The Devils (15-13-1) built leads of 2-0 and 5-2 before holding on for a 5-4 win against the host Tampa Bay Lightning, who pulled within a goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation on Steven Stamkos' second score of the night. The Lightning (12-16-2) have now lost seven of their last eight games, while New Jersey won for the third time in four outings following a four-game losing streak.
Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg made 32 saves in picking up his ninth victory of the 2011-12 campaign.
“It was a hard-fought, crazy game, at least from my standpoint,” said Hedberg afterwards to the Associated Press.
Mathieu Garon took the loss in net for the Lightning, making eight stops after replacing Dwayne Roloson, who stopped nine of 12 shots, in the second period. Tampa Bay out-shot New Jersey 36-22, while the two teams combined to go 1-for-7 on the power play. There were also a total of 14 penalties doled out, including six fighting majors.
Adam Henrique and Zach Parise each had a goal and two assists to lead New Jersey. Henrique's shorthanded goal at 13:23 of the second period stood up as the game-winner, his third of the season; the rookie now has three goals and nine assists in his last nine games.
Stamkos finished with two goals and an assist for Tampa Bay.
“We’re finding ways to lose games right now,” said Stamkos following the contest.