NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Ilya Kovalchuk and Marek Zidlicky scored in a 1:11 span to cap a four-goal second period and the New Jersey Devils put themselves on the doorstep of a playoff berth with a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Dainius Zubrus, Jacob Josefson, Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson also scored as New Jersey matched its season high for goals in posting its second straight victory and overcoming a hat trick by Ryan Malone of Tampa Bay.
The Devils can return to the playoff for the 14th time in 15 seasons by earning one more point in their final four games or having the Washington Capitals fail to earn a point.
New Jersey missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1996, a run of 13 straight years. There was no NHL season in 2004.