- Martin Brodeur notched his third shutout of the season by stopping all 33 Tampa Bay shots. The shutout is the 124th of Brodeur's career.
- Damien Brunner stayed hot by opening the scoring the second period. Unlike last night, when Marc-Andre Fleury stoned him on a breakaway, on Saturday, Brunner was able to beat Anders Lindback for the goal.
- Dainius Zubrus had a fantastic third period, scoring twice to help seal the deal for the Devils.
- Jaromir Jagr assisted on both third period goals.
For a while, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Lightning scored a goal.
That goal never came.
Martin Brodeur stopped 33 shots en-route to a shutout, in what may be his finest performance of the season. With the Lightning buzzing in the second period, Brodeur shut the door to keep New Jersey in the game.
Enter Damien Brunner.
The resurgence of the young Swiss forward is a huge lift for the Devils. He started the season with three goals in his first three games, but after a lengthy slump, he found himself as a healthy scratch for a few games.
For Brunner, consistency seems to be the issue. There's no doubt that he has the skating and shooting ability to be a 20-plus goal scorer in the NHL, but month-long slumps can't happen. Perhaps the benching, coupled by his strong play of late will keep him focused. If he's able to be a more reliable contributor, it makes the Devils a much more dangerous team.
Not to be lost in the fray is the play of the first line of Travis Zajac, Jaromir Jagr and Dainius Zubrus. With two goals tonight, after scoring against Pittsburgh on Friday, Zubrus now has seven tallies on the season. For Jagr, his two assists give him 11 goals and 17 helpers on the season, a team leading 28 points.
"I don't think it was our best game, but we'll take it. Of course Marty played great, so we'll take a few days off and go back at it," said Zubrus.
With the first line clicking, along with Brunner and Michael Ryder finding the back of the net again, it's a good sign.
Considering the effort that they had during the second and third periods against Pittsburgh, this was almost a must-win. Despite their recent struggles, they're now just five points behind second place Washington.
As they forge on into the middle-portion of the 2013-2014 season, it's all about finding a way to be on the positive end of that deciding goal. The Devils have played 19 one-goal games this season, with five of those being shootout losses.
With a close game almost to to be expected, it's all about finding a way to keep teams off the board late, or get that big late-game goal. The Devils have displayed all of those lately. They surrendered late leads to Montreal and New York, failed to score when in control against Pittsburgh and scored a big goal in overtime like they did against the Rangers.
The win over Tampa Bay was a strong response to last night's loss, but they have to build on this performance heading into next week. The Devils will take on Ottawa on Wednesday and Anaheim on Friday from Prudential Center before heading to Washington on Saturday for the second half of a back-to-back.