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Devils 4, Lightning 2

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NEWARK, N.J. -- Ilya Kovalchuk snapped a 1-1 tie with a shorthanded goal late in the second period and Martin Brodeur continued his masterful play in goal, stopping 17 shots, leading the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

The victory, the 661st in Brodeur's career, enabled the Devils to capture their third straight win, improving to 6-1-3 overall and 4-0-1 at home. Tampa Bay fell to 6-4-0 overall and dropped their third straight after posting a five-game winning streak.

Adam Henrique also scored a goal, his third in just five games since his return from a thumb injury, in the second period, and Andy Greene and Patrick Elias each added a goal late in the third period on a 5-on-3 power play for the Devils. Greene and Elias scored just 14 seconds apart in the final period to break the game wide open. It was Greene's second goal of the season and Elias had his third score.

Nate Thompson and Matthew Carle each scored a goal for Tampa Bay. Carle's goal came with just 2:13 left in the game. Anders Lindback stopped 23 shots in goal for the Lightning.

In the opening stages of the second period, Anton Volchenkov fired a slap shot from the blue line that Lindback thought he had in his catching glove. But the puck trickled out to Henrique, who backhanded the puck past Lindback for the 1-0 New Jersey lead. Volchenkov and Elias were awarded with assists on Henrique's third goal in just five games since returning to the lineup from a thumb injury.

The Lightning drew even on a poor read by Brodeur, who thought he could clear the puck out of his zone, but put it directly on the stick of Devils-killer Martin St. Louis.

St. Louis, who entered the game with 18 goals and 23 assists in 45 games against the Devils, including a hat trick last year, made a perfect pass to Thompson alone in front. Thompson then knocked it past Brodeur with 6:41 left in the second period, tying the game at 1-1.

The Devils then took the lead with a shorthanded goal with 2:26 left in the second. Kovalchuk made a steal in his own end, then skated in two-on-one with Travis Zajac. Kovalchuk kept the puck and fired a low shot past Lindback to his right, giving New Jersey a 2-1 lead. It was Kovalchuk's third goal of the season and his second shorthanded score.

Soon after the Devils broke the game open with the two power play goals, making the score, 4-1, but Carle scored a goal near the end to close out the scoring.

NOTES: Before the game, the Devils announced a rare trade with the team they faced for the Stanley Cup Finals last June. The Devils acquired center Andrei Loktionov from the Los Angeles Kings for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. The 22-year-old Loktionov, who was assigned to the Devils' AHL affiliate in Albany, had seven goals and seven assists for the Kings during his career. ... The Devils scratched workhorse forward Dainius Zubrus, who has what the team has called "an upper body injury." Defenseman Henrik Tallinder was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... The 18-year-old rookie Stefan Matteau, who was a healthy scratch against the Rangers Tuesday night, got the start at left wing on the same line with Kovalchuk and Zajac, so it appears as if Matteau will not go to the juniors anytime soon. ... Not anticipating a physical game, Lightning coach Guy Boucher scratched bruising defenseman Brian Lee and strong-armed right wing B.J. Crombeen. ... After winning five straight, the Lightning dropped their last two games before facing the Devils Thursday night. ... Since the 2009-10 season, no NHL player has scored more than Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who has 163 goals since that campaign, far ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who has 122. ... It was the 1,199th career game for Brodeur, who will become the 93rd player in NHL history to reach the 1,200-game plateau.
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