Kovalchuk leads surging Devils past Lightning 4-2
New Jersey, which came in having killed off 15 straight penalties, was 4 for 4 on the penalty kill, with Kovalchuk tallying after the Devils got an unsportsmanlike penalty when someone — not DeBoer — said something that referee Chris Rooney didn't appreciate.
"It's tough to give up one off the power play but we didn't take advantage on the power play for ourselves," said Lightning leading scorer Steven Stamkos, who missed an open net in the third period on a rebound with his team down a goal.
Brodeur made the mistake that allowed Tampa Bay to tie the score 1-all a little more than 4 minutes earlier. Usually an outstanding puckhandler, he misplayed a pass from the crease off the sideboards. Martin St. Louis intercepted the pass and found Thompson between the circles for a shot into the top of the net.
Henrique, who missed the first five games of the season while recovering from thumb surgery, had put New Jersey ahead earlier in the period thanks to a mistake by Lindback. The 6-foot-6 goalie thought he had caught a shot from the point by defenseman Anton Volchenkov. The puck, however, slipped out of his glove and Henrique pounced on the loose puck and backhanded it into the net for his third goal in five games.
Greene scored with 4:48 to go with the Devils on a two-man advantage, and Elias capped his second straight three-point night seconds later with another goal with a two-man advantage.
"I didn't see any penalties," Boucher said. "I didn't see anything. I just watched the video again and didn't see anything. I guess I'll have to look at it another 20 times."
Carle scored with the Lightning down three goals.
Before the game, the Devils decided to play first-round draft pick Stefan Matteau, marking his sixth game of the regular season. The decision means that the first year of his contract kicks in for this lockout-shortened 48-game season. The 18-year-old can still be sent down to play junior hockey, but his entry level contract is now active.
NOTES: With blizzard advisories in the northeast, the Lightning are heading to Boston for a game on Saturday. The Devils will play at home against the Penguins. ... Devils LW Dainius Zubrus was scratched with an upper body injury sustained Tuesday against the Rangers. ... Brodeur played in his 1,199th NHL game. ... The crowd of 14,802 was the Devils' first non-sellout in five home games.
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