Lightning vs. Devils preview: Dainius Zubrus out against Tampa Bay

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

The New Jersey Devils (5-1-3) will host the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-0) at Prudential Center on Thursday night.

It will be the first of three meetings between the teams this season.

New Jersey will enter the contest without forward Dainius Zubrus who was announced as out on Thursday morning due to an upper-body injury.

With Zubrus out, junior eligible forward Stefan Matteau will play on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. The game will be Matteau's sixth in the NHL, which means his entry-level contract will officially begin.

The Devils will enter the contest on a two-game winning streak and currently boast an impressive 3-0-1 record on home ice. New Jersey currently trails the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay will be playing in the second game of a four-game road trip, which began with a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

Despite the team's quick start and potent offense, the Lightning are looking to make a statement with a strong showing on this road trip. With games against the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Devils and Flyers, the extended trip can show the team is a legitimate contender in the East.

Given its poor showing on the road last season (13-22-6), it's understandable that the team would want to get off to a strong start.

Anders Lindback (5-2-0; .912 save percentage, 2.73 GAA) has already been confirmed as the Lightning's starter. He will face Martin Brodeur (4-1-2; .907 save percentage, 2.51 GAA).

Thursday night's game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on SUN and MSG PLUS.

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