Tampa, Florida - The New Jersey Devils took on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This was the rubber match in the season series between the two teams. The Devils won the first meeting 4-2 and the Bolts won the second meeting 5-2. This game was a lot closer.
The game started off tight as both teams went scoreless in the first period. Martin Brodeur made many great stops to keep the game scoreless. The Devils outshot the Lightning 7-5 in the first period.
The second period was a completely different story for the offensive side of the ice. Andrei Loktionov opened the scoring with his seventh goal on the year. Loktionov has been hot as of late with three goals in five games entering tonights matchup.
Less than a minute later Tom Kostopoulos got a breakaway and was hooked on the play. Kostopoulos was rewarded with a penalty shot and beat Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon with a quick wrist shot. The goal was Kostopoulos’ first goal of the season and extended the lead to two.
The Devils then bounced back with a power play goal from the stick of Andy Greene. They also opened up the third period with a shorthanded goal 2:36 into the period. Greene also was wearing the second “A” on his sweater in lieu of Ilya Kovalchuk. Ryan Carter was one-on-one with a lightning player and beat Garon with a strong wrist shot. The goal was the Devils NHL leading ninth shorthanded goal of the year.
However, it was all Tampa Bay from there. Brodeur let up a soft goal to Stamkos 7:11 into the third period. The goal was Stamkos’ 25th goal of the year.
Then with only 15 seconds left in the game, Alex Killorn tied it up on a one-timer that Brodeur had no chance to save. Late goals have been the achilles heel for the Devils. It is the third straight game giving up a goal in the last minute remaining in a period.
In overtime, the Devils had a heroic penalty kill, but then could not end the game.
In the shootout the Lightning scored both of their shots and the Devils came up empty.
It is a must that the Devils come back from these tough shootout losses and figure out how to get the two points.
The Devils take the ice again tomorrow at the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. The Devils won 2-1 in the last meeting against the Panthers last Saturday.
Matt D’agostini got his first point as a Devil on the goal from Loktionov. He also got a second assist on the Andy Greene powerplay goal.
Attendance - 19,204
1st Star - Steven Stamkos
2nd Star - Andy Greene
3rd Star - Alex Killorn