Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/6/13
Game time: Thursday at 7 p.m. TV: Sun Sports Ilya Kovalchuk doesn't mind if his offensive production isn't up to his standards, so long as the New Jersey Devils keep winning. If their goaltending is as good as it has been recently, they'll have a solid chance to earn a third consecutive victory Thursday night against a visiting Tampa Bay Lightning team that is suddenly having trouble scoring. Kovalchuk scored two goals and added three assists in New Jersey's first four games, but he hasn't recorded a point in the last five and had only one shot on goal in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. It marked the second straight victory for the Devils (5-1-3) following an 0-1-3 stretch despite Kovalchuk's longest drought since not recording a point in six straight Nov. 20-Dec. 2, 2010. "It's all about the team. If we'll be struggling as a team, it'll be a different story," said Kovalchuk, who has five goals and six assists in his last eight games against Tampa Bay (6-3-0). "I think I can produce more, that's for sure. But overall, I think we're playing well so it doesn't really matter." Coach Peter DeBoer isn't worried, either. "Kovy's doing a lot of little things the right way that are helping us win games," DeBoer said. "He's getting chances. Those are eventually going to go in for him." New Jersey's last two opponents have had trouble putting pucks in the net as well. Johan Hedberg made 22 saves in 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday before Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots Tuesday. DeBoer is confident in whoever he chooses to play in net Thursday. "We've gotten great goaltending so far," DeBoer said. "That's a key for any team in this league. It gives you a chance to win every night." The Devils have won 16 of the last 19 meetings with the Lightning - including eight of 10 at home - and Brodeur is 12-2-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average in his last 14 appearances versus Tampa Bay, including 13 starts. Brodeur, though, allowed four goals in each of his last two home starts against the Lightning, who will be looking to rediscover their offense. Tampa Bay won six of its first seven while averaging 5.3 goals, though it has scored a total of three while dropping its last two contests. It finished with a season-low 24 shots on net in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday in the opener of a four-game road trip. "Those big-scoring games, those don't help you at all," coach Guy Boucher said. "You get the feeling that you're very powerful offensively and things are going to just come." Though the Lightning have offensive weapons like Steven Stamkos (seven goals, nine assists) and Martin St. Louis (three goals, 11 assists), Boucher would like to see his team become more accustomed to winning close games. Stamkos was held without a point for the first time this season Tuesday. "More than 70 percent of games in the NHL are won by one goal," Boucher said. "We have to be a team that excels at that ... because as we go along, that's what it's going to be." Anders Lindback, who has a 2.01 GAA in his last four starts, will be in net Thursday. He won his only career start against Brodeur and the Devils on Dec. 17, 2010, making 15 saves in a 3-1 victory for Nashville.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker