GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (17-15-6-1) at New Jersey Devils (20-9-9-1).TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Pat Burns is steamed. The New Jersey Devils look lost on the ice.
The defending Stanley Cup champions will try to get their acts together when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Continental Airlines Arena.
Burns has watched his team struggle through a 1-3-1 stretch that reached rock-bottom with a 4-2 home loss to lowly Pittsburgh on Wednesday. After the game, Burns ripped into his players in a closed-door locker room tirade.
"I'm going to have to check their hearts, check their heads to see where we're going," Burns said. "(Is it) preparation? I'll take responsibility. (Is it) motivation? I'll take responsibility. What goes on the ice is not my responsibility.
"I think definitely it is gut-check time,"
All the Devils have to show for their last five games is a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Edmonton on Monday, results that aren't acceptable to the players either.
"(Coach) getting angry is fine," captain Scott Stevens said. "We're angry, too. Everyone's angry. So we have to come out harder at the start and go from there."
On Thursday, the NHL All-Star voting was announced, and the positive reinforcement may help the Devils resume their winning ways as New Jersey had three starters voted into the game by the fans.
Martin Brodeur, the 2002-03 Vezina Trophy winner and NHL leader with 19 wins and eight shutouts this season, will start in goal for the third time and play behind teammates Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.
The Lightning are hopeful the rest of the team can follow the lead of All-Star Martin St. Louis and keep the Devils' downward spiral going.
St. Louis had two goals and two assists for his first career four-point game, helping Tampa Bay win for the second time in the last three games, 4-1 over Montreal on Thursday.
Named an All-Star starter before the game, St. Louis increased his team-leading point total to 36 in 39 games.
"It's a great honor," St. Louis said of his All-Star election. "It's an individual thing -- I don't try to really pay attention to that. I'm going to enjoy my time when I'm there, but there's a lot of business to be done until then with this hockey team and that's really the most important thing."
(c) New Jersey Devils 2013 - All Rights Reserved
newjerseydevils.com is the official web site of the New Jersey Devils, a member team of the National Hockey League ("NHL"). NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.