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Restraint? Ha. Lightning-Devils mix it up in early going of Game 4

Blake Coleman of the New Jersey Devils and Anton Stralman of the Tampa Bay Lightning battle during the first period. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEWARK, N.J. — Both sides were in agreement Tuesday that the shenanigans during the final minute of Monday's Game 3 would not carry over to Game 4.

"I think the emotion of a game in a series carries over, (but) what happened at end I don't think boils over too much, but you never know," Chris Kunitz said Tuesday. "Hopefully that creates a spark in the lineup, creates a little more urgency."

It created something.

Jersey's John Moore mixed it up in the first period with a couple of Lightning after some early whistles. The Lightning's Nikita Kucherov knocked the Devils' Sami Vatanen to the trainer's room with a big hit late in the period.

Alex Killorn drove Ben Lovejoy into the boards, which drew a penalty for boarding and caused Pavel Zacha of the Devils to make a run at Tony Cirelli. Yanni Gourde jumped to Cirelli's defense.

Then in the final minute, Brian Boyle (who also fought Mikhail Sergachev on Monday) and Miles Wood made a Kucherov sandwich near the boards. That started a scrum, and Anton Stralman and Blake Coleman received roughing penalties as did Wood.

When asked Tuesday if the last-minute fight would influence Game 4, Boyle said, "It shouldn't be if you have a little bit of restraint, especially in bigger moments."

In the early going Wednesday, restraint was not on the ice.

No Callahan again

RW Ryan Callahan missed his second straight game of the series with what is believed to be a right shoulder injury sustained at the end of the second period in Game 2. Coach Jon Cooper did not provide a timetable for his return.

Callahan was on the ice Wednesday for the optional morning skate.
He was replaced in the lineup by Cory Conacher.

C Tyler Johnson, who missed Tuesday's practice for body maintenance, was in the lineup.

A little help

Through the first three games, the Lightning received just four points from its defenseman, with Ryan McDonagh getting three assists in the first two games and Sergachev getting one.

"Our D has been a big part of our offense all year," Cooper said. "One thing we need to do better is get shots through. Game 2 I think our D only had five shots. We had many more shots (in Game 3), but not enough, too many blocked, too many missing the net. For us to be effective, we have to get our D involved."

They were involved in Game 3 when the Lightning received 16 shots from the defensemen in the loss with Victor Hedman and McDonagh leading the way with five each, tied for tops on the team. Sergachev had four. Braydon Coburn was the only defenseman without a shot.

Coburn, though, picked up an assist on Kucherov's first-period goal. Coburn appeared to have an assist minutes earlier when he dropped the puck to Conacher at the blueline, but Conacher's goal was waived off after video review showed the Lightning was offsides.

No surprises from Jersey boys

The Devils are giving the Lightning everything it expected during this series.

Devils LW Taylor Hall is dangerous when given time and space. The only think lacking in 19-year-old C Nico Hischier's game is experience. D Will Butcher can get pucks to the net and on and on.

"I wish I was going to be surprised," Cooper said. "I wish I would watch them not work as hard. I wish that would be a nice surprise. I wish they would not execute so many passes. That would be a great surprise. But they are. There's no real surprises. I like their team. They have a nice team."

He said it

"His bank account's evolved, I know that." — Cooper when asked how Killorn has evolved since reaching the NHL. Killorn is in the second year of a seven-year contract with an average annual salary of $4.45 million.

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

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