Devils Comes Up Short, Lose 4-3 To Lightning
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Martin St. Louis scored three goals and set up another to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
Mathieu Garon made 19 saves and set up St. Louis’ first goal as the Lightning snapped a two-game losing streak less than 24 hours after being blown out 8-1 by the Penguins. Teddy Purcell added three assists for Tampa Bay, which has gone 11-5-2 in its last 18 in making a playoff push.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, Petr Sykora and Zach Parise scored for the Devils, who dropped their second straight game after going 9-1-1 since the All-Star break. The setback spoiled the debut of defenseman Marek Zidlicky, acquired from Minnesota on Friday.
Defenseman Matt Gilroy gave the Lightning the lead for good at 3-2 when he scored 41 seconds after Sykora tied the game by firing the puck into an open net after taking a cross-ice pass from Steve Bernier.
St. Louis, who got his two goals in the second period, got the winner and capped his second hat trick this month and the sixth of his career by re-directing Purcell’s shot from the right side boards past a defenseless Martin Brodeur at 10:18. It was his 22nd goal of the season and sixth in the last six games.
The Devils got a final power play with a minute to go when St. Louis was sent off but they did not come close to tying the game.
The 36-year-old St. Louis wiped out a 1-0 Devils lead in the second period. Garon set up his first goal with a breakout pass that Steven Stamkos nudged forward to the right wing for a snap shot between the circles that whizzed into the top corner of the net.
St. Louis’ second goal was the easiest of the three. It came on a power-play rebound of a shot by Purcell with the net open.
Ponikarovsky had given the Devils a 1-0 lead 12:07 into the first period with an unassisted goal. He stole the puck from Ryan Malone low in the right circle, skated in front and easily beat Garon, who is 9-3-2 in his last 14 starts.
Garon was outstanding, especially early in the third period when he stopped Zach Parise in close on consecutive shots on a power play.
NOTES: Purcell has points in a career-high six straight games. … St. Louis’ other hat trick this month came Feb. 4 vs. Florida. … Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. … Devils rookie D Adam Larsson returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a bruised lower back. … The Lightning will play 10 of their next 12 at home. … Garon got his second assist of the season.