The Tampa Bay Lightning snap a 5-game losing streak in the 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. Both teams entered the contest with five game losing streaks in the thick of a playoff race.
Nate Thompson scored twice for the Lightning, while Martin St. Louis and Alex Killorn added a goal and an assist a piece. The win over the Devils was only the Lightning’s second in eight games.
Rookie winger Cory Conacher continued to play well and finished the contest with two assists. Captain Vincent Lecavalier also had two assists in the game making for 20 points on the season. NHL goals leader Steven Stamkos went pointless in the game after a two-goal effort Monday night.
Conacher leads all rookies in scoring with seven goals and 13 assists. Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers is just four points off Conacher’s pace.
The New Jersey Devils were off to a great start to the season before the six game skid began late-February. Ilya Kovalchuk had an assist off a powerplay goal by Patrick Elias late in the third. It wasn’t enough to spark a comeback against the Lightning.
Anders Lindback got the start in net for the Lightning, making 25 saves on 27 shots. Johan Hedberg was between the pipes for the Devils before being replaced by Keith Kinkaid after a slow start. Kinkaid relieved Hedberg after the Lightning took a 3-0 lead midway through the second period.
This was Keith Kinkaid’s first NHL appearance ever as he finished the contest with 11 saves on 12 shots. The struggling Devils last win came Feb. 21 against the Capitals in Washington D.C. At 10-8-5, the Devils still hold on to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference and are second behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division.
The Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Winnipeg Jets Thursday in a key match up for second place in the Southeast Division. The two teams are currently locked in a tie at 21 points a piece, though the Lightning have appeared in one more game.
The New Jersey Devils look to end their losing streak in Buffalo against the Sabres on Thursday before taking on the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday. Johan Hedberg is expected to receive the majority of the starts in net while Martin Brodeur is out with a back injury.
Tampa Bay was finally able to play consistently throughout all three periods Tuesday; something they have not done during the losing streak. A bad third period on Monday gave Sidney Crosby and the Penguins some room to steal a victory away from the Lightning. The Lightning snap the five game streak just in time to pick up some much needed momentum going in to Thursday’s game with the Jets.