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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Bolts can’t solve Brodeur, New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Brodeur still has it.

The 41-year-old New Jersey goaltender stymied the Tampa Bay Lightning’s offense to post his NHL-record-extending 124th career shutout in the Devils’ 3-0 victory Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 13,832 at Prudential Center.

Brodeur finished with 33 saves for his sixth career shutout against Tampa Bay to improve to 39-16-8 all-time against the Lightning, including 2-0 this season. Dainius Zubrus scored twice for New Jersey, and Damien Brunner also scored.

Anders Lindback made 16 saves to take the loss as Tampa Bay allowed a season-low 19 shots on goal.

But the difference was Brodeur, who continues to defy his age in his 20th full NHL season — all with New Jersey.

“Marty was Marty. He played extremely well,’’ Lightning captain Marty St. Louis said of Brodeur.

Tampa Bay fell to 0-5-2 in the past seven road games and was shut out for the fifth time in the past 10 games.

“I think you definitely need to be able to win on the road, and we haven’t played as well as we would like on the road,’’ center Valtteri Filppula said. “We’ve been able to play pretty well at home (11-3-1), but you have to be able to carry that game over onto the road.’’

The Lightning had their legs early and had a great opportunity on the opening shift when Tyler Johnson had an open chance from 12 feet out 21 seconds into game, but he was turned aside by Brodeur. Nate Thompson followed on the next shift with a redirect that was stopped by Brodeur at 52 seconds.

That would become the theme of the night as goals, as usual when facing New Jersey, were at a premium at both ends of the ice. The game was scoreless through the first period.

Brodeur made sure it stayed that way early in the second period when St. Louis was alone with the puck between the circles for a wrist shot, but Brodeur flashed the glove and swiped the puck out of the air at 5:45.

Alex Killorn had a chance a few minutes later from the left circle, but his shot hit the post at 9:54.

“There’s a reason their (goaltender) is going to pass go and go right to the Hall of Fame. He’s a really good goaltender, and he made those saves early and a bunch in the second period that kept his team with the lead,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said.

The power play did little to help provide any offense for Tampa Bay, and all the missed chances proved costly when Eric Gelinas found a streaking Brunner up the middle of the ice. And with Lightning defensemen Matt Carle and Radko Gudas allowing too large of a gap, Brunner was able to skate in nearly untouched on Lindback, make a quick move to his backhand before turning to his forehand and beating Lindback at 15:37 of the second.

“We played well, but we made some colossal errors that cost us,’’ Cooper said. “The first one is just a bad line change. That can’t happen, and they capitalized. That was basically the one chance they had.’’

A third power play of the night late in the second period that carried over into the third provided one shot on goal for Tampa Bay.

As the Lightning started pressing, the Devils started to get more chances, and Lindback was able to keep New Jersey at bay, stopping Brunner 59 seconds into the third period, denying a Jaromir Jagr breakaway at 4:57 and then a Michael Ryder breakaway chance at 5:35.

But New Jersey finally broke through when Eric Brewer slipped a back pass behind his own net that went right to Jagr, who found Zubrus alone at the post for a quick shot as Brewer was unable to recover in time to cover Zubrus at 6:54 of the third.

Zubrus increased the lead to 3-0 when he found a loose puck after Lindback made a save on Jagr and was able to poke the puck past the sliding goalie at 9:36.

Brodeur capped his night by stopping Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway at 11:01 and a few more shots after Tampa Bay pulled Lindback with 4:36 remaining to preserve the shutout.

“We played well, but it’s a tough league and when you make mistakes, there are good players in this league,’’ St. Louis said. “I thought we generated a lot of chances, and I liked our chances down one going into the third, but we give up that second and third, it’s tough.’’


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