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Devils hope to emerge from Florida with a split

TAMPA, Fla. -- The new-look New Jersey Devils are determined to make sure a two-game swing through Florida produces more than a case of sunburn.

The Devils debuted a new lineup that includes the likes of Taylor Hall, P.A. Parenteau and a healthy Mike Cammalleri with mixed results in an opening night overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.

"We have to be way harder on the puck in every facet," New Jersey head coach John Hynes told the Bergen County Record. "How we manage it, how hard we are in the offensive zone. How quickly and hard we defend down low."

After facing the Panthers on opening night, the task does not get any easier for the Devils in the second game against a Tampa Bay Lightning team that has reached the Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference finals the past two seasons.

"It's not going to be perfect right away," Hynes told The Record. "But we've got to take some lessons out of that. We can play with structure. We can play with detail.

"To take that to the next step as a team, we have to be harder and more competitive for more of the time in the game continually on the puck. That's the biggest lesson out of that (first) game, and we get another opportunity to challenge ourselves again. We've got a team that's favored, possibly, to win the Stanley Cup. We've got to be a better team than we were against Florida."

Tampa Bay opened the season with a 6-4 victory against Detroit, using depth and team speed to create the necessary momentum to rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 while finding space through the neutral zone.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper figures space will be a little bit harder to find against an historically stingy defensive team with an elite goaltender, but now has more scoring threats.

"They are built from the back end out," Cooper said. "I think Corey Schneider is an upper-echelon goaltender in this league. They have a coach that plays to that system and they are really disciplined in their structure.

"The one knock has been the goal scoring, but you throw in a healthy Cammalleri and a Taylor Hall, now their speed element is up, their goal-scoring should go up. I expect them to score a lot more. Let's just hope it's not (Saturday)."

Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan, who underwent hip surgery during the summer that forced him to miss the World cup of Hockey, has been cleared for contact and participated in a full practice with the team on Friday wearing a normal colored white jersey. But the time frame on his recovery has not been altered, according to Cooper.

"His jersey color may change but the when-he's-returning-date won't change, that one is way more important to me," Cooper said. "But he's chomping to get back. His body is holding him back for the time being."

Callahan is not expected back until November.