Devils knocked off by Lightning, 3-2

October 16, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. – The Devils wanted to play harder and they did.

They needed to get more out of their top-six forwards and they did.

The next step now in the on-going search for their first win of the nascent season is maintaining that type of performance for a full 60 minutes.

“We had more of how we wanted to play, competitively on the puck, territorially,” coach John Hynes said. “But when we play excellent teams, or any team in this league, it’s got to be pretty consistent for 60 minutes.”

Actually, it wasn’t so much the Devils slipping as the Lightning, picked by many to win the Stanley Cup this season, playing the way they’re supposed to, rallying from a two-goal, first-period deficit for a 3-2 win on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.

The Devils’ had captain Andy Greene’s potential go-ahead goal in the second period overturned on a coach’s challenge with Mike Cammalleri offsides.

“They’re a team that knows how to win and is consistently there at the end of May, playing,” said right wing Kyle Palmieri, who opened the scoring 52 seconds into the first period by deflecting defenseman John Moore’s shot from the left point.

“We knew they were going to have a little push and the intensity was going to get a little ramped up,” Palmieri added. “You know a team like that is going to go into the locker room and regroup and put on a press. They did some things to us and we were a little looser with the puck.”

Cory Schneider made 31 saves for the Devils, who opened their season with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Panthers, who won the Atlantic Division last season. The Devils face the Ducks, who won the Pacific Division, in Tuesday’s home opener at Prudential Center.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for the Lightning (2-0-0), stopping the last 29 shots he saw.

“We did a lot of good things, we had some chemistry with how the lines worked out,” said right wing P.A. Parenteau, who set up Travis Zajac’s goal from the left circle to make it 2-0 at 4:26 of the first period. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up. Those were two really good teams, probably the best two teams in our conference, or close to it. We let up for 10, 12 minutes and it cost us a game. We’ve got to learn from it.”

Valtteri Filppula scored the winner at 5:43 of the third period, deflecting in defenseman Jason Garrison’s shot from the right point as he battled Travis Zajac for position in the slot.

The Lightning took the first seven shots of the second period and Ondrej Palat fed Steven Stamkos at the right post to cut the Devils lead to 2-1 at 7:53. Alex Killorn, from high in the slot, beat Schneider through his pads to tie the game at 10:07.

But Greene had his goal reversed at 15:33. That was after Cammalleri had the puck go in as he spun and shot at 13:32. But the play was whistled dead as Stamkos was called for holding Palmieri’s stick.

“We just have to do a better job, really, in the beginning of the second period,” Hynes said. “That’s really the biggest difference in the game but it’s a step in the right direction for us. Against Florida in the third period, it was 20 minutes that we didn’t gather ourselves and have a pushback. I really liked the way we pushed back the second half of that second period.”

Email: grossa@northjersey.com