Season series: Second of four meetings this season -- this is the completion of a home-and-home for New Jersey, which rallied for five goals in the third period for a 6-3 win at Prudential Center on Sunday. Tampa Bay played a game in between, blanking Washington 3-0 on Wednesday.
Big story: Dwayne Roloson has made an immediate impact with the Lightning since they acquired the veteran goaltender from the Islanders. Taking out of account a game in which Tampa got blitzed 8-1 by Pittsburgh and Roloson was pulled, in his other three starts he's shut out Southeast Division rival Washington twice and given up just one goal in a win over Ottawa.
"Do I need to talk? I can just smile," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said after Wednesday's victory. "You know what? He makes so many saves look easy and they're not."
Devils: With four days off in between games New Jersey wanted to have something to feel good about, and the Devils accomplished that with an offensive surge over the final 20 minutes Sunday. First, David Clarkson scored his second game-tying goal of the night on a power play. The go-ahead goal deflected in off the body of Jason Arnott and Dainius Zubrus extended the lead. Patrik Elias and Nick Palmieri added empty-net goals sandwiched around a late score by the Lightning, and the Devils had their first win of the new year.
"We've played a lot of hockey," said Martin Brodeur, who was the game's second star with a 33-save effort. "It's tough when you're trying to get out of something and it's game after game after game. We had positive stuff within games but we had a hard time putting it together. Today was a little bit better."
Lightning: In his Tampa Bay debut, Roloson led the team to a 1-0 overtime win in Washington. He didn't have to wait until sudden death to get some support from his teammates on Wednesday, asDominic Moore opened the scoring less than four minutes in. Sean Bergenheim also scored and set up a goal by Simon Gagne, and Roloson finished with 23 saves as the Lightning moved two points ahead of the Capitals for first place in the Southeast.
"We're going to stay humble," Bergenheim said. "This was a great win, but we've got another game on Friday (against New Jersey), and by then we'll definitely forgot about this."
Who's hot: Clarkson has 3 goals in as many games for the Devils. Brodeur has stopped 52 of the 55 shots he's faced since relieving Johan Hedberg in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers last Saturday, a .945 save percentage. … Moore has goals in consecutive games and a three-game points streak for the Lightning.
Injury report: New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov missed Sunday's game due to the death of his father. Forward Zach Parise (knee) and defensemen Bryce Salvador (concussion) and Matt Taormina (ankle) are on injured reserve. … Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith (knee) is on injured reserve.
Stat pack: Both goaltenders recorded their first assists of the season in their most recent game -- Brodeur assisted on Palmieri's goal against the Lightning, the first of the rookie's NHL career, and Roloson assisted on Moore's goal to start the scoring against the Capitals.
Puck drop: Boucher is a friend of the son of New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire, who admitted he has spoken to the first-year Tampa Bay coach about the profession on several past occasions.
"When you start (coaching) you want to get some information," Lemaire told the Newark Star-Ledger. "You have your own plan, which he does. And with the information he gets, some of it he can say, 'Well, I like this. I'll try it. This I don't like' and puts it aside. He keeps his own way of doing things. That's why he's doing well. He listens to what other people say and then he does the best he can do."