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Devils' Dainius Zubrus hurts Tampa Bay Lightning two ways in win

TAMPA — Dainius Zubrus' job was to quash the offense of the Lightning's top line Sunday. He did that and plenty more.

Zubrus had a career-best four goals for the Devils, tripling his season total. He and linemates Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias, meanwhile, stuck Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Ryan Malone each with a minus-4.

"We've played well against top lines," he said, "We try to make them play defense, and (Sunday) it paid off."

Gionta scored his sixth goal and had an assist, and Elias had three assists.

SHOT DOWN: Malone scored on his first career penalty shot, at 16:42 of the second period, but he said a third-period turnover at the blue line that led to a Zubrus breakaway score sapped the joy from it.

Malone earned the penalty shot by being taken down from behind by LW Jay Pandolfo after he took a pass up the middle from D Marek Malik and drove toward G Scott Clemmensen.

Malone flicked his penalty shot under Clemmensen's glove for his fourth goal of the season. It was the Lightning's sixth penalty-shot goal in 27 all-time opportunities, but its third in its past four.

BACK AGAIN: G Karri Ramo said he took a disappointing assignment to minor-league Norfolk shortly after the season started as a "little push forward" and did not dwell on not making the Lightning as at least a backup.

Called up this weekend as a hedge against starter Mike Smith's lower-body injury, which kept Smith on the bench Sunday, Ramo entered in the second period after Olie Kolzig allowed five goals. He made 15 saves on 17 shots.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Marty St. Louis' second-period goal gave him 500 points as a Lightning. … Rookie Steven Stamkos was benched for nearly 15 minutes over the second and third periods. "Down low he's been struggling a little bit," interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's not just him. We have some guys who just weren't ready." … Lightning scratches were G Mike Smith and D Lukas Krajicek, both with lower-body injuries, and LW David Koci, who was a healthy scratch. Devils scratches were C John Madden (foot) and G Martin Brodeur (elbow).

Devils' Dainius Zubrus hurts Tampa Bay Lightning two ways in win 11/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 1:23pm]
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