for this game

Lecavalier, Lightning top Devils

Oct 5, 2007 - 4:56 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Vincent Lecavalier picked up right where he left off last season.

Lecavalier scored the tying and winning goals and Martin St. Louis had three assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning spoiled Brent Sutter's coaching debut by downing the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.

Lecavalier scored the winner with 3:52 remaining in the third period, when St. Louis slid a pass to across the goalmouth to the center, setting him up to beat an out-of-position Martin Brodeur and give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.

"We played better in the second half," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "We fought it for a while there. I think we were a little jumpy, and you have to give credit to Jersey, they just looked quicker than us."

Vaclav Prospal tacked on an empty-net goal with 59 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Lightning.

"Playing with Marty and Vinny (Prospal) makes things easy," Lecavalier said. "Overall, we played together as a team. It was the first game for a lot of young guys, and they played unbelievable."

With New Jersey leading 1-0, Lecavalier evened the game nearly halfway through the second period, wristing a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Brodeur to the stick side.

It was quite a nice way to start the season for Lecavalier, who scored 52 goals in 2006-07 en route to winning the Maurice Richard Trophy, awarded to the leading goal scorer in the NHL.

"He's a good hockey player," New Jersey's John Madden said. "You don't get 52 goals for no reason. You combine all his talent with his hard work and he's going to get his chances."

Lecavalier has enjoyed great success against Brodeur, scoring five times against the three-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender in their six-game Eastern Conference quarterfinal series last season. New Jersey won the series, however.

"Lecavalier is the best player in the league," Brodeur said.

The Devils opened the scoring 9:05 into the first period.

Zach Parise struggled to control the puck before falling to his knees and backhanding a shot on goal. Brian Gionta deflected it past netminder Johan Holmqvist to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead.

That was all the Devils could muster against Holmqvist, who stopped 26 shots in the victory.

"It was a big game and it felt good," Holmqvist said. "I think we played a solid game and did a solid job defensively, especially on the power play."

Holmqvist also was pleased with the support supplied by Lecavalier.

"Vinny was huge," he said. "He scored to tie the game in the second. It was fun to see, it was a beautiful goal. That second goal, it was nice."

Brodeur, who set a single-season record with 48 wins last season, finished with 22 saves.

"I felt good," Brodeur said. "The first game of the season, I would have liked to get off to a better start with a win. But on a personal level, I felt good, and that's key."

New Jersey fell to 18-8-7 in season openers, while Tampa Bay improved to 8-4-2.

Thursday's contest was the first of New Jersey's nine-game road trip to start the season. The Devils will open the new Prudential Center in Newark on October 27 against the Eastern Conference champion Ottawa Senators, the same team that ended New Jersey's tenure at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford in the conference semifinals.

"We played pretty well the last 17 minutes of the first and played a really good second period," Sutter said. "We had a lot of chances and (Holmqvist) made some big saves and we didn't bear down enough around the net."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 0 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) BRIAN GIONTA 1 (ZACH PARISE, TRAVIS ZAJAC) 9:06
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, FILIP KUBA)
    9:35
    3RD PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 2 (VACLAV PROSPAL, MARTIN ST.
    LOUIS) 15:08
    TAM - (

    Oct 4 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 3
    3RD PRD: TAM - (EN) VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, PAUL RANGER)
    19:02

    Devils vs. LightningOct 4 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 2 (VACLAV PROSPAL, MARTIN ST. LOUIS)
    15:08

    Devils vs. LightningOct 4 9:49 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) BRIAN GIONTA 1 (ZACH PARISE, TRAVIS ZAJAC) 9:06
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, FILIP KUBA)
    9:35
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD

    Oct 4 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 1
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, FILIP KUBA)
    5:35

    Devils vs. LightningOct 4 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) BRIAN GIONTA 1 (ZACH PARISE, TRAVIS ZAJAC) 9:06
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 6 6
    TAM 9 9
    GOALIES: NJD - MARTIN BRODEUR

    Oct 4 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 0
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) BRIAN GIONTA 1 (ZACH PARISE, TRAVIS ZAJAC) 9:06

    Devils vs. LightningOct 4 7:56 PM
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