EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The only good news to come out of the New Jersey Devils' loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning concerned Martin Brodeur's right knee.
The Devils' two-time Vezina Trophy winner left with 6:50 remaining, and New Jersey's one-goal deficit turned to three in a 6-3 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions on Wednesday night.
Dave Andreychuk scored twice in the third period against his former team, and Vincent Lecavalier added a short-handed goal shortly after to lift the Lightning.
It wasn't poor goaltending that plagued the Devils, it was their habit of making mistakes in their own end that led to easy goals.
"We just can't keep turning the puck over and expect to win," said coach Larry Robinson after New Jersey allowed the final four goals. "We're not moving the puck and we're just not putting the puck in the right place. We had too many turnovers."
Backup goalie Scott Clemmensen replaced Brodeur and surrendered the final two goals to Andreychuk and Lecavalier - 56 seconds apart - that pushed Tampa Bay's lead to 6-3.
Brodeur's knee injury doesn't appear to be as serious as initially feared. He will go through a series of precautionary tests Thursday.
While facing a barrage of shots, Brodeur caught his right leg on the post and fell to the ice.
"I was concerned enough to leave the game," Brodeur said. "The doctor looked at it after the game and he thought it didn't look too bad, but we'll see what happens.
"My skate got caught and I twisted it. I heard it twist and I couldn't get up. All my body weight fell on it. I had to be really hurt to leave the game. We were still in the game at that point."
Andreychuk scored his first goal of the season 5:27 into the third period, snapping a 3-3 tie. He added a power-play goal with 6:33 remaining while Tampa Bay had a 5-on-3 advantage.
"I've always loved this building and I had a great time when I was here," Andreychuk said. "I have nothing but respect for this organization. I still like to score goals, and now we all have to chip in. I don't think anyone just wants to play defense."
The Lightning took a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds in on their first shot. Martin St. Louis took a pretty pass from Brad Richards and knocked it past Brodeur for his third of the season.
Tampa Bay (5-3-2) then pushed the lead to 2-0 in the closing minutes of the first period. Fredrik Modin skated past defenseman Paul Martin and beat Brodeur with a backhand shot. The Lightning outshot the Devils 16-3 in the opening period.
The Devils (4-5) controlled the second period, tying the game with goals by defensemen Sean Brown and Vladimir Malakhov. Brown scored off a good feed from Jamie Langenbrunner, who was set up behind the net. Brown ripped in a shot from the right corner for his first goal of the season at 1:57 of the second.
Malakhov scored on a blast from the blue line off work by Langenbrunner and Brown with just 2:23 left in the period.
Just 16 seconds into the third period, Sergei Brylin put the Devils ahead 3-2 with a wrist shot that caught goalie John Grahame off-guard.
However, the Lightning came right back and tied it on Vaclav Prospal's sixth goal of the season, just 1:08 later - 17 seconds into Dan McGillis' hooking penalty.
The third period was played at a blistering pace, with Brodeur making one diving save after another. Brodeur made 30 saves before leaving the game.
"It's just a matter of time before he gets hurt, if we keep giving up chances where he has to stand on his head all the time like that," Robinson said. "Something's going to happen."
Notes: Grahame stopped 20 of 23 shots for his fourth victory of the season. ... Clemmensen stopped only three shots. ... New Jersey LW Krzysztof Oliwa cleared waivers and was assigned to Albany of the AHL. Oliwa hasn't decided whether he will report. ... It was the second time the Devils allowed a season-high six goals. They didn't give up that many during the 2003-04 season. ... Lightning rookie Evegni Artyukhin earned on assist on Andreychuk's first goal for his first NHL point. ... Richards had three assists, giving him a team-high eight. ... The Lightning have won five straight from New Jersey.
(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.