The New Jersey Devils are looking for a forward who can put up big offensive numbers. But, they may not have to sign a big free agent or make a blockbuster trade, as the person who could potentially put up those numbers is currently attending the Devils’ Prospect Camp, and coming off a strong season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting. That man is Reid Boucher.
Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Alex Killorn (1 goal, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Andy Greene (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st Star: Steven Stamkos (2 goals, 1 assist)
Stephen Gionta, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Bryce Salvador all made their returns from injury, but it wasn’t enough as the Devils (15-11-8) dropped another tough one in the shootout Friday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning (15-18-1). The offense wasn’t the problem this time, it was the defensive play. The Devils scored in almost every way they could, scoring goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and even on a penalty shot, but couldn’t put one past Mathieu Garon during the shootout. The Devils are now 2 – 6 this year in the shootout, a huge drop-off from their shootout success last year.
Game Time: 7:30 PM
Radio: 660 WFAN AM, 101.9 FM
For the first and only time this season, the New Jersey Devils (15-11-7) will travel to Tampa Bay to face-off against the Lightning (14-18-1). The previous two meetings between the teams were split, with the Devils winning the first game 4-2, and the Lightning taking the second contest 5-2. The Devils will look to bounce back from a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators, while the Lightning will look to continue their strong play at home.
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 (14-13-1, 29 points) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (12-15-2, 26 points)
7:00 PM EST
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight will be the second of four matchups between the Lightning and the Devils this season, it will also be the second of two matchups played at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. The two teams last met on November 19 in Tampa with the Devils coming away with a 4-2 victory.
Taormina Looking to Make Most of Second Chance:
Matt Taormina made the Devils out of training camp last year and had three goals and two assists in the Devils’ first 17 games last season. He had appeared to be adapting to NHL play quickly. Then on November 14, 2010, teammate Mattias Tedenby fell on Taormina’s ankle during a practice session which eventually sidelined Taormina for the rest of the season.
Taormina rehabbed throughout the spring and summer and came into training camp, looking for a fresh start. However, a back injury caused Taormina to be sidelined for a week during training camp, which hurt his chances at making the roster. He started the season in Albany.
Now with Andy Greene sidelined for four weeks, and Anton Volchenkov listed as day-to-day, Taormina has gotten a second chance to prove that he belongs in the NHL. He had over 16 minutes of ice time in Saturday’s loss to Montreal, and even had some powerplay time.
Taormina practiced on Sunday with the second powerplay unit, and is expected to play on the unit tonight.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Clarkson
Zubrus – Carter – Palmieri
Boulton – Sestito – Tedenby
Talinder – Fayne
Salvador – Larsson
Taormina – Urbom
The Latest on the Tampa Bay Lightning:
In five games so far in the month of December, the Tampa Bay Lightning have come away with only two points out of a possible 10. In those five games, the Lightning have scored first four out of five. However, squandering an early lead has become a Bolt trademark. This was last seen on Saturday when Ryan Shannon gave the Lightning an early 1-0 lead over the Flyers, but the Broad Street Bullies scored three unanswered and never relinquished the lead.
The team is clearly hurting from the absence of all-star Martin St. Louis, who is out indefinitely with facial and nasal fractures after teammate Dominic Moore hit him with a puck during a pre-game skate two games ago.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher says the difference between last year’s Lightning team and this year’s is the fact that the Lightning are struggling on the man-advantage this season. The Bolts have a 14.7% powerplay success, which is still higher than the Devils; however, with the Devils 93.4% PK, the chances of the Lightning improving their PP tonight is slim to none.
Projected Lightning Lineup:
Malone – Stamkos (A) – Downie
Pyatt – Lecavalier (C) – Purcell
Thompson – Moore – Shannon
Jones – Hall – Tyrell
Hedman – Brewer (A)
Bergeron – Gilroy
Clark – Gervais