Nikita Kucherov's unbelievable start to the season continued, but it was not enough to overcome the New Jersey Devils, who ended the Lightning's four-game winning streak with a 5-4 win in the shootout on Tuesday night.
A busy first period saw the Devils strike first, when Drew Stafford scored at 2:45 to give the Devils an early lead. The Lightning had an answer waiting, however, as Vladislav Namestnikov scored at the 7:33 mark to tie the game 1-1. Ondrej Palat came through with a power play goal at 12:21 to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead, but it was New Jersey's turn to have an answer waiting. Kyle Palmieri scored on the power play at the 16:19 mark, before Brian Gibbons scored with under a minute to go to give the Devils a 3-2 lead that would go into the first intermission.
The second period was led by the Lightning, and it began when Nikita Kucherov scored for the seventh consecutive game to start the season and tie the game 3-3. Kucherov's goal means that for just the second time in 30 years has a player started a season with a goal in more than six straight games - for Nikita, it now makes eight goals in these seven games. Steven Stamkos scored his second goal this season at the 17:23 mark and the Lightning went into the second intermission leading 4-3.
The Devils rally began in the third period, when Drew Stafford scored near the end of a power play at the 15:54 mark that would force overtime. An uneventful overtime saw just two shots for each teams and this game was heading to the shootout. Neither team was able to convert in the first two rounds of the shootout - in the third round, it was Kyle Palmieri coming through with a goal to give the Devils an advantage. Ryan Callahan was unable to convert with his opportunities and New Jersey would win the game by a final of 5-4.
Peter Budaj got his first start of the season for the Lightning, making the appearance in the second game of a back-to-back and going 30-for-34 in net. Cory Schneider got the win in net for New Jersey, converting 33 saves in 37 attempts.
The Lightning return to action on Thursday when they head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. Faceoff is set for 7:00 - you can hear it all, beginning with pregame coverage at 6:30, on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. NJD - Stafford - (Hischier, Butcher) - 2:45
2. TBL - Namestnikov - (Kucherov, Stamkos) - 7:33
3. TBL - PPG - Palat - (Johnson, Sergachev) - 12:21
4. NJD - PPG - Palmieri - (Hall, Henrique) - 16:19
5. NJD - Gibbons - (Santini, Wood) - 19:08
1. TBL - Kucherov - (Stamkos, Sergachev) - 14:02
2. TBL - Stamkos - (Gourde) - 17:23
1. NJD - PPG - Stafford - (Hischier, Severson) - 15:54
1. NJD - Save - Stafford
2. TBL - Save - Point
3. NJD - Save - Hall
4. TBL - Save - Kucherov
5. NJD - GOAL - Palmieri
6. TBL - Save - Callahan
1. TBL - Kucherov - (Slashing) - 5:15
2. NJD - Wood - (Interference) - 10:45
3. TBL - Callahan - (Roughing) - 15:37
4. TBL - Kucherov - (Delaying Game) - 16:36
1. NJD - Coleman - (Slashing) - 0:31
1. NJD - Palmieri - (Slashing) - 8:04
2. TBL - Sustr - (Tripping) - 13:57
3. NJD - Zacha - (Roughing) - 18:02
1. NJD - Henriquie - (Tripping) - 4:12
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 37
New Jersey - 34