NEWARK, NJ (AP) With the first playoff appearance of the New Jersey Devils since 2012 that is beginning to look like an early start, Taylor Hall became big, as he has done all season.
Hall had one goal and two assists, setting the winning game for Stefan Noesen with 7:05 plays, and Cory Schneider made 34 saves to shore up the goal and lead the Devils to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning prone to penalties on Monday night in Game 3 of his best series of the first round series.
The Devils scored four goals in the third period when they cut the Tampa Bay series lead to 2-1. Game 4 will also be played at the Prudential Center on Wednesday.
Hall, appearing in the playoffs for the first time since he was voted No. 1 in 2010, played down his role.
"It's not my first playoff win, it's ours as a group," said Hall, who had a year's career in goals, assists and points. "We were confident in playing at home again with how we played to finish the regular season, it's a great feeling, we're still down 2-1, we still have a lot of space to go, but it's a good start."
The Devils had many contributors.
Rookie Will Butcher had a power play goal early in the third to tie the score 2 -all. Blake Coleman and Ben Lovejoy added empty net objectives late. Schneider only abandoned two power goals to replace Keith Kinkaid and give the Demons a chance in this series.
"It's huge, you can see that in the end it gets a bit unpleasant, similar to the last game," Schneider said of the triumph. "We have emotional participation now, we are on everyone's nerves, it's going to be a series."
Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos each had a power goal and an assist for Lightning, which allowed the Devils to make seven plays of power. Nikita Kucherov added two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves in the game that had a big scrum with 23 seconds left.
"At the end of the day you give them lots of opportunities to power and then you give them a 5-in-3 chance, it's a good chance they'll eventually get one," Stamkos said. "They got one and then they got momentum."
Hall was the Most Valuable Player of the Demons during his impressive career from the worst team in the Eastern Conference to the postseason in a year, and did not disappoint in his biggest game of the season.
Hall skated through the boards on the right, avoided a control of Tyler Johnson in the center of the ice and found Noesen in the left circle with a crossed ice pass that passed Vasilevskiy front.
"He's a good player and good players are going to make plays," said center Rayning Brayden Point. "He spent a good night tonight, he's a guy we have to look at, know when he's out there and take away his space."
Butcher had tied him at 4:03 of the period, only 24 seconds after the Lightnings were penalized for having too many men "It was our worst nightmare tonight," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
The Lightning, who scored on 3 of 4 power plays in the first two games, made two more in Game 3.
Stamkos gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead in just 38 seconds of the third with a shot from the left circle that was squeezed between the arm and the body of Schneider and dribbled into the net. It was his first goal of the series.
Tampa Bay, which never lost in winning the first two games, took the lead again 42 seconds into the second period in Killorn's third goal of the series and fourth overall. Kucherov sent a pass from behind the goal line that Killorn redirected to the net before Schneider could move.
Hall tied the game 1-all with an unattended goal at 12:24. Vasilevskiy made an excellent stop in a shot near the blue line of Kyle Palmieri. The disc was misinterpreted by the Lightning and went to Hall between the circles and threw a shot beyond Vasilevskiy.
Hall could have had more. Hit the crossbar on a break from the first period.
NOTES: Center J.T. Miller of the Lightning had to leave the ice late in the second period after suffering a facial cut. He returned for the third period. … Demon Captain Andy Greene had attended the goals of Noesen and Lovejoy. … Killorn and Johnson skated each in their 50th postseason game. … C Cory Conacher replaced the injured Ryan Callahan (upper body) in the Lightning lineup. … Devils F Michael Grabner, who was acquired from the Rangers in February, was a healthy scratch after playing in the first two games. Mirco Mueller also sat as New Jersey dressed six defenders instead of seven used in Game 2.
Follow Tom Canavan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APTCan
More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey