Tampa Bay (2-0-0) at New Jersey (1-0-0)

  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Sat Oct 18, 2003
  • TV: SUN, Metr
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Lightning look to extend their season-opening winning streak to three games as they visit the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils

Tampa Bay opens its road schedule by returning to the arena in which it was eliminated in Game 5 of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Lightning pushed the Devils to three overtimes before falling 2-1 in that contest.

Nikolai Khabibulin, who set a club record with 30 wins last year, was not in goal for Tampa Bay in the finale as backup John Grahame was given the start after Khabibulin allowed 12 goals on 121 shots in the first four games.

Khabibulin has given up just two goals on 51 shots in the team’s first two games this season, including a 5-1 win over his former team, Phoenix, on Thursday night.

“It’s been a long time since I got traded,” said Khabibulin, who came to Tampa Bay in March 2001. “I guess it’s always nice to beat your old team but you don’t get any more points for it. It’s just like playing any other team.”

New Jersey is coming off a 2-2 tie with Toronto in its home opener Thursday. Sergei Brylin scored with two seconds left in regulation as the Devils avoided a defeat on a night in which they raised their third Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.

One of four current Devils to play on all three championship teams, Brylin helped raise the banner before the game.

“Both things were great,” Brylin said. “At the end of the game, a goal is more important than anything else. The banner was up already, so that was good thing, too.”

The Devils may be without center Igor Larionov for the second straight game. The veteran center, who had three assists in the Devils’ first two games, missed Thursday’s contest after injuring his knee in practice Wednesday.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 16): Lightning - 4 points, 2nd place (tied), Southeast Division. Devils - 4 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Cory Stillman, 2 goals and 4 points; Ben Clymer and Vincent Lecavalier, 3 assists; Chris Dingman, 5 PIM. Devils - Brylin and Scott Niedermayer, 2 goals; Brian Rafalski, 5 assists and 5 points; Eight players tied with 2 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 16): Lightning - Power play: 26.7 percent (4 for 15), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (6 for 7), 7th. Devils - Power play: 36.8 percent (7 for 19), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.4 percent (6 for 7), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Khabibulin (2-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA); Grahame (NR). Devils - Martin Brodeur (1-0-2, 0, 1.91); Corey Schwab (NR).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1-2.

LAST MEETING: March 27; Tied, 2-2. At Tampa Bay, Lecavalier scored the tying goal with 5:25 left in the third period for the Lightning.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 0-0-0-0 on the road; Devils - 0-0-1-0 at home.

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