The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (30-10-1) vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (16-16-10)
Season Series: The Devils have won all three previous meetings this seasons. The Devils won the two meetings in Tampa Bay utilizing the shootout and beat TB at home on Dec. 4th when Jamie Langenbrunner broke a 2-2 tie with 38.1 seconds left. The Devils have not lost a season series to Tampa Bay since 2006-07.
The Last Devils Game: Hard to find anything negative to say about it. The Devils came out of the game and really gave it to the Stars and kept it going through the 2nd and 3rd periods and Marty rolled to his 106th shutout.
The Last Lightning Game: The Lightning were on a roll and then Buffalo got 3 goals in the first 2:11 of game and outlasted the Lightning 5-3.
The Last Devils / Lighthing Game: As I mentioned above, the Lightning and Devils looked to be headed to an extra frame again until Jamie Langenbrunner tipped an Andy Greene shot from the point with 38.1 seconds remaining.
Tonight's Matchup: I give part of the credit to the success against the Stars to the pregame festivities. I think having the Stanley Cup in the building and celebrating a championship certainly makes a team hungry for wanting another, especially the guys that weren't here for one.
I'd like to see Marty get a rest tonight as he's had to do some work in the last 4 games and could probably benefit from a night off and the Lightning have a few guys that can be scary at times, which is a good workout for Denis.
There's no reason the Devils can't sweep the season series with the Lightning tonight as long as the continue the same work ethic they had against the Stars. I'm sure having lost the 3 previous meetings with the Devils is playing in the Lightning's head as well.
Prediction: Won't be a shutout and based on the previous three games, it will be a close one. Devils win 4-2 with an empty net goal.
For a view of this game from the Lightning's aspect, visit our friends over at The Hockey Bay Blog