One more time, but this time with feeling! Devils at Lightning preview

WHERE: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)

The preview for this game can be surmised with my closing quote from my last Tampa Bay Lightning / New Jersey Devils preview, posted less than a week ago:

Here's hoping the Lightning do not decide to play down to their opponent's level. They've pulled that off several times this season already, and it's not the pedigree of a serious contender. Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has complained about these antics in recent weeks.

Was it playing down to the Devils on Sunday? Or was it a tired Tampa Bay Lightning team that fell to a hungry and struggling New jersey Devils squad? I can't say either way. It didn't look or feel right in the least. The fact I put my foot in my mouth while re-assuring fans on Facebook that the game wouldn't be a redux of the humiliation in Pittsburgh... Well, that made the outcome even more painful.

Which Lightning team show sup tonight? Will it be the squad that shut out the Washington Capitals the past two straight match-ups between the clubs? Or will they again show maddening inconsistencies that's on par with last season -- playing great one night and playing dismal the next?

The Devils have not played since Sunday's win. That can be looked at in two ways: Well rested squad, fresh and ready for the challenge... Or potentially a rusty club that got lucky last time.

In Lou We Trust pointed out in their preview of tonight's game that the Devils have played two games this season after a four game layoff. One was a close win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the other a loss at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.

But they also pointed out the Lightning power play "is" ridiculously good. And that point I have to argue right now. The Bolts PP has been mostly dormant the past few games. While Stamkos and company scored goals like gangbusters on the power play early on... Everything has fizzled as of late. They are 1 -23 with the man advantage in 2011.

Of course, such a long dormancy just can't last, can it? The last multi-power play goal game for the Lightning was December 20th, 2010 against Carolina.

Speaking of Carolina, while revenge / redemption may be in the cards for tonight against the Devils, the Bolts will be dancing with the Hurricanes tomorrow in Raleigh. While the Bolts have breathing room between themselves, the Caps (barely) and the Thrashers, the Hurricanes are coming up in the standings and battling for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference right now.

By the way, Dwayne Roloson's new mask has arrived. We should see it tonight as Rollie is slated to be in net for the Lightning.

Other Previews

Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview


Full game coverage on SB Nation

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