TAMPA, Fla. - Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman scored shootout goals to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday in the debut of Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
The Lightning's Alex Killorn tied the game with 15 seconds left in the third period with a shot from the left side after Tampa Bay pulled goaltender Mathieu Garon for an extra attacker.
New Jersey killed a penalty in the overtime to force a shootout.
New Jersey led 3-2 after a manic second period in which both teams had numerous breakaway opportunities. The Devils scored on a penalty shot to regain the lead after wasting a two-goal margin.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead at 14:10 when Andrei Loktionov beat Keith Aulie to the net and tipped in a Matt D'Agostini blast from the left faceoff circle. New Jersey maintained pressure after the breakthrough and earned a penalty shot with 6:41 left when Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was whistled for hooking Tom Kostopoulos. Kostopoulos beat Mathieu Garon for a two-goal lead with his first score of the season.
Tampa Bay completely reversed the momentum with increased speed and pressure, however, halving the lead with 12 minutes left as Steven Stamkos scooped in a chip pass from Martin St. Louis.
The Lightning tied the score, 2-2, less than three minutes later when Nate Thompson burst between defensemen Peter Harrold and Anton Volchenkov to retrieve a wayward puck in New Jersey's defensive end. Thompson then beat a defenseless Martin Brodeur for his seventh goal of the season.
The Devils responded with a power play goal by defenseman Andy Greene with 6:02 left to retake the lead. But they failed to exploit two more power plays and avoided allowing a short-hander with 3:07 left as Lightning rookie Cory Conacher had a close-range flip glance off the pipe.
New Jersey led 3-2 after two periods and produced its league-high ninth short-hander to give it a 4-2 with 17:21 left in the game. That goal came when Ryan Carter took an errant pass at the blue line, evaded defenseman Sami Salo and notched his fourth of the season.
Stamkos scored five minutes later by taking a pass from Killorn and firing through Brodeur's skates to cut the margin to 4-3.
NOTES: Cooper coached nine members of the current Lightning roster in the American Hockey League. ... St. Louis entered the game with points in 12 of his previous 14 games (four goals, 14 assists). ... Lightning players say they expect to have more offensive freedom under Cooper. ... New Jersey leads the NHL with eight short-handed goals. Ilya Kovalchuk, who leads the league with four, missed his second straight game. Kovalchuk is expected to miss at least two weeks after injuring a shoulder falling without contact against Florida on March 23. ... Alexei Ponikarovsky, Bryce Salvador and Stephen Gionta rejoined the Devils after missing time with injuries. Ponikarovsky had missed three games with a lower body ailment. Salvador and Gionta left Monday's game with Ottawa in the first period.
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