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6 Devils score in win over Lightning

Mar 30, 2012 - 3:47 AM
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Six different skaters found the back of the net as the New Jersey Devils used a balanced attack to top the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-4, on Thursday at Prudential Center.

Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson had a goal and an assist apiece, while Dainius Zubrus, Jacob Josefson and Marek Zidlicky also scored for the Devils, who have won two straight games.

Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias added two assist each while Martin Brodeur needed to make just 16 stops in the victory.

"We had a nice explosion of offense there, it's been a while since we put up six," Devils forward Zach Parise said. "We felt good, we did a good job on the forecheck and we were able to finish."

Ryan Malone netted a hat trick, Trevor Smith scored and Victor Hedman added two helpers for the Lightning, who have lost two in a row. Dwayne Roloson was tagged for all six goals on 34 shots, while Sebastien Caron stopped all four shots he faced.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring with just 43 seconds left in the first period.

Holding the puck at the point, Hedman ripped a slap shot that caromed off the leg of Steven Stamkos in front, and went right to the tape of Malone, who tapped it past a prone Brodeur from the right of the net.

New Jersey evened the game at one with a shorthanded tally just 3:07 into the second period after Elias picked off a pass in the defensive zone and sprinted up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Zubrus. Elias slowed down as he reached the right circle and flipped a perfect saucer pass to Zubrus, who ripped it home.

But, the Lightning regained the lead 1:33 later after Malone chased down a right corner dump-in, turned and fired a shot on net that deflected off the skate of Zidlicky and through the legs of Brodeur.

The Devils fought right back to tie the game at two when Malone chased down a loose puck in the right corner and threw a blind pass out to the slot, which was easily picked off by Josefson, who ripped it into the net.

Malone completed his trick at 10:13 of the second period after Hedman fired a slap shot on goal from the left point that was stopped by Brodeur. Malone pounced on the rebound and put it into the net to make it 3-2.

New Jersey took control from there with four consecutive tallies.

The Devils tied the game at three at 13:26 of the second period after Kovalchuk slammed home a rebound off a shot from Henrquie, and then closed the second-period scoring with a power-play goal with 5:23 to play after Zidlicky blasted a point shot past Roloson.

"We were sloppy with the puck," Malone said of Tampa Bay's second period. "It cost us."

New Jersey kept the pressure up in the third period, and the heavy forechecking effort paid its dividends 2:25 into the final frame.

Roloson came out of his net to play the puck following a dump-in and backhanded it up the left wing wall, but it came right to Bryce Salvador, who one-timed the puck on goal and it was tipped home by Ponikarovsky in front.

The Devils capped their offensive explosion with just over six minutes gone in the third period after Clarkson got a shot off in the slot that was stopped by Roloson, but the big forward put home his own rebound.

Smith beat Brodeur with a one-timer from in front off a feed from Tim Wallace with 8.3 seconds to go, but it was too little, too late for the Lightning.

Game Notes

Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier returned to action after missing 18 games with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand...With an assist on Thursday, Parise has six points in four games against Tampa Bay this season...It was Malone's fourth career hat trick...New Jersey finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Lightning failed to score on two power-play chances...New Jersey will visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, while the Lightning will also host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.