Friday, April 20, 2007
Devils defenseman Colin White was one of only six players to take the ice for the team's optional practice. That was a good sign because he missed the last two games with a stiff back. He tried to be optimistic about his chances of playing in Game 5 tonight.
"I feel a lot better than I did four days ago," he said Thursday. "You want to play every game. It's been hard sitting out two games this time of year. It's tough to sit and watch. The guys played great and, hopefully, I'll be back in [tonight] helping the guys."
Vincent Lecavalier has scored at least one goal in every game and has five goals and one assist in the series. Martin St. Louis has three goals and five assists and his eight points were tied for most in the league prior to Thursday's games.
When the Devils beat the Lightning in five games in the 2003 Eastern Conference semifinals, however, Lecavalier and St. Louis weren't nearly as effective: Lecavalier had no goals and one assist. St. Louis had two goals, one assist. To Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, the difference is clear.
"Confidence-wise they're 100 times different," he said. "They know they're the guys. They want to grab that team onto their shoulders and carry them."
On the record
With six goals in the first four games of the series, Devils left wing Zach Parise ranked first in the NHL and needs only one more to surpass Claude Lemieux's team record for goals in a playoff series. Lemieux scored six in a five-game win over Pittsburgh in the 1995 conference semifinals.
"I've just been a lot of times in a good spot at the right time," Parise said. "I've gotten lucky, fortunate bounces a couple of times, but as a line we've played really well."
Lightning strikes thrice
Brodeur is dismal 9-19 lifetime in playoff overtime games, but 3-0 against Tampa Bay.
"It's a big momentum boost confidence-wise when you do win in overtime," Brodeur said. "It's tough to play because a lot of it is out of your hands."
-- Tom Gulitti
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