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What does 3-0 vs. the Lightning mean to the Devils? Not much

Devils coach John Hynes said picking up on Lightning tendencies was biggest thing learned during regular-season sweep by his team.
Playoff games feature more checking, as Lightning's Ondrej Palat does during a 2016 Eastern Conference Finals game against the Penguins. (Times file)
Published Apr. 12, 2018

TAMPA — The Devils won all three games this season against the Lightning by one goal, including a 5-4, shootout victory in New Jersey the first time they met this year.

What can be taken from that?

If you're Devils coach John Hynes, not much.

"I think you take some things," Hynes said. "I don't necessarily think the results of those games will have an impact on what happens tonight. So, for us, we haven't focused on who won or lost those games, but more getting familiar with Tampa, some of their tendencies, some of their players. Probably their last game we played against them they had the guys they got at the trade deadline. We take some information, but we don't put a huge, huge amount of stock in it."

RELATED: Tom Jones and Roger Mooney break down the series

The Devils won 5-4 in a shootout with Peter Budaj in the Lightning net on Oct. 17 at Jersey.

The Devils win 4-3 in Feb. 17 in Tampa and 2-1 on March 24 at Jersey. Andrei Vasilevskiy played in those two games.

Keith Kinkaid, who starts tonight for the Devils, was in net for the March 24th game.

The Lightning finished the regular season with an NHL-high 290 goals this season, though Lightning coach Jon Cooper, when asked earlier this week about his team's scoring depth, said his team struggled to score against the Devils.

"The one thing we do have in our pocket is we know we can score," he said. "We've got some guys that can put the puck in the net. Now you're getting down to teams that are really close and teams that check and teams that have been doing this for 82 games. And you've got to fight through that stuff and find your space. The big thing is you can't pass up shots. We can't play that type of game where we're looking to make 6 or 7 passes and put it in the net. It's got to be attack mentality to have success."

RELATED: How will the Lightning stop Taylor Hall?

Cooper did mention Thursday morning that of the three playoff games played Wednesday, two ended in shutouts and one of those was a 1-0 game where the Golden Knights beat the Kings.

"Goals are a premium for a lot of teams," Cooper said. "You're going to get checked, and so you have to find a way to fight though it cause if you don't, you're going to be in trouble."

Contact Roger Mooney at rmooney@tampabay.com. Follow @rogermooney50.

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