Who: Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils
When: 7:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
Media: TV - MSG+ (Channel listings); Radio - WFAN (660 AM or 101.9 FM)
Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)
- Tonight’s game closes out the team’s fifth of ten sets of back-to-back games. The Devils are 2-3-0 in first games and 2-2-0 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
- New Jersey is 28-10-3 all-time at home vs. Tampa Bay, including 9-2 at Prudential Center.
- Despite allowing a power play goal last night, the Devils’ penalty kill unit is 12/13 over the past three games.
- Marek Zidlicky posted the sixth two-goal game of his career last night and first since Janaury 19, 2009 at Chicago.
- It was the first two-goal game by a Devils’ defenseman since February 4, 2012 (Kurtis Foster at Philadelphia).
- Ryan Carter assisted on both of Zidlicky’s goals for his first multi-point game since November 19, 2011 at Tampa Bay (1g-1a). He now has points in back-to-back games (3a) since his return to the lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury.
Forwards Defense Goalie
Elias-Loktionov-Kovalchuk Salvador-Fayne Hedberg
Inactives: Harrold, Volchenkov, Matteau
Welcome home: It was a long and unkind road trip for the Devils, who return to the comforts of the Prudential Center after going 0-2-1 on their most recent trip. The Devils will play four of their next five and six of their next eight games at home, where the Devils have a 6-2-2 record, as opposed to their 4-5-3 road mark. I have to think the home fans will help give the Devils a jump, but I'll be interested to see how the crowd reacts if the Devils fall behind or end up looking listless early in the game.
Lineup issues: No morning skate means no expected lineups. Pete DeBoer said during his pregame availability that Janssen would be in the lineup for Matteau and did say there would be line changes as a result -- but he stopped short of saying what those changes would be. I'd like to see Elias with Kovy tonight, if only to break up the Elias-Clarkson monotony for a game or two. Also, the new combos would create some interesting matchup problems for Tampa. They could have a very hard time stopping that top line while the Gionta-Zajac-Bernier likely would be a bear for Lightning stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Also, I'm really hoping Barch and Janssen play together and clothesline Vinny Lecavalier at some point. Because, I mean, what other purpose would they serve?
Moose Watch: It's Hedberg in net again, despite going 0-4-1 in his last five starts. DeBoer seems convinced that Moose will end up playing his way out of this slump, but I'm less than convinced. DeBoer has already admitted he's concerned about Hedberg's confidence and I'm concerned about a 39-year-old goalie playing five straight, including both sets of a back-to-back set. What if Hedberg is tired and gives up a couple early ones? Are you going to pull him and put untested Keith Kinkaid in during the middle of a period? I just think starting Hedberg doesn't leave DeBoer a lot of outs, but I guess we'll just have to see what Hedberg does with the opportunity.