Lightning 5, Devils 2
Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:33 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Nate Thompson struck for a career-high two goals, and Anders Lindback made 25 saves when the Tampa Bay Lightning cruised to a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Prudential Center.
Thompson's second goal of the game 8:36 into the third period sent many of the hometown fans to the exits, but those remaining witnessed an entertaining finish. After taking a feed from Cory Conacher between the circles, Thompson ripped a shot into the top left corner, just under the crossbar, on backup goalie Keith Kinkaid for a 4-0 lead.
The Devils rallied for two quick goals to pull within 4-2. Then, with less than two minutes remaining in the third, a loose puck slid along the goal line but was swept away by Tampa Bay defenseman Sami Salo. Kinkaid was pulled for an extra attacker, and B.J. Crombeen scored into an empty net with 1:20 left.
Adam Henrique denied Lindback his first shutout of the season when he scored off a nifty backhand attempt in front at the 13:44 mark. The shorthanded goal was a League-leading sixth for the Devils.
Patrik Elias connected for a power-play goal off a scramble in the slot off assists from Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk at 15:15 as the Devils pared the deficit to two.
The victory enabled the Lightning to snap a five-game losing streak and avenge a 4-2 loss to the Devils from Feb. 7. The Devils lost their sixth straight (0-5-1) for the first time since Dec. 17 to Dec. 29, 2010.
The Lightning forced Devils coach Peter DeBoer to replace starting goalie Johan Hedberg with Kinkaid after rookie Alexander Killorn gave the visitors a 3-0 lead 13:13 into the second period. Hedberg, who allowed three goals on 11 shots, has lost his past seven starts. Martin Brodeur is on injured reserve with back soreness.
Kinkaid's best save came 1:08 into the third when he denied Steven Stamkos off a breakaway when he extended his left pad and turned away the NHL's leading goal-scorer.
Kinkaid, in his NHL debut, made 12 saves. His first, which deflected off his left shoulder, came with 1:33 remaining in the second on a shot from the right point by Salo.
Kinkaid's appearance marked the first time since December 2010 that a goalie other than Brodeur or Hedberg was playing between the pipes.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead early in the second when Killorn received a feed from Vincent Lecavalier at the Devils blueline, patiently skated into the zone and took the puck backhand-to-forehand before feeding Martin St. Louis at the left post. St. Louis made no mistake, dropping in his sixth goal of the season to Hedberg's short side at 5:53. Hedberg got a piece of the puck with his right pad, but it wasn't enough.
New Jersey's Alexei Ponikarovsky just missed tying the game 3:32 into the second when his snapshot from the far wall rang off the goalpost.
Tampa Bay's 3-0 lead after two periods marked the third time this season the Lightning held their opponent scoreless through two periods.
The Lightning opened a 1-0 lead 17:04 into the first when Thompson took a pass from Conacher down the slot and snapped home his first goal in 10 games past Hedberg. Conacher was able to knock the puck out of the air in the right circle before backhanding a pass to Thompson.
Lindback looked sharp in the opening period, turning back nine shots.
Lindback, making his first start since Feb. 24 in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, had two big saves 9:38 into the first to keep the game scoreless. Zajac, who centered the third line with Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier, had a good shot from the right point turned away. Lindback then turned away Bernier on the rebound.