The Devils have lost the first two games of the season and are off to their worst start since 2001/2002. They were blown out by the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 in their season opener and then played a better game against the New York Rangers but made some mistakes that resulted in a 3-2 loss. Both games were at home and now the Devils head out on a 3 game road trip.
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-2-0) vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1-1) and the first meeting of the season.
The Last Game: The Devils played better against the Rangers but they still made a few mistakes, left guys on the ice a little too long and the Rangers were able to take advantage of that. In the end, the Rangers scored the game winner with 22:10 left to play in the game and the Devils just couldn't put one past Henrik Lundqvist.
Game Thoughts: The Devils top line hasn't been able to really put anything together. Sure, that line was able to put together a nice goal the other night against the Rangers but for the most part, they've been a little disappointing. The Devils are 2 for 11 so far on the powerplay including some really horrible looking 5 on 3 oppurtunities through 2 games. The Devils need to capitalize on those types of chances should the Lightning hand those to them tonight. The Penalty kill has allowed 2 goals in the 9 times they've been shorthanded, something that ended up really hurting the Devils the other night against the Rangers. The 4th line that played on Monday night was absolutely horrific. They need to find their game because the Devils need to roll 4 lines effectively. The Devils need to get to goalie Mike Smith early.
As for Marty, he had a bad game against Philly and a better game against the Ranges but ultimately let in a soft goal that eventually stood as the game winner. His confidence is shaken and he needs to get on top of that right away. Sometimes, being on the road, away from home and family can be just the prescription needed to adjust any type of confidence problem.
Whenever the Devils play the Lightning, I always worry about Lecavalier killing us but it's not just him now. Tanguay, who's off to a slow start, will eventually wake up, St. Louis is always dangerous and Stamkos is certainly someone to worry about.
If you are looking for the Tampa Bay Lightning point of view for this game, head over to read our friend over at The Hockey Bay.
Just a little side note, the first win for Jaques Lemaire as the new Devils coach in 1993 came in the form of a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. I'm just saying...
Updates via twitter tonight as they play.