Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets
|(27-26-6) 60 points||(29-26-7) 65 points|
11th in East, 4th in Southeast
9th in East, 2nd in Southeast
The Lightning sit in 11th place but only 5 points behind the Jets, Panthers and Leafs to get into the playoff picture. They also have 3 games in hand over the Jets so the only game for the Lightning that may be bigger then this one will be their match with the Jets in April.
Tampa Bay lost their captain Vinny Lecavalier indefinitely and are also dealing with the absence of Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie as both players were traded away by GM Steve Yzerman for draft picks and a prospect.
The Lightning have responded by winning 3 straight games and a 4th over the Jets will keep their playoff hopes alive. Steven Stamkos has put the Lightning on his back this year leading the league with 42 goals, with 23 games remaining 50 should be a lock and if he stays hot 60 may be in the cards.
The Jets lost a heart breaker at home against Philadelphia coming just 9.4 seconds away from four straight wins. They have taken 7 of 8 points over the past 4 games and hope to rebound against Tampa. The top two lines have looked great since Alexander Burmistrov was inserted in and Nik Antropov was dropped to the fourth line. Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler are both on 4 game point streaks and I will predict that both will make it 5 tonight.
Ondrej Pavelec faced 55 shots in the overtime loss and made arguably the save of the year in the NHL on a Philadelphia power play during the final minutes of regulation. He was the Jets best player and despite the work load will most likely be back in net tonight with a crucial four-point game and playoffs on the line.
The great news for the Jets is the power play was 3 for 3 against the Flyers and is now 5 for 8 over the last two games. Not bad for a team that sits among the bottom of the league on the season for power play percentage.
Keys to Victory
Keep the power play hot. The Jets have gotten it going with the man advantage and capitalizing on the power play could be the difference in the game
Shut down Stamkos. The league leader in goals with 42, the Jets have to be aware when he is on the ice and not let him get any open looks on the Jets net.
Score first. The Jets continue to be better when they score first at home. They have yet to lose in regulation when scoring first and adding a second goal in the game.
Ondrej the Giant. He is the Jets MVP and if he has a let down game after a frustrating loss the Jets are done.
Zach Bogosian (Upper Body) – Questionable
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (22-20-7, 2.77, .911) [Unconfirmed]
Lightning – Matthieu Garon (19-15-4, 2.82, .903) [Confirmed]
The Jets will respond and silence a streaking team once again. They are streak killers.
Winnipeg Jets 5 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2