The Tampa Bay Lightning used a workman like effort to cool off another hot team, as they beat the New Jersey Devils, 2-1, Friday night at the St Pete Times Forum.
The Devils came into Friday’s contest riding an eight-game win streak and were 16-1-2 in the last 19.
The Lightning knew that they had to play patient game to beat the Devils. It showed early on in the game as it took the Bolts almost nine minutes before they registered their first shot in the contest.
The Lightning used the face-off circle to get two goals in 74 seconds during the second period. An aggressive but patient approach Coach Guy Boucher spoke about before the game prepared his team to be able to take control of the game.
The first goal came on a draw won by Steven Stamkos who directed the puck to Steve Downie who then was able to pass the puck to Martin St. Louis who was able to score his 23rd goal of the season to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead just 2:20 into the second stanza.
Fifty-four seconds later, fellow forward Simon Gagne wristed another puck past Johan Hedberg to extend the Bolts lead to 2-0. With Vinnie Lecavalier chased out of the face-off circle, Teddy Purcell filled in and won the draw and directed the puck toward Gagne, who went high glove side for the score his 10th of the season.
New Jersey cut the lead 2-1 at 8:13 of the third period as defenseman Mark Fayne scored his fourth goal past Bolts goaltneder Dwayne Roloson, who was screened on the play and never saw the shot. After the goal brought the Devils within one, Roloson then shut the door to preserve the win for the Bolts, as he stopped 20 of 21 shots in the winning effort.
The win gives the Lightning 79 points on the season and a firm hold on the Southeast Division –by five points over second place Washington, who lost to the New York Rangers Friday–and second in the Eastern Conference.
The Lightning finished there long 12 game home stand at 7-3-2, now they head off on a three-game road trip which sees the hockey club playing the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, before heading into New Jersey and Boston to finish off the road trip.