One example of how well the Devils are playing in their last three games is the fact they held an explosive Lightning team to 19 shots on goal tonight.

“It was our sixth game in 10 nights, I think, going back to last week,” coach Pete DeBoer pointed out. “We knew we were going to have to rely on our system play and our team play. I thought we were very good to hold a team like that with that kind of offense to 19 or 20 shots. It was exactly the kind of game we needed to play.”

Neither Steven Stamkos nor Martin St. Louis scored a goal, even though Tampa Bay had four power plays.

What has made the Devils’ penalty-killing so good of late?

“The goalies are making saves at the right time,” Patrik Elias said. “We’re blocking shots at the right time. Hustle on everyone’s part.

“Our special teams were awesome tonight.”

DeBoer is pleased with the PK unit, now 19-for-19 over the last four games.

“It’s been a staple here, I think, all last year,” he said. “We’re playing with that confidence. Your goaltending has to be good if you’re going to kill off that many. Salvador and Volchenkov were outstanding. They really thrive on those penalty kills.”

The Devils scored twice with 5-on-3 power plays.

“On a 5-on-3 we have to score,” Kovalchuk said. “We had been struggling a little bit. The power play is a huge part.”