The New Jersey Devils could not get back on track on Tuesday night and dropped their sixth game in a row in a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Prudential Center. The offense continues to struggle to put the puck in the net and give any support for goaltender Johan Hedberg. After falling behind 3-0 in the second period, Hedberg was pulled for relief goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who made his NHL debut.
The crowd at the Prudential Center cheered wildly after coach Peter DeBoer sent Kinkaid out for his first NHL action. DeBoer said he made the goaltending change to spark the team and not because of the way Hedberg was playing. Kinkaid stopped 12 of 13 shots in relief of Hedberg.
Anders Lindback had 25 saves for the Lightning, surrendering late goals to Adam Henrique (shorthanded) and Patrik Elias.
"We have to build off the last four minutes," DeBoer said. "This is our adversity. Every team faces them at different points in the year and this is ours. You hope that you get to the bottom here so you start climbing up. I'm hoping this is rock bottom and we can start getting off the mat and getting on to bigger and better things."
The Devils have given up the first goal in seven consecutive games, but are still 7th in the Eastern Conference with a 10-8-5 record, although they have only one point in their current six-game skid.
New Jersey will once again look to get back on track when the Buffalo Sabres come to town on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. face-off at the Prudential Center in Newark.