Devils Cruise Past Lightning

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Devils 5, Lightning 2

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals and the New Jersey Devils downed the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, to end an 11-game road losing streak.

Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac both registered a goal and an assist for the Devils, who notched a win as the visiting club for the first time since November 3.

“They got a lot of guys that can score goals, so you have to play good defensively against them and we did that,” Rolston said.

Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for New Jersey, which had been idle since posting a 6-3 victory over Tampa Bay at home on Sunday.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis scored for the Southeast Division-leading Lightning, who have dropped three of their last five games.

Dwayne Roloson was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots in the first period. Dan Ellis stopped 15 shots the rest of the way.

The contest got off to a promising start for Tampa Bay as Stamkos lit the lamp for the first time in 2011, snapping a six-game goal-less drought.

Ten seconds after being clipped with a high stick by New Jersey’s Colin White, Stamkos let go a one-timer from below the left circle to put the Bolts on the board at 5:06 of the first period. It was his 32nd goal of the season, tying him with concussed Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby for the league lead.

New Jersey, though, tallied three times in a span of 3:45 later in the frame, and Zajac tacked on a shorthanded goal to give the Devils a 4-1 edge at the intermission.

Kovalchuk and Rolston scored 80 seconds apart, with the latter converting a pass from Dainius Zubrus at 9:19. Patrik Elias pumped home a rebound at 11:44 before Zajac chased Roloson to the bench with 4:06 remaining.

“We made in the first period [tonight], the mistakes that we made in the third period [in Newark],” said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher. New Jersey scored five goals in the third period on Sunday.

St. Louis accepted a Stamkos pass and lifted a backhander over Brodeur to trim Tampa Bay’s deficit to 4-2 with 5:05 remaining in the second period. The assist was Stamkos’ 200th career point.

Kovalchuk beat Ellis stick-side with a wrister at 13:40 of the third period.

New Jersey won consecutive games for the first time since November 22-24…The Devils have won six straight in Tampa…Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin played in his 200th NHL game…The Devils lost 12 consecutive road tilts from October 19-December 1, 1983.


New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning: Devils Look To Continue Dominance of Lightning

Even when they struggle, the New Jersey Devils can still beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.

New Jersey will look for its sixth straight win at the St. Pete Times Forum as they complete a home-and-home series with Tampa Bay tonight.

Despite trailing the Lightning by 33 points in the standings, the Devils have routinely beat Tampa Bay. The Lightning are a mere 1-5-6 against the Devils in their last 12 games, and haven't beat New Jersey on home ice since October 4, 2007.

The matchup followed a similar script for the Tampa Bay during Sunday's 6-3 loss to New Jersey. Ahead 2-1 after two periods, the Devils scored five goals in the third period to defeat the Lightning. It was the only the Devils' second come-from-behind victory this season.

Martin Brodeur stopped 33 shots in the victory to break a personal-worst nine game losing streak. It was his first win since a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on December 15.

Devils' coach Jacques Lemaire saw Brodeur's improvements in Sunday's win and will stick with him for tonight's game.

"It's little stuff," Lemaire told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. "I just feel he's more alert, he's quicker, he's getting quicker. He sees the puck better. (He's) more confident."

Dwayne Roloson, who sat out Sunday's loss, will start in net for the Lightning. Since acquiring him from the Islanders, Roloson is 3-1-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.

New Jersey hasn't had much success in putting together win streaks this season. After a win, the Devils are 1-8-0 and have been outscored 30-4. 

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