Lightning-Devils Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning may be faring better than expected

without Steven Stamkos, but that’s clearly not the case on the

road.

A visit to New Jersey may not help, either.

The Lightning look to end a six-game skid away from home

Saturday night against the struggling Devils.

Tampa Bay (18-10-3) is 6-5-3 since Stamkos suffered a broken

right leg last month, and the superstar center is expected to be

out until February. The team is also without defenseman Victor

Hedman (lower-body injury) for at least another week.

“We’re finding a way, and you need to do that,” coach Jon Cooper

said.

Much of the Lightning’s success without Stamkos, though, has

come at home, while they’re 1-4-2 on the road.

They beat Montreal 2-1 on Nov. 12 in their first game without

Stamkos before losing six straight, one shy of matching the slide

that concluded last season.

Tampa Bay is 3-7-3 in its last 13 visits to New Jersey

(12-15-6), dropping three of four following a 2-1 defeat Oct.

29.

The Lightning did record at least a point for the fourth

straight game (2-0-2) with Thursday’s 2-1 shootout victory over

visiting Detroit. Martin St. Louis scored the only goal in the

sixth round of the tiebreaker after being limited to one shot

without a point through overtime. He had six points over his

previous three games, including three in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout

loss at Washington.

St. Louis’ 13 goals are one behind Stamkos for the team lead,

but his 30 points are a team high. However, the captain has been

limited to three goals and eight assists in 15 road games and

failed to get a point and was minus-2 at New Jersey on Oct. 29.

He had eight points over the four previous visits.

Ben Bishop will likely be in net looking to build on his 28-save

effort against the Red Wings, plus turning aside all six shootout

attempts. He’s been a pleasant surprise, going 16-5-2 with a 2.05

goals-against average and two shutouts.

“Bish is the backbone of our success,” St. Louis said.

Bishop, though, is also having trouble on the road lately, going

0-2-2 with a 3.33 GAA in his last five outside Tampa Bay. He

stopped 20 shots at New Jersey in October.

A slow start doomed the Devils to their fifth loss in six games

(1-4-1) Friday, 3-2 at Pittsburgh. They allowed three first-period

goals and couldn’t come all the way back despite dominating the

final 40 minutes with a 32-11 shots advantage.

“The second and third we started moving our feet, and that’s how

we started creating some chances,” said Dainius Zubrus, who had a

goal against the Penguins. “We’re a pretty good team – we’ve just

got to get our minds into it from the start of the game and start

skating right off the hop. When we do that, when we play 60

minutes, we can play against anybody.”

Patrik Elias has two goals and four assists during a five-game

point streak. The left wing has at least one point in each of the

past five home meetings with Tampa Bay, totaling two goals and six

assists.

Martin Brodeur may get the start in goal since he’s 14-2-1 with

a 2.37 GAA over his last 17 games against the Lightning. That

includes making 16 saves Oct. 29 to win a third straight home

matchup.