Home > Season Preview > Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Tampa Bay Lightning

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Tampa Bay Lightning

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s second preview, we go to the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Devils took three of four from the Lightning last season. Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Devils vs. Lightning – Historical Data

In 71 all-time regular season games against the Lightning, the Devils are 43-17-7-4. New Jersey averages 3.30 goals against the Tampa Bay while allowing the Lightning to average only 2.18 goals against them. Last season, the teams met four times, with the Devils winning the season series, 3-1-0.

The Devils won the first meeting of the season, 4-3, in a shootout. Zach Parise opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, at 4:46 of the first period. Steven Stamkos put the Lightning on the board, tying the game, 1-1, with an even-strength tally at 9:49 of the second period. The lead wouldn’t last the period, as Jay Pandolfo put the Devils back on top, 2-1, with a goal at 18:09 of the second.

Stamkos once again tied the game, 2-2, with his second goal at 1:52 of the third period. Todd Fedoruk gave the Lightning their first lead, 3-2, with an even-strength goal at 5:41 of the third. The Devils waited until the last second to make a comeback, with Travis Zajac tying the game, 3-3, at 19:59 of the period. Both Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner scored shootout goals, and Martin Brodeur blanked Tampa Bay’s Stamkos and Alex Tanguay on their attempts to earn a 4-3 win.

The Devils once again defeated the Lighting, 2-1, in a shootout on October 31 at the Prudential Center. Zajac struck first, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, only 50 seconds into the second period. But Stamkos would ruin another Devils lead, pulling the Lightning even, 1-1, with a goal at 4:34 of the third period. After playing through a scoreless overtime, both teams went to the shootout. The big guns could do nothing against Brodeur and Antero Niittymaki, with both goalies perfect through three rounds. But David Clarkson would change that, as his shootout goal in the fourth round clinched a win and sent the Lightning home on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision.

Brodeur finished with 18 saves for the win. Nittymaki stopped 37 shots in the loss.

The Devils extended their winning streak over the Lightning to three games with a 3-2 win on December 4. After a scoreless first period, Vincent Lecavlier netted the game’s first goal, giving the Lighting a lead, 1-0, at 1:26 of the second period. Brian Rolston tied the game, 1-1, with a powerplay tally at 1:15 of the third period. Niclas Bergfors scored the second powerplay goal of the period, putting the Devils ahead, 2-1. The Lightning would even the score, with Steve Downie netting a powerplay goal at 17:00 to tie the game, 2-2. Langenbrunner stole the game for the Devils in the final minute, putting New Jersey ahead, 3-2, at 19:21 of the final period.

Continue after the jump for the rest of the preview!

Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

The Lightning denied the Devils a sweep of the season series, defeating New Jersey, 4-2, at the Prudential Center. Downie opened the scoring, giving the Lightning a lead, 1-0, with a powerplay tally at 6:58 of the first period. Brandon Bochenski doubled the lead, scoring the Lightning’s second powerplay goal in a row at 5:13 to put Tampa Bay ahead, 2-0. Stamkos extended the lead, putting the Lightning ahead, 3-0, at 10:04 of the second. But the Devils wouldn’t go away quietly.

Zajac put the Devils on the board, cutting the lead to 3-1 at 8:36 of the third period. Stamkos scored his second goal of the game at 9:45 of the third to put the Lightning on top, 4-1. Parise would score a goal at 19:26 of the period to cut the lead to 4-2, but it was too little, too late.

Lightning vs. Devils – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Lightning will face off four times this season, all coming after January 1. The teams kick off the season series with a home-and home series, starting January 9 in New Jersey and finishing January 14 in Tampa Bay. The two teams will finish the season series with two games in seven days, beginning on February 25 and ending March 2.

The Lightning began their offseason by making several changes in the front office. The biggest move came with the hiring of Steve Yzerman, who won a Stanley Cup championship while working in the front office for the Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning then took care of the players with a busy off-season. On July 1, Tampa Bay re-signed Martin St. Louis to a four-year extension and signed Dan Ellis to a two-year deal. The team also dealt Andrej Meszaros to Philadelphia for a draft pick. Tampa Bay bolstered its defense by signing Pavel Kubina to a two-year contract, but the team didn’t stop there.

Tampa Bay bolstered its offense, trading Matt Walker and a 2011 fourth-round draft pick for talented scorer Simon Gagne. The team also took care of another one of its own, re-signing Downie to a two-year contract.

The Lightning should be better this season, but I still don’t think they’ll be a juggernaut in the Eastern Conference. The potential to be a high scoring team is there, but the Lightning need to make defensive stops as well. Ellis brings some stability to a position, but he still hasn’t started even half of a team’s games in his career. We all know Stamkos and the scorers will do their job, but I don’t see the Lightning as a great defensive team. Plus, the Devils have owned the Lightning in their matchups, so it’s not crazy to think that the Devils should win half of these games.

Stat Pack

Stamkos led all scorers with seven points (five goals, two assists)…St. Louis led all Lightning scorers with five assists…Zajac led all Devils skaters with five points (three goals, two assists)…In 55 games against the Lightning, Brodeur is 31-15-5-2 with a 2.05 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

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