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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 25th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (39-23-12-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-8-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning try to maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference standings tonight when they welcome the defending Stanley Cup-champion New Jersey Devils to the St. Pete Times Forum.

With 99 points, Tampa is one ahead of second-place Philadelphia in the East, and two up on third-place Boston. The Bolts have already secured their second straight Southeast Division championship.

John Tortorella's club broke out of a small slump in a big way Tuesday, as Fredrik Modin finished with a goal and two assists to lead Tampa Bay to a 7-2 win over Toronto at Air Canada Centre.

Dave Andreychuk and Vincent Lecavalier each posted a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who snapped a two-game losing streak. John Grahame made 27 saves in the victory, while Martin St. Louis assisted on three goals. Tampa Bay concluded its road slate at 22-12-4-3 and will play its remaining five games at home.

Modin, Brad Lukowich, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brad Richards all scored in the first period for the Lightning, who also ended a five-game losing streak in Toronto.

St. Louis remains the NHL's leading scorer with a franchise-record 89 points -- four ahead of Colorado's Joe Sakic in the race. He is tied with the Avalanche's Alex Tanguay for the league lead with 54 assists.

The Lightning will host Washington on Saturday.

New Jersey, meanwhile, is sixth in the East with 92 points -- one behind Ottawa and two ahead of Montreal. On Tuesday, Scott Niedermayer scored with 1:05 remaining in overtime to lift the Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers at Office Depot Center.

The victory clinched a playoff berth for Jersey and also gave goaltender Martin Brodeur his 400th career win. Brodeur, who finished with 21 saves, became the eighth netminder -- and the youngest -- to reach the milestone.

Turner Stevenson, Brian Gionta and former Panther Viktor Kozlov also scored for the Devils, who improved to 3-1-1 in their last five.

New Jersey will visit Atlanta on Friday.

The Lightning are 3-0 against the Devils this season, and 4-0-2 in the last six meetings overall. Jersey is 0-3-2 in its last five trips to the Gulf coast.

03/25 10:22:13 ET


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