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St. Louis makes N.J. pay for turnover

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning remember
the value of a fast start.

The Lightning, who used a season-opening seven-game unbeaten
streak to get to the playoffs a year ago, opened the new season
with a third straight win, beating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on a
late goal by Martin St. Louis on Saturday night.

"We wanted to get off to a good start, that's what helped our
season last year," said St. Louis, who took advantage of a
turnover to score with 5:40 to play. "With all the high
expectations, we want to do that right now."

Vincent Lecavalier and Martin Cibak also scored and Nikolai
Khabibulin made 29 saves as the Lightning sent the Stanley Cup
champions (1-1-2) to their first loss of the season.

"It's a quality team we played against tonight," Lightning
coach John Tortorella said. "You have to consider them the best
team in the league early on."

Patrik Elias and rookie Paul Martin scored for New Jersey in the
first game between the teams since last year's Eastern Conference
semifinals which the Devils won in five games.

St. Louis got the game-winner after the usually reliable John
Madden had a backhand pass slide off his stick in center ice.

Brad Richards collected the puck and sent a cross-ice pass to
St. Louis coming down the right wing. His shot from the circle
sailed over the shoulder of Martin Brodeur, who faced 23 shots.

Devils captain Scott Stevens just missed intercepting Richards'
pass.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to get crushed by Scott
Stevens," St. Louis said. "I saw I had a step on him and I might
get a good chance."

Brodeur said he was concerned St. Louis might make a pass to
someone coming down the left wing, so he cheated a little that way.

"He made a good shot to go top shelf," Brodeur said. "I wish
I could have had it back. I would have had my shoulder there. He
made a pretty good shot."

Lecavalier tied the game at 2-all late in the second period with
a power-play goal from near the right circle. It came seconds after
the first of two Devils in the penalty box returned to the ice.

Elias and Martin gave the Devils a 2-1 lead with goals in the
opening 7:47 of the second period.

Elias tied the game with a power-play goal from the right
circle. Khabibulin appeared to be screened on the shot.

Martin, who has been impressive in the starting lineup, put New
Jersey ahead with his first NHL goal. Igor Larionov set up the
goal, which came on a counterattack after the Lightning kept the
puck in the Devils' end for about a minute.

Cibak beat Brodeur in close in the first period after taking a
nice pass from behind the net from Ben Clymer.

Game notes
Devils D Scott Niedermayer missed the game with a sore
back. ... Larionov returned to the lineup after missing the Devils'
home opener because of a collision in practice. ... The feisty game
featured a fight between Martin and Clymer.