Things began well for Tampa Bay as Anders Lindback made some amazing saves early to keep things scoreless. That gave the team confidence and they answered, with Cory Conacher‘s steal setting up Nate Thompson, who fired one past Devils’ backup netminder Johan Hedberg.
New call-up Ondrej Palat got the second assist, making it two points in his first two NHL games. Not a bad way to start what surely will be a promising career.
The line of Alexander Killorn, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier also went to work, as Killorn set up St. Louis for a goal and later scored himself, bringing his total to four goals and eight points in 13 games since being called up from AHL Syracuse.
Aside from some fisticuffs, this game also featured a somewhat dirty, potentially suspendable hit from Cam Janssen, who left his feet to check a defenseless Cory Conacher. Luckily, no one was injured, but it’s clearly something the league wants to get rid of.
New Jersey showed some life late, with Adam Henrique breaking Lindback’s shutout bid by scoring shorthanded in the game’s final seven minutes, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the Tampa Bay offense generated earlier.
This win allows the Lightning, at 21 points, to head home happy. They now hope to use it as a building block to better things, beginning Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Last time these teams met, the result was an 8-3 thrashing favoring Tampa Bay. I’m sure the team would love nothing more than to re-create that.