The New Jersey Devils (26-30-4) began their miracle run to the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning (35-18-7).
Tonight, the Devils will look for another win against the Lightning to continue their improbable march to the postseason as both teams square off at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.
New Jersey, 27 points out of a playoff spot on January 8, used back-to-back games against the Lightning to start their current 16-1-2 run. The Devils defeated the Lightning, 6-3, at home on January 9 and 5-2 at St. Pete Times Forum five days later.
The Devils are looking for their seventh straight win in Tampa and their first nine-game win streak since 2007.
A 1-0 win over the Dallas Stars Tuesday night helped the Devils extend their current win streak to eight games. Scoreless for the first two periods, rookie Nick Palmieri tallied the game's only goal in the final frame. With the Devils on a powerplay, Mark Fayne sent a cross-ice pass to Ilya Kovalchuk, whose stick broke on a shot attempt. Palmieri tipped the fluttering puck past Stars' goalie Kari Lehtonen for the goal.
The assist extended Kovalchuk's point streak to 11 games, the longest of his career.
Tampa Bay snapped a three-game losing streak after dismantling the Phoenix Coyotes, 8-3, Wednesday night. Teddy Purcell recorded his first career hat trick, and Vincent Lecavlier tied a career-high with a five point night. The win pushed Tampa Bay's home record to 6-2-3 on their NHL-record 12 straight home games.
Johan Hedberg will make his eighth straight start for the Devils tonight. Hedberg has won his last seven starts, allowing a total of seven goals in those games. He has allowed only one goal and posted two shutouts in his last three games.
Hedberg has not faced the Lightning this season.
Martin Brodeur, who stopped 63 of 68 shots in the Devils' two games against the Lightning, will once again be the backup.
New Jersey Devils
@ Tampa Bay Lightning
Friday, Feb 25, 2011, 7:30 PM EST
St. Pete Times Forum
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