Newark, N.J. – The New Jersey Devils continued in their slump as they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 tonight. The Devils came out strong as they put good pressure on the Lightning, but things went south from there.
At 17:04 in the first period, a controversial play took place where Lightning rookie Cory Conacher knocked down the puck from mid-air and centered it to Nate Thompson for the goal. The puck appeared to be knocked down by a high stick, but no call was made.
The second period was where the game got out of hand. Martin St. Louis and Alex Killorn put two past Johan Hedberg at 5:53 and 8:36. Boo’s and “Kinkaid” chants rained down from the stands and Peter DeBoer made the move.
The Lightning added two more goals in the game, one of the goals coming on an empty net.
The Devils started to gain momentum late in the third period with goals from Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias. Henrique’s goal was shorthanded and Elias’ was on the power play. Henrique’s goal was an NHL best sixth shorthanded goal for the Devils this year.
But the Devils could not mount enough to overcome the Bolts tonight.
Keith Kinkaid made his NHL debut as he relieved Hedberg. The 23-year-old from Long Island got a standing ovation as he skated onto the ice. Kinkaid was called up from the Albany Devils after Martin Brodeur went down due to back soreness.
Kinkaid has been believed to be the successor to Brodeur for a long time. In Albany, Kinkaid posted a 17-11-5 record, a 2.69 goals against average, and a .905 saver percentage in 33 games.
The rookie goaltender had great moments in his period and a half of play. Kinkaid made a great stop on a breakaway from Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos along with many other great saves.
The Devils continue to look to snap their six-game losing skid on Thursday night against Buffalo in Newark.
Expect to see Kinkaid start over Hedberg Thursday as it looked to give the Devils some energy.