Devils vs. Lightning Preview

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TAMPA, FL (AP) - Since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, the New Jersey Devils have finished ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings every season.

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While it appears the Lightning will buck that trend this season, their problems with the Devils still seem to exist.

New Jersey looks for a sixth consecutive win at Tampa and tries to beat the Lightning for the second time in less than a week when the teams meet Friday night.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Lightning -200 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Devils. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 68% of more than 223 bets for this game have been placed on the Lightning -200.

The Lightning are 1-5-6 against the Devils in the last 12 meetings and haven't beaten New Jersey at home since Oct. 4, 2007.

The Devils (11-29-2) have the worst record in the NHL, 33 points behind Tampa Bay, but continued their dominance over the Southeast Division leader with a 6-3 win Sunday. Martin Brodeur made 33 saves as the Devils, who were playing their third game in four days, scored five third-period goals to secure the win.

The victory was only the third in 18 games for New Jersey and Brodeur's first in nine games since beating Phoenix on Dec. 15.

It's unclear if he or Johan Hedberg will get the start Friday, but Brodeur is 8-1-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average in his last nine versus the Lightning. Hedberg has a 4.05 GAA in his last seven starts against them, losing five.

Ilya Kovalchuk had two assists for his first multipoint game since Dec. 15. Kovalchuk, an NHL-worst minus-29, has 29 goals and 24 assists in 50 career games against Tampa Bay.

David Clarkson added two goals Sunday, and Patrick Elias had a goal and two assists.

"It's always fun when you win," Clarkson said. "We've been losing games and been saying, 'We did this right, we did that right.' (Sunday) we won and did some good things, and that is more satisfying than anything in the world."

After four days off, the Devils get another crack at the Lightning (26-13-5), who are coming off a 3-0 win over Washington on Wednesday.

Dwayne Roloson, acquired in a New Year's Day trade with the New York Islanders, posted his second shutout of the Capitals in just over a week. He's 3-1-0 with a 1.71 GAA since joining Tampa Bay.

"Do I need to talk? I can just smile," coach Guy Boucher said. "You know what? He makes so many saves look easy and they're not."

It's likely Roloson will get the start Friday after Dan Ellis gave up four goals on 24 shots Sunday against the Devils. Roloson made 34 saves in beating New Jersey 5-1 on Dec. 23 while playing for the Islanders.

Roloson has received only 1.86 goals in offensive support per game, third-least in the league. Brodeur is second, receiving 1.74.

Lightning star Steven Stamkos, whose 31 goals are second in the NHL to Sidney Crosby, hasn't scored in six games and has only one assist in that stretch. Stamkos was a minus-3 on Sunday, but he has six goals and two assists in his last six against New Jersey.

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