Lightning at Devils
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to continue their offensive production and take a stranglehold of the Eastern Conference first-round series when they visit the New Jersey Devils for Game 3 on Monday night. The Lightning scored 10 times while winning the first two games of the series, going 3-for-4 on the power-play and getting multiple goals from three players.
“We’ve got to play a desperate game,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said of the next challenge after Saturday’s 5-3 victory. “We know they are going to come out flying in front of their fans. We’ve just got to stay calm and stay within our structure and play our game. That’s the bottom line.” The Devils made a big push in the second period of Game 1 and finished with a 44-25 advantage in shots after posting 19 in the final 20 minutes of Game 2, but gave up three goals in a span of 2:47 in the middle session of that contest. “That’s the playoffs, right?” New Jersey captain Andy Greene told reporters. “That’s what good teams do. They take opportunities and take advantage of them. That’s what we got to realize, that every little play, every big thing, every detail matters.” Hart Trophy candidate Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist in the first game of the series for the Devils, but was shut out Saturday despite six shots on net while logging 20:43 of ice time.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA2, FS Florida (Tampa Bay), MSG Plus (New Jersey)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Alex Killorn has often saved his best hockey for the postseason and he is off to another strong start with three goals in the first two games of the series after scoring twice Saturday. “You play all season for this,” Killorn, who has 18 goals and 36 points in 49 career playoff games, told reporters. “Playoff hockey is great. There are a few more cameras around, a couple more people watching, but I think we like that pressure.” Forwards Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson have also scored twice in the first two games while defenseman Ryan McDonagh and left wing Ondrej Palat each boast three assists.
ABOUT THE DEVILS: Cory Schneider, who has not won a game since Dec. 27 while struggling with injuries and an .863 save percentage since, stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief of Keith Kinkaid on Saturday and could get the start Monday. “It was good to give him an opportunity to get in there,” coach John Hynes told reporters, “and I thought he came in and made huge saves, looked solid, so that’s a positive for us moving forward.” Hynes went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen Saturday while inserting blue liner Damon Severson (three shots, 16:41 of ice time) into the lineup and hinted there could be more changes for Game 3.
1. New Jersey C Nico Hischier became the youngest player to score a playoff goal in franchise history Saturday at 19 years, 100 days.
2. Tampa Bay RW Ryan Callahan (upper-body) and D Dan Girardi (undisclosed) left Saturday’s game and will be evaluated Monday.
3. Devils RW Kyle Palmieri and LW Patrick Maroon have totaled seven shots apiece in the first two games, but have yet to be included on the scoresheet.