St. Louis to the Big Apple.

Tyler Johnson, Sami Salo and Michael Kostka all added goals on Thursday, with Johnson stretching his point streak to five straight games (4 goals, 1 assist).

Valtteri Filppula finished with three assists and Ben Bishop made 23 saves, though he did allow a pair of goals in the game's final 1:05 to make it a close contest.

"For 59 minutes I think we stuck to the game plan," said Stamkos. "We could have easily put our tail between our legs after they scored those two quick goals, but that's one thing we talked about, no matter what happens in the game, let's stay on it. We did and I thought we deserved the win today."

Tampa Bay is 1-1-2 on a six-game homestand that ends on Monday versus Vancouver.

Bishop is likely to start tonight and has solid career numbers versus the Devils in four starts, posting a 1.45 goals against average and .950 save percentage with a 2-2-0 record.

The Devils will be looking to bounce back tonight after having a two-game win streak halted with Friday's 5-3 setback to the Florida Panthers. New Jersey carried a one-goal edge into the final period, but saw the Panthers score the final three goals of the contest.

Cory Schneider yielded four goals on 21 shots, giving up the game-tying goal at the 4:24 mark of the third period. He was then beaten by Florida's Scottie Upshall from a sharp angle at the midway point of the frame for the game- deciding tally.

"I'm really not happy with that (Upshall) goal," Schneider said. "It deflates the team. I never like goals to go under me or through me."

Schneider has yielded 15 goals in losing his past three starts.

Jaromir Jagr had a goal to give him three tallies and six points in his past five games, while Bryce Salvador and Patrik Elias added goals for a Devils club that remained two points out of a wild card position in the East.

New Jersey concludes a three-game road trip tonight before kicking off a string of five in a row at home on Tuesday.

Schneider's recent struggles and playing on back-to-back nights lends itself to Martin Brodeur starting versus the Lightning. He is 39-16-3 with a 2.08 GAA and six shutouts lifetime in this matchup.

Brodeur has started the Devils' two previous games versus the Bolts this season, giving up one goal on 50 shots in a pair of wins.

Both of those contests took place in New Jersey and tonight is the third and final meeting between the clubs this season. The Devils have won eight of their last 10 trips to Tampa.

03/15 10:29:03 ET


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