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(Thursday, February 7th)
Final Score: New Jersey 4, Tampa Bay 2
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Patrik Elias recorded a goal and two assists on Thursday, as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2, at Prudential Center.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Andy Greene each added a goal and an assist, while Adam Henrique also lit the lamp for the Devils, who have won three straight.
Martin Brodeur saved 17 shots in the victory.
"Our goalies are making the saves at the right time, we're blocking shots at the right time, and everyone is playing a part," Elias said.
Nate Thompson and Matt Carle each scored once for the Lightning, who have lost three straight on the heels of a five-game winning streak.
Anders Lindback was charged for all four goals on 27 shots in the setback.
After a scoreless first period, New Jersey struck just under 3 1/2 minutes into the second. Henrique won an offensive zone faceoff before pounding home a rebound from his knees off an Anton Volchenkov point blast to make it 1-0.
Tampa evened things later in the second when Martin St. Louis stole Brodeur's clearing attempt to set up Thompson's one-timer from the top of the left circle, but New Jersey took the lead for good later in the second while on the penalty kill.
Kovalchuk stole a pass near his own blue line and rushed in a 2-on-1. The Russian sniper patiently waited for the defender to make a move before ripping a wrister from the left circle that sailed past the glove side of Lindback to give the Devils a 2-1 edge at the 17:34 mark.
"I just waited to see how the defense was going to react and he gave me a little more room and I shot it," Kovalchuk said of his shorthanded tally.
New Jersey padded its cushion late in the third with a pair of goals just 14 seconds apart on consecutive 5-on-3 power plays after St. Louis and Adam Hall were whistled for penalties just 18 seconds apart.
Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher then lost his cool and began berating an official before he was called for abuse of officials in the wake of Hall's penalty to provide the Devils with a lengthy two-man advantage.
"I didn't see any penalties. I didn't see anything," Boucher remarked. "I just watched the video again. I didn't see anything. I guess I'll have to look at it another 20 times. I'm not going to comment on any penalties."
New Jersey quickly went work, as Greene ripped a wrister from the high slot that sailed over the glove hand of Lindback with just under five minutes left.
Elias added another power-play tally when his pass from the low right side of the net deflected off the stick of a Tampa Bay defenseman and snuck past Lindback for a 4-1 lead at the 15:16 mark.
Carle one-timed a quick shot from the right circle high over the glove of Brodeur with 2:15 remaining to account for the final margin.
New Jersey improved to 4-0-1 at home, while Tampa Bay fell to 1-3-0 on the road ... New Jersey finished 2-for-4 on the power play and held Tampa Bay scoreless on all four of its power-play opportunities ... St. Louis finished with two assists for the Lightning.
02/07 23:29:44 ET