NHL Game Night 10/4: Devils at Lightning

Opening night wins are a good thing.

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First Period
New Jersey 9:06, Brian Gionta 1 (power play) (Zach Parise, Travis Zajac)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 9:35, Vincent Lecavalier 1 (Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 16:08, Vincent Lecavalier 2 (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 19:02, Vaclav Prospal 1 (empty net) (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)

Johan Holmqvist was outstanding stopping 26 of 27 shots faced for the win. With the defense in flux, tonight's goaltending performance was exactly what the team needed. If he can keep it up for the next month while Dan Boyle heals, he will help this team keep its head above water in the early going.

Martin St. Louis got his season off to a great start with helpers in triplicate. Vincent Lecavalier scored a pair of goals. Vaclav Prospal had an empty net goal and added an assist in the game. Obviously, a great start for the MVP line. Paul Ranger and Filip Kuba added individual helpers.

And how did the kids do? Reasonably well. Their pairings got hemmed in a few times during the game, but that was more the result of mistakes made by others than anything they did.

Mike Lundin was +1 in 12:39 with 1 shot on goal, a point wrister that he snuck through traffic that nearly resulted in a goal. Lundin is definitely good positionally and he's always been a solid passer. My only concern is that at 188 pounds there's a chance opposing forwards will overpower him as the year wears on.

Matt Smaby had 1 hit in 6:15 of limited ice time.

Mathieu Darche got his NHL game check by playing 4:45 with 1 shot on goal.

Box score and extended stats from NHL.com.

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Egener & Rogers

How does the rapid rise of Lundin change the way these two are seen within the organization if at all? Has their window to impress grown smaller?

Lundin

Despite being a little green, I was really impressed with what I saw out of Lundin in his first professional game. I do see what you mean about his size. Being so thin, he wasn't able to grind it out in the corners very well, but he definitely made up for it with positional play. There were multiple occasions where he broke up cross-ice feeds as well as stripping New Jersey players. He made a few mistakes, also, but this was only his first game out of college. As for Smaby, he seemed a tad overwhelmed out there. Hopefully it was just nerves.

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