Devils 4, Lightning 3 FINAL SO
|The Devils celebrate Zajac's tying goal with one second left.
The Devils played to the final buzzer and wound up stealing their first win of the season in Tampa Bay.
With the Devils trailing, 3-2, Travis Zajac
scored with one second left in regulation to tie the contest and secure New Jersey's first point of 2009-10. Then Jamie Langenbrunner
's second-round shootout winner clinched a 4-3 victory on Thursday night.
It was a thrilling way to shrug off an 0-2-0 start.
"Obviously losing the first two and bouncing back in a game like this – battling back – it's hopefully some momentum for us in our upcoming games," Zajac, who leads the Devils with two goals, told MSG Plus.
Jacques Lemaire, who earned his 200th win as Devils head coach, demonstrated the savvy that has made him the winningest bench boss in club history. He added Andy Greene
to the lineup for the first time this season, and it was Greene who swatted the puck toward the net where Zajac was able to bury it past Lightning netminder Mike Smith at 19:59.
delivered 41 saves, including 24 in the second period. He was perfect in the shootout against Steven Stamkos and Alex Tanguay, and added to his own career mark with his 29th shootout triumph.
After Stamkos' attempt hit the right post, Zach Parise
undressed Smith with a forehand deke to give the Devils a 1-0 shootout lead. Brodeur denied Tanguay with a left toe stop, and Langenbrunner ended it, 2-0, with a forehand deke of his own.
The Devils improved to 1-2-0 and continue their road trip Saturday at Florida and Monday at Washington. The first win comes as some relief, although the team never lost its confidence.
"We weren't feeling the pressure, honestly," Langenbrunner told MSG. "Jacques has been pretty laid back. He hasn't been on us about things. We think we played not too bad in the first two games. We made some mistakes, yeah, but we're a young team trying to figure our way through this a little bit. I think everyone's getting better and our time's still coming. We're working on things, and I think in the next week or so we should have everything back to Devils-style hockey where we're not making some of the mistakes we've been making."
The Devils led 1-0 after one period and 2-1 after two. Stamkos' second goal of the game tied it at 2 early in the third period. Todd Fedoruk would give Tampa Bay its first lead of the night when he beat Brodeur up high from the right circle to make it 3-2 at 5:41 of the third.
A key PK kept the Devils in it. They killed off Dainius Zubrus
' holding minor at 10:50 to keep the deficit at one goal.
Parise's first of the season – a power-play goal – gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 4:46 into the game. Zajac passed to Parise at the side of the net for a jam in front, and Smith wound up knocking the puck into his own net with the shaft of his goal stick.
Parise and Zajac both registered two-point efforts with a goal and an assist apiece.
"He's having a great game every night," Lemaire said of Parise. "He's a great example for all athletes. He works so hard, he's not overly big, but he's got a lot of drive. He never stops. Every shift he goes on the ice, he gives 100%"
In three games, the top line of Parise, Zajac and Langenbrunner has already combined for four goals and four assists.
"These guys have the potential to get these big goals," Lemaire said.
After Stamkos knotted the score at 1 at 9:49 of the second, Jay Pandolfo notched his first of the season with 1:51 left in the second, allowing the Devils to escape the period with a lead. Jersey's Team was outshot 25-9 in the second, 44-34 overall.
Pandolfo was standing in the right spot when David Clarkson
's wraparound attempt missed in front. Pandolfo pounced on the loose puck and tapped it inside the right post with his backhand at 18:09.
The Devils were caught with too many men early in the third period, and Stamkos tied it at 2 from the high slot at 1:52.
Clarkson has assists (3a) in back-to-back games…Pandolfo and Rob Niedermayer have points in consecutive contests (1g-1a)…Bryce Salvador
got the best of Zenon Konopka in their second-period fight.
|Three star selections