EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—The two fastest goals in Lightning history were an indication that Tampa Bay is over a slump and the New Jersey Devils remain in one.
Dave Andreychuk and Fredrik Modin capped three-goal third period with tallies nine seconds apart and the Lightning won for the third time in four games with a 4-1 win over reeling Stanley Cup champions on Friday night.
“That’s a good sign for us when we get better the further the game goes,” Modin said. “It’s the way we played at the start of the season. Every time we get a chance to get that feeling back, we know we’re on the right track.”
Martin St. Louis got his own record in the game, scoring a fifth short-handed goal for the Lightning. Cory Stillman ignited the three-goal third period to help the Lightning win for the second time in as many nights.
“It’s two games and we’re building on this,” St. Louis said. “To make the playoffs, you have to have some winning streaks. You can’t make the playoffs playing .500.”
Goaltender John Grahame made 18 saves as Tampa Bay moved into a tie with idle Atlanta for first place in the Southeast Division. The Lightning, who had a 2-8-2 streak before turning things around, have two games in hand.
That was the only highlight on a night the Lightning took advantage of the absence of a flu-ridden defenseman Scott Stevens to outshoot New Jersey 37-19.
The loss was the second straight and the fourth in six games (1-4-1) for the defending Stanley Cup champions. It also came just two days after Devils coach Pat Burns questioned the team’s heart following an embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
“I think we’ve past the stage where we think we are going to get over it,” Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. “I think it’s important for us to realize we are not doing well. We’re going to get out of it eventually, but we don’t want it to drag on too long.”
Stillman broke a 1-1 tie at 1:22 of the third period, beating Brodeur in close on a nice pass from behind the net by Brad Richards.
Andreychuk used his long reach to put a cross-ice pass by Tim Taylor into an open net at 6:38.
Seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Richards poked a puck off the stick of a Devils player, setting up Modin alone in front. Brodeur stopped the first shot but Modin didn’t miss the second.
“I don’t keep track of those things, but they were quick,” Brodeur said of the last two goals.
St. Louis, who celebrated his selection as a starter in the NHL All-Star game with two goals and two assists in a win over Montreal on Thursday, got his record goal with a minute left in the first period, beating Brodeur in close.
The play was set up when Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski broke his stick on a slap shot at the other end.
Gomez powered his way past Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle and flicked a shot over the shoulder of Grahame.
New Jersey had two great chances to extend the lead on breakaways right after the goal. Patrik Elias failed to finish after getting Grahame out ofposition and the big goaltender stopped Brian Gionta on the second.
: Rob Zamuner held the old Lightning record for short-handed goals in a season with four in 1996-97. … Pittsburgh holds the record for the fastest two goals against New Jersey—eight seconds apart in 1986. … The start of the second period was delayed 15 minutes after a transformer problem in a nearby city caused a power surge that knocked out the overhead lights. … TheLightning are 7-1 in games in which they score short-handed.