NEWARK, N.J. – In what has become a season of streaks for the New Jersey Devils, the boys in red added another victory to their current winning roll on Thursday.
The Devils (6-1-3) won their third straight game after dropping four straight, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-4), 4-2, behind two late power play goals at Prudential Center.
Defensemen Andy Greene ripped home a goal from the high slot during a 5-on-3 late in the third period, and 14 seconds later, Patrik Elias beat Lightning goalie Anders Lindback short-side to give New Jersey a 4-1 lead with just under five minutes remaining.
After the Devils took a second-period lead from a goal from Adam Henrique, Tampa Bay fought back, as it converted a turnover in the offensive zone when Nate Thompson beat Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur to tie the game at one.
Later, though, Ilya Kovalchuk intercepted a pass, short-handed, and led a two-on-one down the ice, where he snapped a shot past Lindback at the far post, giving the Devils a lead it would not relinquish.
Brodeur finished with 17 saves; Lindback posted 23 stops for the Lightning.
The win helps New Jersey keep pace with the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat the Washington Capitals, 5-2.
Kovalchuk, Elias, and Greene each finished with multiple-point nights for New Jersey, which is getting accustomed to someone new stepping up each night.
“It was a 20-man contribution,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said, according to NHL.com.
Furthermore, the Devils’ penalty kill continued to look strong. It killed off all four power plays tonight, and hasn’t allowed a power play goal since last Thursday, when it surrendered three of them in a 5-4 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.
Now, the Devils and Penguins are continuing to get step-for-step, with a crucial home-and-home series this weekend against each other. If either team can win both of those games, it will be able to create some distance from the rest of the Atlantic Division.