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Tampa Bay Lightning beats New Jersey Devils 4-2

NEWARK, N.J.— It was a strange scene Sunday night at the Prudential Center.

About 3,000 people rattled around the 16,000-seat arena. Though the game began where Friday's suspended contest had left off — with 9:12 left in the second period and the Lightning ahead 3-0 — Arlette sang the national anthem.

And the opening faceoff was at the dot in front of the Tampa Bay bench, next to the Devils' blue line.

Oh, and the lights were on, the better to see the conclusion of the Lightning's 4-2 victory over the top team in the East. It was a nice end to an otherwise dreary 1-2-0 road trip.

"A huge game for us," defenseman Matt Walker said. "At the end of the day, we beat a really good team and got two massive points."

Steven Stamkos had two goals, one Friday and a critical one 9:45 into the third period, 69 seconds after Travis Zajac had cut New Jersey's deficit to two.

Steve Downie and Brandon Bochenski had power-play goals Friday, and goalie Mike Smith had 33 saves in the game as Tampa Bay (17-17-10) regained .500.

"A big win for us," said Stamkos, who has a team-best 23 goals, which ties his rookie season total. "We'll take it any way we can get it right now."

The three-game trip was scheduled to end after Saturday's loss in Philadelphia. But when a bad circuit breaker at the Prudential Center knocked out a bank of lights during Friday's game in New Jersey, the game was suspended and resumed Sunday.

The Lightning likely will ask the Devils or the league to reimburse it for the extra travel, lodging and food expenses.

It might ask, too, if they have seen Tampa Bay's offense.

The Lightning had a season-low 14 shots — seven Friday, seven Sunday and six total for Stamkos — after getting 18 against the Flyers. Puck possession has been an issue, except for the work by Marty St. Louis on Stamkos' second goal.

The right wing sprinted to beat Devils defenseman Andy Greene to the puck in the New Jersey zone and centered to Stamkos, who slammed a one-timer past goalie Yann Danis.

Danis was in to give a breather to Martin Brodeur, who has played 41 of 43 games and Friday allowed three goals on seven shots against the Lightning.

Even so, Stamkos said, "Give all the credit to (St. Louis). He hustled … and picked that guy's pocket. The goal took the pressure off us a little bit and gave us a cushion."

And it helped bring some normalcy to a weekend that was anything but.

"It was a strange last few days," coach Rick Tocchet said.

"Probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Walker said, "hopefully."

Lightning 1 2 1 4
Devils 0 0 2 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Downie 9 (Foster, Malone), 6:58 (pp). PenaltiesKonopka, TB, major (fighting), 2:16; Letourneau-Leblond, NJ, major (fighting), 2:16; Pelley, NJ (tripping), 5:46; Ohlund, TB (tripping), 8:35; Lecavalier, TB (high-sticking), 17:14.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Bochenski 1 (Stamkos, Foster), 5:13 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 22 (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 10:04. PenaltiesSalvador, NJ (high-sticking), :38; Salvador, NJ (tripping), 4:32; Rolston, NJ (goaltender interference), 13:00; Pandolfo, NJ (delay of game), 18:22.

Third Period4, New Jersey, Zajac 12 (Langenbrunner, Oduya), 8:36. 5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 23 (St. Louis, Bochenski), 9:45. 6, New Jersey, Parise 20 (Zajac, Langenbrunner), 19:26. PenaltiesMalone, TB (hooking), 6:25; Konopka, TB (holding), 17:16. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 4-5-5—14. New Jersey 14-11-10—35. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 2 of 5; New Jersey 0 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, Smith 10-11-6 (35 shots-33 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 27-11-1 (7-4), Danis (10:48 second, 7-6). A15,129 (17,625).

Lightning 4

Devils 2

Tampa Bay Lightning beats New Jersey Devils 4-2 01/10/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 10, 2010 11:29pm]
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