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Lightning roll past Devils, remain hot at home

Jan 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Emil Martinsen Lilleberg (78) skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Hagel and Brayden Point scored two goals apiece, defenseman Victor Hedman achieved an offensive milestone, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 for their seventh straight home win on Saturday night.

The 2018 Norris Trophy winner, Hedman posted two second-period assists and another in the third that boosted him to 702 career points, becoming the 29th NHL defenseman to hit the 700-point plateau.

Steven Stamkos and Nicholas Paul each had a goal and an assist. Nikita Kucherov handed out two helpers, while goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy registered 21 saves in his 16th win.

Tampa Bay is 10-3-0 in its past 13 games, 17-5-3 on home ice and finished January 9-3-0.

New Jersey, which fell to 3-6-1 in its past 10 matches, got a goal and an assist from Ondrej Palat. Jesper Bratt and Tyler Toffoli scored. Netminder Vitek Vanecek stopped 36 of 40 shots.

In losing for the second time this month to the Lightning in Tampa, the Devils finished 5-6-1 in January.

New Jersey scratched third-line center Erik Haula. He and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child.

After the Lightning outshot New Jersey 9-6 in a scoreless first period, Hedman fired a long shot that Paul clipped in front of Vanecek at 1:09 of the season period. The puck found its way in for Paul’s 13th goal this season.

Tampa Bay doubled the lead at 10:40 when Hedman zipped a puck that Hagel batted in for his 15th goal of the season.

In a dominating period that featured one Lightning power play and was played largely in front of Vanecek, Tampa Bay outshot the Devils 19-4.

Palat, who spent his first 10 NHL seasons with the Lightning, scored his sixth goal of the season on a rebound from Nico Hischier’s shot at 2:49 of the third to end Vasilevskiy’s shutout bid.

However, Stamkos answered one minute later, making it 3-1 on a rebound, his 21st goal of the season.

Bratt trimmed the Devils’ deficit to one by netting his 19th goal of the season at 7:19. It marked his 50th point this season.

A turnover by Kevin Bahl in his own end resulted in Point notching his 24th goal at 13:52, re-establishing the two-goal margin.

With Vanecek on the bench, Toffoli’s 21st goal made it 4-3 at 17:22, but Hagel and Point produced empty-net tallies to clinch the win.

–Field Level Media

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