Game 23: New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: 660 WFAN AM, 101.9 FM
For the second time this season, the New Jersey Devils (10-7-5) will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-12-1) at the Prudential Center, their first meeting being a 4-2 win for Jersey’s Team, with goals coming from Henrique, Kovalchuk, Greene, and Elias. Both teams will be playing their second game in as many nights, with the Devils coming off of a 4-2 loss in Toronto, and Tampa Bay coming off a 4-3 loss against the Penguins. The last time these teams met, the Devils were in the middle of their 5-game winning streak, while the Lightning were in the middle of what would be a 6-game losing streak.
New Jersey Devils
Coming home from a three-game road trip they will want to forget, the Devils are looking to continue their solid play at the Prudential Center, where they’ve gone 6-2-2 this season. Before they hit the ice, however, the Devils will have a few personnel issues to deal with. As was stated on yesterday’s preview, Bobby Butler was placed on waivers Sunday afternoon, and was subsequently picked up by the Nashville Predators. During Monday’s game against the Maple Leafs, Coach Pete DeBoer played Krys Barch on the fourth line at left wing with Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter, with Steve Bernier being bumped up to the third line with Ponikarovsky and Henrique. More importantly, however, is the goaltending situation. Lou Lamoriello stated on Sunday that Brodeur would not be playing in Tuesday’s game against the Lightning, and with Hedberg getting the start on Monday, and seemingly not playing with a great deal of confidence lately, one would think that Keith Kinkaid would get that start on Tuesday. Pete DeBoer, however, is going on a day-to-day basis, not saying whether Hedberg or Kinkaid would get the call for Tuesday’s game. Regardless of who starts, though, the offense will absolutely need to show up. Despite some good chances for the offense, Marek Zidlicky was the only player to score on Monday, and Kovalchuk, Elias, and Clarkson all remained off of the scoresheet again.
Tampa Bay Lightning
After starting the season 6-1-0, the Lightning have really fallen off the map, going 3-11-1 since, and letting both Carolina and Winnipeg pass them in the Southeast Division. Steven Stamkos still leads the team in goals (17) and points (34), but is getting rather lonely at the top. He’s the only Lightning player who has scored more than 7 goals, but surprisingly has not netted a single game-winner this season. On the other side of the ice, Anders Lindback (7-5-1, 3.27 GAA, .890 Sv%) has gotten the call for the majority of this season, but has been shaky as-of-late, giving Mathieu Garon (2-7-0, 2.85 GAA, .912 Sv%), the nod in net despite having a worse record than Lindback. Needless to say, goaltending has been a real head-scratcher in Tampa Bay. Despite being 2nd in the League for Goals Scored, the Lightning are currently 25th for Goal Against, wasting all of the offense power Stamkos gives them. Despite Garon getting that start in net on Monday, he was relieved of his duties early in the second period by Lindback after an apparent injury, making the goalie choice for Tampa Bay a difficult one for Tuesday’s match-up.
What to Watch For
Obviously, the first thing to watch for is Steven Stamkos. Honestly, the guy’s just ridiculous. The Devils will have their hands full keeping him contained, and will have to work extra hard should Kinkaid be between the pipes. This game will also be a big moment for the Devils. They’ve gone 0-4-1 in their past 5 games, and can’t let this go on any longer. This game will have a must-win feel for the Devils and their fans as they try to get back into this season. Despite the Lightning’s poor record, they’re not an easy team to beat. Out of all of their losses this season, all but two of them involved the winning team scoring 3 or more goals, something the Devils have struggled with as of late. In order for the Devils to win this game, they’ll need a solid performance from their net-minder and some power from their offense. The team’s power-play needs some serious work as well, not registering a PPG during their entire road trip. This game won’t be an easy one for the Devils to win, but it will be a necessary one.
Posted on March 5, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center, Tampa Bay Lightning, The Rock and tagged Anders Lindback, Johan Hedberg, Keith Kinkaid, Martin Brodeur, Mathieu Garon, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Prudential Center, steven stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, The Rock. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.