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Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Lightning take on Devils in Game 4

Lightning take on Devils in Game 4

Having lost their top defenseman, Sami Vatanen, late in the first period Wednesday night on an unpenalized high hit from Nikita Kucherov, the Devils went on to lose Game 4 to the Lightning, 3-1, in Newark. There were no lineup changes for Game 4.

One more win, and the Lightning are on to the second round, though it will be curious to see if Kucherov will be play Saturday in Game 5 back in Tampa or if the league suspends him for the Vatanen hit.

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Game 5 is a 3:00 pm EDT start in Tampa Bay. Colton Sissons and Craig Smith scored in the second period, following Filip Forsberg's highlight-reel first-period marker to give the Preds a 3-0 advantage going into the third. Devils coach John Hynes screamed at the officials after the play but declined to talk about it after the game. Later in the period Brian Boyle hit Kucherov and then dragged him back down to the ice after he got up, sparking a scrum after which Anton Stralman, Blake Coleman and Miles Wood were assessed roughing penalties. Kucherov wasn't penalized for the hit, which the NHL's department of player safety deemed legal after determining Vatanen's head was not the main point of contact during the encounter. Nikita Kucherov, a potential Hart Trophy candidate, factored into all three goals. Cory Schneider made 34 saves for New Nersey in starting his second straight game.

LIGHTNING SCORE! J.T. Miller evens up the game with an unassisted goal! "It was a bang-bang play, and I don't think (Vatanen) thought he was going to get hit, but, to me, it was a good hit". "We need to go out and play our best game".

The Lightning had tied it at 11:30 on a great rush.

Cory Conacher appeared to give Tampa Bay the lead with 7:39 left in the period, but the goal was overturned when a review found the Lightning were offside.

For the first time in the series, the Devils struck first as Palmieri put a one-timer from the right circle into the left side of the net during a five-on-three at 8:23 of the opening period.

He was flying all over the ice, leading his team with seven shots on goal and nine shot attempts in 20:28 worth of ice time. Regardless of a team gets 50 shots in a game, and they're all from the outside, he's getting a lot of work.

Over his six-year National Hockey League career, Vatanen has played for the Devils and Ducks. Eleven seconds later, New Jersey had its second 5-on-3 goal in two games.

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