Tampa Bay Lightning's game with New Jersey Devils suspended over light troubles at Devils' arena

The Prudential Center ice is empty after half the bank of lights in the arena went out midway through the second period.

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The Prudential Center ice is empty after half the bank of lights in the arena went out midway through the second period.

NEWARK, N.J. — General manager Brian Lawton said at one point during the 102-minute delay of the Lightning's game with the Devils, he graciously offered New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire to "accept their forfeit."

"Jacques had a good laugh," Lawton said.

A sense of humor was an asset during a frustrating Friday night at the Prudential Center, where a busted circuit breaker knocked out a bank of lights and forced postponement of the game with 9:12 left in the second period and Tampa Bay leading 3-0.

Colin Campbell, head of hockey operations for the league, said in a statement there was "no alternative."

Lawton said he was told there were no guarantees the lights could be fixed. At one point, MSG, the network that televised the game in New York, showed an arena worker looking at a bank of circuit breakers, shaking his head.

That the Lightning plays tonight in Philadelphia and the Devils in Montreal also was a consideration.

The game will resume from the point at which it was stopped, the league said.

"Things happen," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's not nature. It's just something that happened in the building.

"Yeah, you're frustrated it happened, but you have to move on. There's no advantage for anybody. It's a thorn in everybody's side."

Tampa Bay, which has lost 10 straight to New Jersey, was a thorn in the Devils' side. Outshot 20-7, it built its lead with power-play tallies by Steve Downie and Brandon Bochenski, and Steven Stamkos' team-best 22nd goal.

Forty-four seconds after Stamkos' goal, the lights went out in one end of the rink, not completely but enough to cloak the ice in a kind of gray shadow.

As the delay grew, players went to the locker rooms. Some stretched, Lightning goaltender Mike Smith said. Some sat and talked.

"Some guys were moving around a little bit, trying to stay somewhat alert," Smith said. "After that, guys were watching another hockey game" on TV.

"We just sat around and talked, rode the bike a little bit to keep warmed up," Devils defenseman Mike Mottau said. "We didn't know what was going on."

As of late Friday, no one knew when the game would be resumed.

This was supposed to be the Lightning's final visit to New Jersey. But with Tampa Bay off until Tuesday after tonight's game and the Devils to play Tuesday in New York, Tocchet said perhaps the game could be played Sunday.

The good news? At 11:35 p.m., the lights came back on.

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Tampa Bay Lightning's game with New Jersey Devils suspended over light troubles at Devils' arena 01/08/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 12:19am]

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