The New Jersey Devils (27-31-4) are finally playing well at The Rock.
New Jersey, who struggled earlier at home this season, will look for a five-game home win streak tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning (37-18-7).
The Devils, who traded away center Jason Arnott Monday, are still pushing toward the playoffs. New Jersey, 17-2-2 in their last 21 games, rocketed from last place in the league to 13th in the Eastern Conference. Entering tonight's game, they sit 11 points out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Despite being out of the playoff picture, the players believe management showed faith in the team's ability to complete their miracle comeback.
"I think it shows that management still believes in this team," goaltender Johan Hedberg said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "Jason wanted to get another chance, to get a better chance, but we were able to get a great player back and fairly high draft pick. So, that was a good job."
The Devils won't grab two easy points from the Lightning. Tampa Bay has won its last three road games, the most recent a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers. Tied 1-1 in the third period, Vincent Lecavlier scored the game-winning goal during a 5-on-3 powerplay situation. The win gave Tampa Bay a 21-3-7 record in one-goal games.
New Jersey has had Tampa's number in recent years. They've won eight of their last nine against the Lightning, including two of three this season.
The Lightning won the last matchup, 2-1, Friday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne scored second period goals to put Tampa Bay ahead, 2-0, after two periods. Mark Fayne brought the Devils to within one, but they couldn't crack Dwayne Roloson in the final minutes of regulation.
It's still undecided who will start tonight's game. Martin Brodeur, who stopped 25 shots in a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers Sunday, holds a 9-1-0 with a 2.24 goals-against average in his last 10 games against the Lightning. Hedberg has a 1.11 GAA in his last eight starts.