Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer is unsure why the club has been able to string together six consecutive wins at St. Pete Times Forum, but the NHL's best power play on home ice probably has a lot to do with it.
The Lightning look to match the second-longest home winning streak in franchise history Saturday night when they face a Devils team trying to build off its best offensive performance of the season.
The Lightning are unbeaten at home since a 7-4 loss to Florida on Oct. 17. A victory Saturday would match a seven-game run from Feb. 12-March 12, 2004, one shy of the franchise record set March 17-April 8, 2006.
"I wish I could pinpoint (why we've been so successful here)," Brewer told the team's official website. "It would be really nice, but I just don't have an answer for it."
The answer may lie with Tampa Bay's power play. The club is among the worst with the man advantage on the road at 9.8 percent (4 for 41), but its conversion rate at home is a league-best 28.0 percent, with seven different players scoring in the team's 25 opportunities.
The Devils (9-7-1), meanwhile, have the NHL's top penalty kill at 92.1 percent after stopping 10 of 11 on the first three games of their five-game trip.
Backup Johan Hedberg was in net for the first two, yet Brodeur is likely to get the nod Saturday after turning aside 29 of 32 shots in Wednesday's 5-3 victory over Buffalo.
"He was our best player,'' coach Peter DeBoer said of Brodeur, who is 3-2-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average since missing six games with a shoulder injury. "When your goaltender is your best player like Marty was, and like he's been for New Jersey on a lot of nights over the years, there's a comfort level.''
Brodeur has likely felt that way facing the Lighting, recording more wins (34) against them than any other goaltender. Including the 2007 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, he is 12-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA in his last 14 starts in this matchup.
Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has 11 goals and four assists in his last 10 games visiting the Lightning. New Jersey, which is averaging 2.41 goals - among the lowest in the conference - could use continued production from Kovalchuk after he netted a first-period power-play goal Wednesday following a five-game absence with a groin injury.
The three-time All-Star recorded team bests with three goals and seven points as New Jersey won three of four from Tampa Bay in 2010-11.
The last time these clubs met in Florida, the Lightning posted a 2-1 victory Feb. 25, snapping the Devils' season-high eight-game winning streak and avoiding a seventh consecutive home loss in this matchup.
Roloson is 4-0-0 with a 1.46 GAA in four home starts since yielding a career high-tying seven goals on Oct. 17.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos has five goals and four assists while scoring in each of the team's seven home games.