"They were the unbeatable team," Guy Boucher said of the New Jersey Devils after the Lightning won 2-1 this evening.
The Bolts finally overcame the Devils in the third match between the teams this season, killing the Devils eight game winning streak, a follow-up to Wednesday's win against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The game was characterized by a consistent defensive effort that fought hard against the Devils, especially Ilya Kovalchuk, who totaled 27 minutes of ice time by the end of the game.
"We knew it was gonna be a patient, defensive game," said Randy Jones afterwards, who was titled player of the game, along with Dominic Moore.
Jones, with two shots on goal, one hit, and two blocked shots, was a major contributor to the force against New Jersey.
Moore spoke of Jones afterwards, saying, "Randy Jones just seems to be everywhere. He's such a smart player and reads the angles, the shot length so well. That's why he seems to be always in the way when they want to shoot."
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The first period was characterized by even play between the two teams. The Lightning played a large part of the period in the neutral zone, fighting for possession of the puck. Both teams ended the period scoreless, and only totaled 8 shots on goal compared to the New Jersey's 7.
But two minutes into the second period, Martin St. Louis capitalized on the faceoff, firing the puck from the top of the left faceoff circle through Johan Hedberg to open the scoring.
In another minute, the Lightning repeated the play, only this time from the right circle, taking the second goal on a shot from Simon Gagne.
With the Bolts leading 2-0, the momentum finally began to build. By the end of the second the Lightning had totaled 23 shots on goal to the Devil's 12.
The third period remained largely the same until the Devil's found the net eight minutes into the period, with Mark Fayne's goal, assisted by Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac.
While we've seen the Lightning settle down and lose the lead in past games, the Bolts responded well by maintaining a consistent effort to finish with the win.
"I thought we did a pretty decent job of reasserting ourselves," said Moore. "We've got to continue to learn to do that because hockey's a game of momentum. You've got to learn to take it back right away."
Boucher noted the difference in this game as well. "I love the way we played the last five minutes--with aggressiveness, with poise, with confidence."
Up Next: After finishing the 12 game home stand 7-3-2, the Lightning are finally hitting the road, and will play the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM. Feel free to stop by the game thread if you aren't in attendance!
Devils vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Devils vs Lightning recap [TSN]
Devils vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]
In Lou We Trust [SB Nation]