JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ TAMPA BAY

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JETBLAST - Tampa Bay Lightning
JETBLAST - Winnipeg Jets

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (13-13-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (17-10-1)

6:00 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum TV: CBC, SUN Radio: TSN 1290,

For the second game in a row the Jets will face a former South East division rival as they end their season high 6 game road trip with a trip to Tampa Bay for a match up against the Lightning. Since their last meeting last season things have changed for the Lightning who are all of a sudden a contender in the East, currently sitting in fourth place. The Jets on the other hand are the same inconsistent team fans have gotten used to the past two seasons so you never know how this one could go. Jets and Lightning live on Hockey Night in Canada, put on your best Don Cherry suit, find a good seat and Lets go!

Lightning

Despite being without their top scorer, and maybe the best scorer in the league, the past three weeks Tampa Bay has not missed a beat and continue winning. The loss of Steven Stamkos was not an event many though this team could overcome, however, the Lightning continue their strong team play and have kept themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference. Tampa is coming off a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, snapping a two game losing streak which saw them fail to score a goal. Since the injury to Stmakos the Lightning have pulled together as a team to replace that offense. The ageless wonder Martin St. Louis is keeping up a nearly point a game clip, Valteri Filppula has over 20 points and in all the Lightning have 6 players with 15 points or more. Scoring has never been an issue for the Lightning, however they have had some problems keeping the puck out of their own net. Making that a tougher test Saturday will be the loss of Victor Hedman. Hedman left Thursdays game against Ottawa with a lower body injury and will not be in the lineup Saturday, this is an injury the Jets need to take advantage of.

Jets

The Winnipeg fans went from a consensus feel of a successful road trip before Thursdays game, to having to win Saturday in Tampa Bay to salvage any form of success. The Jets pulled out another one of their absolute dreadful games during the 5-2 loss to Florida. The team, much like the fans, seemed to take this game as a automatic win. It was not to be however as the far inferior Panthers team dominated the Jets for most of the game. The Jets managed only a few scoring chances, and failed when they got them. They also gave up way too many chances and odd man rushes, and too many ended up in their own net. There are not many positives to take from that game so the Jets need to move on and get back to buisness. Winnipeg needs to get the win on Saturday, going home with a .500 record would be unnacceptable and a huge missed opportunity.

Keys to the Game

Back to basics: The Jets did not play their game Thursday and it showed up on the scoresheet. Get back to your game and play the right way.

Pavelec: Winnipeg cannot blame the loss on Ondrej Pavelec, however he was outplayed by Tim Thomas and the Jets cannot afford their goalie being out played to often.

Keep rolling Olli: Joikinen has been great recently, with 4 points and 3 goals in his last two games he has been a force. The Jets count on him for secondary scoring and it needs to continue.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (10-11-3) GAA: 2.76 SV% .914
Ben Bishop (15-5-1) GAA: 1.98 SV% .934

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Bogosian WPG, (lower body injury) out
Kane WPG, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Frolik WPG, (Flu) day-to-day

Hedman TB, (lower body injury) out
Aulie TB, (upper body injury) out
Brewer TB, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Labrie TB, (upper body injury) out
Malone TB, (upper body injury) out
Gudas TB, (upper body injury) day-to-day
Stamkos TB, (broken leg) out
Pyatt TB, (collarbone) out
Lee TB, (knee) out
Ohlund TB, (knee) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 4-4-2
Lightning: 4-5-1

Prediction

Jets salvage trip, grab 2 points
Jets 3 Lightning 2

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!