Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning-Devils: How New Jersey struck back to make it a series

NEWARK, N.J. — It is a series now.

The Devils found a way to slow the Lightning's offense and grinded their way to a 5-2 victory Monday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup quarterfinals.

The Lightning leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Prudential Center.

Stefan Noesen's goal with 7:05 to play was the difference. Blake Coleman and Ben Lovejoy scored empty-net goals in the final minute.

The Lightning knew what it was up against: A team desperately trying not to go down 3-0 , a building full of fans who had not seen a home playoff game since 2012 and a talented team that pushed back after falling behind by three and four goals, respectively, in Games 1 and 2.

"We know what we did in Game 1 and 2 is not good enough," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after Monday's morning skate. "We have to raise our game again to the results we need here or it's going to be a tough one."

The Lightning did raise its game, but the Devils matched it. Exceeded it, too.

The pressure was on the Devils, and the Lightning brought the momentum of a 2-0 series lead after scoring 10 goals in the first two wins.

"We're not going to take them lightly because we're up two," J.T. Miller said Monday morning. He mentioned the crowd, which he is familiar with having played in the building often as a member of the Rangers.

"Both teams want to win bad," Miller added. "I think they know and so do we that this is a big game. It can really set the tone for the rest of the series."

The Devils seized momentum midway through the first period and withstood a pair of one-goal deficits.

Noesen's goal, his first of the series, gave the Devils their first lead in three games. Cory Schneider, who was outstanding in his return to the starting role, made it stand up.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was pretty good, too.

Jersey had the momentum as the first period ended, but the Lightning was again on the power play.

Miller, a key piece of the Lightning's top power-play unit, spent the end of the period in the trainer's room after taking a puck to the side of his face. He dropped his gloves and pulled off his helmet as he skated off.

But Miller was out for the faceoff to start the third, and the Lightning power play did what it has been doing this series — scoring. This time it was Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning was back in front.

But not for long.

With Cedric Paquette in the box for tripping, the Lighting was  called for too many men on the ice. Skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, it took the Devils only 24 seconds to tie the score. Will Butcher beat Vasilevskiy top shelf from the top of the faceoff circle.

Once again a bad clearing attempt after a save by Vasilevskiy led directly to a Jersey goal.

In  Game 2 it was Anton Stalman who put the puck on the stick of a Devil. On Monday, it was Victor Hedman, and he put it on the stick of Taylor Hall, who beat Vasilevskiy for his second goal of the series.

The goal came not long after the Devils killed off a penalty, and it was a rather aggressive kill. It produced a pair of shorthanded shots,  both by Coleman. On the first, Vasilevskiy stopped the puck next to the post, but it squirted past him when Coleman pushed Hedman into the goalie and dislodging the net. Obviously, the goal was waved off.

But seconds later Coleman sped up the right boards with the Devils on a 2-on-1 and got off a shot that Vasilevskiy stopped.

The Lightning scored first, and again it was a power-play goal and again it came from Alex Killorn. It came 42 seconds into the second on a power play that carried over from the first period.

Like his two power-play goals Saturday, Killorn was stationed in front of the net. That's where Kucherov found him.

Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50

Comments
Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St. Louis (2000-14)St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame aft...
Published: 07/13/18
Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

The Lightning has completed Jon Cooper's coaching staff for the upcoming season, announcing on Thursday the hiring of Derek Lalonde, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild.Lalonde, 45, has steadily work...
Published: 07/12/18
Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

A busy few weeks of re-signing players continued Wednesday, as the Lightning brought back the last of their restricted free agents, signing left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800,000 contract for 2018-19.Erne, 23, was a second-round pick in 2013 and...
Published: 07/11/18
Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

CLEARWATER — Nikita Kucherov could have waited a year, allowing the demand for a top young NHL scorer to escalate as he hit restricted free agency next summer.But when the Lightning made him an offer to become the highest-paid player in the tea...
Published: 07/10/18
Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

The Lightning took another step toward securing its future Tuesday by announcing that right wing Nikita Kucherov will sign the richest contract in franchise history.Kucherov's eight-year contract extension will pay him an average of $9.5 million star...
Published: 07/10/18
Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

TAMPA — The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes hasn't ended for the Lightning.But the Nikita Kucherov sweepstakes is over before it began.The Lightning has locked up its star right winger. An eight-year extension that begins in the 2019-20 season will p...
Published: 07/10/18
Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

ST. PETERSBURG — When the call from the Hall came, there she was again.The girl with the "I (heart) U Marty" sign, in the newspaper again, this time on the cover of the June 27 Tampa Bay Times sports section. She was frozen in time, doing what ...
Published: 07/07/18
What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

TAMPA — Shortly after the excitement of the real possibility Thursday night that the Lightning could be trading for defenseman Erik Karlsson, fans quickly came to an uneasy place: What exactly would Tampa Bay give up to get the two-time Norris ...
Published: 07/06/18
The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

He wants to be here.This is the place.In case you'd missed it amid the gloom and doom of a Lightning season that came up short again, there are still people who want to play in Tampa Bay.One of them is Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson of Landsbro, Sweden. T...
Published: 07/06/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Rick Stroud returns from vacation to discuss reports that the Lightning will acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.He also talks about reaction to Jameis Winston's three-game suspension, the Rays' crazy home stand and which p...
Published: 07/06/18