TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) — The New Jersey Devils did not let an
early deficit affect their winning ways.
Patrik Elias scored the game-winning goal in the second round of
a shootout, lifting the Devils to a 3-2 triumph over the Tampa
Bay Lightning on Thursday.
All-Star Zach Parise tallied in the bonus format and registered
his team-leading 35th goal of the season in the third period
while Brian Rolston also scored in regulation for New Jersey,
which bounced back from a 4-0 setback to the Florida Panthers on
“It was a nice win for us,” Rolston said. “It was a good
gut-check for us, and we came back and (goaltender Kevin) Weekes
played strong for us and it was big for us.”
Ryan Malone netted two goals in the first period for the
Lightning, who have dropped three contests in a row.
“Our guys played hard,” Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. “I
think the common denominator here is we start to get away from
the game plan. That’s the frustrating part and we have to work
on that more. That’s something that can’t happen this year or
“They’ve got some pretty good shooters there. They made some
pretty good moves. I’m not sure any goalie could stop that
first (shootout) goal by Elias.”
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier beat Weekes with a
backhander in the first round of the bonus format, but Parise
evened the score in the following set.
Vaclav Prospal’s wrist shot was denied before Elias solved Karri
Ramo with a snap shot in the second round. Weekes secured the
victory by turning aside Malone’s attempt in the third set.
Malone gave Tampa bay a 2-0 lead in the opening session, but the
Devils were able to slowly creep back thanks to a stellar
39-save performance from Weekes, who started in place of Scott
Clemmensen for the second time in seven games.
“I thought, especially during the last two periods, we really
started creating some things offensively,” New Jersey coach
Brent Sutter said. “We played with more composure with the puck
and outside of the second goal, (Weekes) played extremely well.”
Rolston cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal at 2:16
of the second and Parise forged a tie on the man advantage 73
seconds into the third by unleashing a wrister from the low slot
that sailed by Ramo.
“We had a lot of good opportunities and the score could have
been lopsided our way,” Rolston said. “Their goalie played well
for them, too. We got two big power-play goals and then a great
job by our shooters in the shootout.”
Ramo stopped 38 shots for the Lightning, who lost for the eighth
time in 10 contests (2-6-2).
“They’re all really good players and I haven’t been my best this
year (in the shootout), but we just need to keep trying,” Ramo
said. “The shooters were good and their goalie was better than
me in the shootout.”