Bolts Cool Down Devils, 2-1

By on February 27, 2011

By: Dave Jarvis (RSEN Hockey/”Inside Hockey”)

Tampa, Fl. – (RSEN) The Tampa Bay Lightning (36-18-7) used a workman-like effort to cool off another hot team, as they beat the New Jersey Devils (26-31-4) Friday night at The St. Pete Times Forum by a score of 2-1. New Jersey came into the game riding an 8- game win streak as part of a 16-1-2 run over their last 19 games. 

The Lightning knew they had to play a conservative game in order to beat the Devils and their strategy showed early in the game as their play was measured and deliberate. It took the Bolts almost 9 minutes before they registered their first shot in the contest – much to the delight of the 19,563 relieved fans on hand.

The aggressive but patient approach Lightning Coach Guy Boucher spoke about before the game finally paid dividends early in the second period, as the Lightning used the face-off circle to get two goals in a 1:14 stretch.

The first goal came at the 2:20 mark when the Bolts’ Steven Stamkos won a draw in the Devils zone and directed the puck to Steve Downie. Downie then found forward Marty St. Louis, who was able to open the scoring by beating New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg. For St. Louis it was his 23rd goal of the season, continuing his own hot streak of 11 points in his last 8 games (3 goals and 8 assists).

Less than a minute later, Simon Gagne wristed a high, glove-side bullet past Hedberg to extend the Bolts lead to 2-0. The play started after Vinnie Lecavalier was chased out of the face-off circle and replaced by Teddy Purcell, who won the draw and directed the puck to Gagne for his 10th of the season.

New Jersey cut the lead to 2-1 at 8:13 of the third period when defenseman Mark Fayne scored his 4th goal of the season on a screened shot which Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson likely never saw.

Roloson was impressive in shutting the door the rest of the way to preserve the win for the Bolts, stopping 20 of 21 shots to earn the victory.  

The win gives the Lightning 79 points on the season for a firm hold on the Southeast Division, which they lead by five points over second-place Washington following the Capitals’ loss to the New York Rangers on Friday night. The Bolts are also positioned well in the Eastern Conference standings overall, as they hold second place alone.

The Lightning complete their 12-game marathon of a home-stand at 7-3-2; and now head on a 3-game road trip which sees the club playing the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Sunday before visiting New Jersey and Boston to finish the road trip. 

You can follow the Bolts on rocketsports-ent.com to get your entire up-to-the-minute trade deadline information. Updates are also available by following on twitter @davejarvisRSEN. 

Don’t forget to also listen every Saturday morning from 10 AM to Noon to the Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network radio program on Tampa’s ESPN 1040AM.

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