TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Lightning are finding ways to make Martin Brodeur look ordinary.
Vincent Lecavalier scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, and Brad Richards and Vinny Prospal each tallied their first in helping the Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of their first-round Eastern Conference series.
Johan Holmqvist, who has rebounded from a shaky NHL postseason debut to outplay Brodeur the past two games, stopped 30 shots as the seventh-seeded Lightning took a 2-1 lead in the best- of-seven matchup. Game 4 is at Tampa on Wednesday night.
Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, entered the playoffs with a 1.89 career goals- against average, but has given up three in each game of the series. Tampa Bay also won three of four regular-season meetings against the goalie, who won a league- record 48 games.
The Devils outshot the Lightning 9-5 in the opening period, but were 0-for-3 on the power play and failed to take advantage of a two-man advantage they held for a little more than a minute after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis went to the penalty box for high-sticking.
John Madden and Zach Parise scored for the Devils.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres forwards stayed down only so long.
After two games where most of the offense came from the defense, Vanek, Daniel Briere, and Adam Mair all connected in the second period Monday night to lift Buffalo over the New York Islanders and give the top-seeded Sabres a 2-1 lead in the first-round, Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Sabres, who led the NHL with 308 goals, scored six while splitting the first two games on home ice. That all changed when the Sabres scored three times in a span of 7:39.
Trent Hunter and Ryan Smyth answered in the second period in front of a towel-waving, sellout crowd and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. It wasn't enough, despite 32 saves by Rick DiPietro in his first home game in three weeks following a bout with post-concussion syndrome.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday on Long Island. Game 5 is back in Buffalo on Friday.
Ryan Miller recovered from a shaky start to make 20 saves in his second victory this series and 13th of his playoff career.
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