The Tampa Bay Lightning have become streak busters.
Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne had early second-period goals, and the Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Friday night to end an opponent’s eight-game winning streak for the second consecutive game.
“Two wins against the two hottest teams in the NHL right now … we wanted to be the team to end it, so we did our job,” Tampa Bay centre Steven Stamkos said.
Tampa Bay also stopped Phoenix’s stretch of eight victories in a row with an 8-3 win over the Coyotes on Wednesday night.
Dwayne Roloson made a pad save on Ilya Kovalchuk’s shot during a breakaway early in the second period for the Lightning, who ended an NHL record-tying 12-game homestand at 7-3-2.
“I think we had a great homestand, overall,” Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier said.
New Jersey got a third-period goal from Mark Fayne. The Devils’ eight-game run was tied for the second longest in the NHL this season.
The Devils, 16-2-2 over their last 20 games, dropped 11 points behind Carolina, which is eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes beat Pittsburgh 4-1.
“Mathematically, we’re still in the hunt,” New Jersey centre Dainius Zubrus said. “I don’t think it’s going to change our approach for the next game.”
After St. Louis beat Devils goalie Johan Hedberg from the top of the left circle at 2:20 of the second, Gagne made it 2-0 from near the right circle 54 seconds later. Hedberg, making his eighth straight start, had allowed just one goal over his previous three games.
“I think they’re a really, really good hockey team,” Hedberg said. “They’ve got a lot of weapons.”
The Southeast Division-leading Lightning have a five-point lead—with one game in hand—on Washington, which lost 6-0 to the New York Rangers.
St. Louis has three goals and 11 points during an eight-game point streak. Gagne stopped a personal nine-game goal drought.
Hedberg kept the Devils within two goals later in the second by making in-close saves on Teddy Purcell and Stamkos.
“That was a difficult win,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said.
Elsewhere in the NHL, it was: San Jose 4 Calgary 3 (SO); Buffalo 4 Ottawa 2; St. Louis 5 Edmonton 0 ; N.Y. Rangers 6 Washington 0 ; Carolina 4 Pittsburgh 1; Columbus 5 Phoenix 3; Florida 2 Atlanta 1 (SO); and Minnesota 3 Anaheim 2 (OT).
At Tampa, Fla., Kovalchuk had an assist to extend his point streak to 12 games (seven goals, 14 points).
Hedberg had won his seven previous starts. He stopped 28 shots.
Roloson finished with 19 saves.
Devils right wing David Clarkson returned to play four shifts in the third after being cut on the right forearm by a skate one period earlier while finishing a check. He estimated the cut required around 18 stitches.
“I didn’t want to sit and watch, so I tried to go back and play,” Clarkson said. “They said I missed the things (with the cut) that could have been trouble, so it’s good. It was lucky.”
Sabres 4, Senators 2
At Buffalo, N.Y., Cody McCormick had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Miller finished with 29 saves to lift the Sabres.
Blues 5, Oilers 0
At Edmonton, Ben Bishop stopped 39 shots for his first career shutout and Chris Stewart had two goals as St. Louis defeated the Oilers.
Sharks 4, Flames 3 (SO)
At Calgary, Ryan Clowe scored the deciding goal in the shootout to lead the San Jose Sharks over the Flames.
Rangers 6, Capitls 0
At Washington, Erik Christensen had two goals and two assists, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots for his league-leading eighth shutout of the season for New York.
Hurricanes 4, Penguins 1
At Raleigh, N.C., Erik Cole continued his hot streak with a goal and an assist and Jussi Jokinen also scored and added an assist for Carolina.
Blue Jackets 5, Coyotes 3
At Columbus, Ohio, rookie Matt Calvert had three goals and an assist to help the Blue Jackets bounce back from an early two-goal deficit.
Panthers 2, Thrashers 1 (SO)
At Atlanta, Marty Reasoner scored his 12th goal and Steve Bernier added the deciding score in the shootout to help Florida stop a two-game slide.
Wild 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
At Anaheim, Calif., Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on a breakaway with seven seconds left in overtime as Minnesota stunned the Ducks.