While they may have lost three of four games entering their matchup against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to rebound at the St. Pete Times Forum where they have enjoyed much of their success in this 2011 season. But the woes from the road continued, as the Bolts fell to the Devils 5-4.
The Devils jumped out to a two goal lead on scores by Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. Steve Downie and Blair Jones, however, would even it up scoring just a minute and twenty seconds apart to tie it at two before the end of the first period.
Zach Parise completely took over the game in the second period to give the Devils a three goal lead. Parise scored his ninth of the season for a 3-2 lead, and then assisted on Ilya Kovalchuck's 9th of the year as well as Adam Henrique's shorthanded goal. Parise's assists were beautiful, showing amazing patience on the breakaway to beat Mathieu Garon. Garon replaced starting netminder Dwayne Roloson, who was pulled after Parise notched Jersey's third goal of the night just 56 seconds into the second period. It was a disheartening showing for Roloson.
The Bolts, who outshot the Devils by 14, tried to make it interesting in the third, closing it to a one goal lead. Steven Stamkos led the attack, scoring on his first shot of the night nine and a half minutes into the final period. The goal was set up by Dominic Moore, who did yeoman's work in the corner to keep the chance alive. Moore's work moved the puck out of the corner and when Patrik Elias fanned on a clear attempt, the puck landed right on the stick of Stamkos, who went top shelf from point blank range to beat Johan Hedberg.
Stamkos added his second goal of the night with 33 seconds remaining, closing Tampa to within one goal. With Garon out of the net, Stamkos took a cross box feed from Pavel Kubina, one timing it home for his 18th goal of the season. Stamkos is now tied for the league lead. But the Bolts final rush would fall short, as the Devils burned the final 30 seconds and sealed the 5-4 win.
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