|(37-36-8) 82 points||(37-35-9) 83 points|
11th in East, 4th in Southeast
10th in East, 3rd in Southeast
The Lightning have performed under expectations all season and while the playoffs are out of the question they have put themselves into a position to move past the Jets and into third in the Southeast division in the final game of the year. To do it all they need to do is beat Winnipeg at home. No easy task if you ask the Bruins, but simple enough if you ask the Islanders.
A win in the final game may be a moral victory but it will also give the Lightning the 10th overall pick instead of the 9th or higher. When it comes to this time of year every loss has a silver lining attached to so Steve Yzerman won’t be to heart broken if the Jets win tonight.
The real story will be Steven Stamkos and his attempt to reach 60 goals. He sits on 59 and will have to do it in hostile territory on the last game of the season and Ondrej Pavelec might have something to say about it.
The Jets wrap up the season how it started, a home game and a crazed sold out crowd who is just happy to have a team back. The team overachieved to some and underachieved to management. That’s a good thing for the future of this club and despite a plan to build through the draft no one in the Jets brass will see the silver lining in losing the last game of the season and potentially dropping to last in the Southeast of Carolina can pick up a victory today.
Blake Wheeler will finish as the teams leading scorer, but Andrew Ladd is within striking distance of Evander Kane for the goal scoring race. Tonight’s game will be remembered more for saying thanks to a team that returned to the prairies and gave Winnipeg something to cheer for one again. It will be unofficial team appreciation night and will be the end of the honeymoon period. Starting next year the team will be treated like every other NHL team and will be expected to perform on the ice at home and on the road.
Keys to Victory
Home Cooking. The Jets need to do what they’ve done all year at home, play above their heads and win games.
Score first. The Jets continue to dominate at home after 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.
Draw penalties. Winnipeg’s big statistical advantage is on the power play so they need to exploit it for all it’s worth and convert on their chances. The road has struggled but at home they are an amazing 25%
Eric Fehr (Upper Body) – Questionable
Tanner Glass (Broken Foot) – Out Indefinitely
Kyle Wellwood (Broken Foot) – Out Indefinitely
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (28-27-8, 2.90, .907) [Unconfirmed]
Lightning – Dwayne Roloson (12-16-3, 3.68, .886) [Confirmed]
The Jets will do what they wanted to do for the first home game of the season and will let the fans celebrate in winning style. Stamkos will get his 60th though.
Winnipeg Jets 5 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2