|(35-35-7) 77 points||(36-34-8) 80 points|
12th in East, 5th in Southeast
10th in East, 3rd in Southeast
The Lightning have the best goal scorer in the NHL and Steven Stamkos is threatening to break 60 goals this season. He currently sits with 55 goals and has 5 games remaining. Aside from Stamkos the Tampa faithful have not had much to cheer for this year and that definitely rings true in goal. They will however get a glimpse of their future with Sebastien Caron getting his first start of the season. Considering Winnipeg’s road troubles and troubles in back-to-back games it’s no surprise that Guy Boucher chose this game for Caron to make his debut.
Tampa Bay sits but 3 points back with a game in hand of the Winnipeg Jets and have a chance to leap-frog over Carolina thanks to Winnipeg’s overtime victory last night. A win will give the Bolts a chance to pull ahead of Winnipeg with their game in hand, something that may not be in their best interest when it comes to the offseason draft.
The Jets seem destined to the golf course but somebody forgot to tell them that. Trailing 3-1 in Carolina last night they fought back, tied the game up and Andrew Ladd came through with the game winning goal just seconds into overtime. Chris Mason got probably his last start of the season and once again proved to be too much for Carolina to handle. Ondrej Pavelec will be in between the pipes tonight and if the Jets are to keep their slim to none playoff hopes alive he’ll need to be the MVP and cool off the hot Stamkos.
Along with Pavelec the top two lines will need to get back to scoring the way they had last month, Evander Kane sits 1 goal shy of 30 for the first time in his young career. Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 61 points and has been a point a game player since ending the slump that started off his year. If the Jets can have all four lines scoring at the same time they can prove quite difficult to beat.
Keys to Victory
Special Teams. The Jets need to get the power play going and stop giving up short-handed goals.
Score first. The Jets continue to be better when scoring first and every game the first goal will be huge.
Play Tight. They’ve been sloppy as of late and Ondrej Pavelec put it best. Playing that way will get then killed.
Shot and Traffic. They are facing a goalie who’s getting his first NHL start, they need to test him and test him with traffic so he can’t see the puck and not get a feel for it.
Eric Fehr (Upper Body) – Questionable
Chris Thorburn (Upper Body) – Out Indefinitely
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (28-28-7, 2.88, .907) [Confirmed]
Lightning – Sebastien Caron (0-0-0, 0, 1.000) [Confirmed]
The Jets have been horrid on back-to-back games but they have nothing to lose and no pressure to win with the playoffs all but gone without help from Montreal and Toronto tonight. That being said I think the Jets will claw out a win in Tampa.
Winnipeg Jets 5 – Tampa Bay Lightning 3