Series (Game 4 of 4)

Tampa Bay leads 3-0

Game 1: Friday, November 23rd
Game 2: Tuesday, December 4th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 15th
Game 4: Monday, January 21st

Devils 2

(20-19-3, 49 pts)

Lightning 3

(18-23-2, 43 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 21, 2002

Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

1 2 3 T
NJ 1 0 12
TB 3 0 03

N. Khabibulin (Lightning - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .939

G. Dwyer (Lightning - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Devils 0-2-1-1 vs. Lightning this season

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are playing with guarded optimism.

Vincent Lecavalier, Ben Clymer and Martin St. Louis scored first-period goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Monday night.

The Lightning, who snapped a seven-game home winless streak (0-6-1), are six points behind New Jersey and Montreal for eighth place -- and the final playoff spot -- in the Eastern Conference.

"Playoffs. That's a word that I don't think should be in our vocabulary," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "What we should be thinking about right now is staying in the hunt. Talk to me at the end of the Olympic break and see where we're at, and then maybe you can start looking at the postseason."

Christian Berglund and Sergei Brylin scored for New Jersey, which dropped the opener of a five-game road trip and is 1-3-1-1 over the past six games. The Devils finished the season series 0-2-1-1 against the Lightning.

"It's huge to get these points," Lecavalier said. "We came out hard. Every game, till the end of the year, we have to come out hard."

The Lightning's first-period goals came on eight shots against Martin Brodeur.

"That's not acceptable, especially when you're battling for playoff spot," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "It's all the little things we talk about -- we turn the puck over and we get caught. We can't give up goals in games like this."

After Berglund put the Devils up 1-0 early in the first, Lecavalier scored his second goal in 14 games midway through the period.

Clymer and St. Louis scored 1 minute, 29 seconds apart late in the first. Clymer redirected Cory Sarich's shot at 17 01, and St. Louis followed with a breakaway goal.

Tampa Bay is 6-20-3 all-time against Brodeur, but two wins and a tie have come this season.

"For them, it's always a big game," Brodeur said. "And for us, we probably just take it for granted all the time. They want to beat us. They know that we're not too far from them in the standings."

Brylin got the Devils within 3-2 with six minutes left in the third period. New Jersey outshot the Lightning 14-2 during the final period.

"We played with much more determination the last 10 or 15 minutes, but the last time I looked, the game was 60 minutes," Devils coach Larry Robinson said.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 31 saves for the Lightning, who are 3-5-2 this month. Tampa Bay went 6-43-3-2 over the previous four seasons during January.

"They had a couple surges there in the third period, but we came up with the win," Tampa Bay defenseman Jassen Cullimore said. "They were coming at us and Khabby played well for us when we needed him."

Game notes
Devils D Ken Daneyko has not scored in 219 games. Teammate Scott Stevens has gone 56 games without scoring. ... Tampa Bay F Dave Andreychuk (1,409) tied Paul Coffey for 14th place on the NHL's games played list. He also assisted on Clymer's goal to move pass Bobby Orr into 46th place with 646 career assists.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press