NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, October 31st
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (7-4-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3-3), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning are the one club that arguably came
closest to handing the New Jersey Devils their first road loss of the season.
Tampa Bay gets a second chance this afternoon in a home battle with New Jersey
at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Devils' 2-1 victory in Boston on Thursday gave the team a club-record
6-0-0 mark on the road to start the season. However, a single second versus
the Lightning back on October 8 is the only thing standing between New Jersey
and its first road loss.
In Tampa at the beginning of the month, New Jersey trailed by a goal in what
was its first road game of the season. Travis Zajac, though, scored on the
Lightning's Mike Smith with less than a second left in regulation to force
overtime and the Devils won it, 4-3, in a shootout.
The victory was New Jersey's eighth in a row over the Lightning and fourth
straight at St. Pete Times Forum.
Martin Brodeur made 41 saves on that day, but was given his first night off
Thursday in Boston. Yann Danis made his New Jersey debut in Brodeur's place
and turned aside 31 shots in the one-goal victory over the Bruins.
"It looked like [Danis] had an easy game because he was so much in position on
every shot and really in control -- controlled rebounds," said Devils head
coach Jacques Lemaire. "He was good around the net. He was a big part of the
David Clarkson scored on Thursday, while Dainius Zubrus notched his second
tally of the season, a game-winning goal with 1:26 to play.
The Devils have now won seven of nine overall after starting the season with
Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner both had assists in Thursday's win to
extend their point streaks to six games each. Parise has five goals and five
helpers on his run, while Langenbrunner has a goal and six assists.
Already without Paul Martin (left arm), Jay Pandolfo (shoulder) and Patrik
Elias (groin), New Jersey lost defenseman Johnny Oduya to a lower-body injury
on Thursday and he is questionable for tonight.
The Lightning have won two of their last three and improved to 2-0-1 on a
four-game homestand with Thursday's 5-2 victory over Ottawa. Steven Stamkos
had two goals, giving him six in his last four games, while also adding an
assist. The sophomore posted 23 goals and 23 assists in 79 games last year and
already has nine goals and five assists in 10 contests this season.
"I thought we played a really solid game, got out to a big lead," Stamkos
said. "Overall it was a solid effort and we deserved the win."
The 2008 first overall pick has seven goals and three helpers on a six-game
point streak, while teammate Martin St. Louis has at least one point in all 10
games of this campaign, a club-record streak to start the season.
Ryan Malone had a goal and two assists for the Lightning, Alex Tanguay had a
goal and an assist and Smith made 21 saves. He turned aside 31-of-34 shots
faced versus New Jersey earlier in the season.
Stamkos scored twice in that game, with St. Louis notching a pair of assists.
10/31 10:35:47 ET