Postgame Thoughts: Lightning 5, Devils 4 S/O (3/29/13)

Pat Pickens

The Devils scored just about every way possible on Friday night.

Yet, they still blew a two-goal lead and lost a very important point.

New Jersey scored a shorthanded goal, on its power-play, an even-strength goal and even on a penalty shot. Still, the Devils lost 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout on Friday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Tom Kostopoulos scored his first goal as a Devil, and Matt D’Agostini registered two assists as the Devils still earned point No. 38, falling to 2-0-2 in their last four. Martin Brodeur stopped 21 shots, stoning Steven Stamkos five times. Brodeur lost for the first time since returning from injury, falling to 10-2-5 overall.

The Devils lost their eighth game in overtime or shootouts this year, dropping to 0-5 in road shootouts.

Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay, improving his league-leading goal total to 25. He also assisted on Alex Killorn’s game-tying goal with 15.1 seconds left in regulation. Killorn also added an assist on Stamkos’ second goal at 7:11 of the third.

The Lightning improved to 15-18-1, moving to within four points of the eighth-placed Rangers. Tampa Bay finishes 1-1-1 against the Devils this year.

Though Brodeur only made the 21 saves, and couldn’t make stop either of the two shootout tries, he kept the Devils in the game. many of them were high-quality stops.

You could pick any number of stops as Brodeur’s best. Corey Conacher was stoned on his second-period sharp-angle try after stoning Stamkos. Brodeur also robbed Benoit Pouliot in the first period.

Brodeur successfully masked tough games by Anton Volchenkov, Peter Harrold and an off night for Bryce Salvador. Salvador may have still been laboring with the injury he suffered Monday in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, Volchenkov was minus-2 and Harrold was a minus-3. The pairing got beat on Stamkos’ first goal, then neither moved his feet on Nate Thompson’s game-tying goal at 10:26 of the second.

With Adam Larsson sitting for Mark Fayne, we may see Harrold head back to the healthy-scratch list since he’s a minus-5 in his last five games.

SNew Jersey somehow killed Tampa Bay’s 4-on-3 power play in overtime after D’Agostini was whistled for holding Stamkos. New Jersey killed all three Lightning power plays and even scored a shorthanded goal in the third.

The Devils simply were too complacent defensively in the third period, and it bit them.

Two goals in 51 seconds helped the Devils build a 2-0 second-period lead.

D’Agostini earned his first point as a Devil– a sweet assist on Andrei Loktionov’s goal at 5:50 of the second. Kostopoulos scored 51 seconds later on a penalty shot he received when Eric Brewer slashed him on the hands on a breakaway.

D’Agostini also set up Andy Greene’s power-play goal at 13:58 of the second, a goal that broke a 2-2 tie. Greene also assisted on Loktionov’s goal.

Ryan Carter’s shorthanded goal, a relatively-weak goal allowed by Tampa Bay netminder Mathieu Garon, boosted that lead to 4-2 at 2:39.

Kostopoulos fell an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick… Marek Zidlicky led the Devils with 27:14, getting an assist on Greene’s goal… David Clarkson led New Jersey with five shots on goal, Stamkos led all skaters with seven… The Devils now are four points behind the fifth-placed Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings… Martin St. Louis recorded his 35th assist on Stamkos’ first goal… Brodeur will start against Saturday night in the Devils’ game in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers… Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman each potted shootout goals. Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac were stoned by Garon.