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Elias lifts Devils over Lightning in shootout

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

Tuesday.

"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

next year.

"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."

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