WINNIPEG (3-3-1) at Tampa Bay (5-1-0)
After a very poor performance in Florida Thursday night the Jets head Tampa to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, rounding out their 3 game road trip. Last season the teams split their 6 game season series 3 a piece including the season closer at the MTS Center when Steven Stamkos scored his 60th goal of the season en route to a Lightning overtime victory. Both teams look to improve on last years results as neither team was in the playoff hunt at the end of the season.
Tampa Bay has been near unstoppable so far this season. Sitting at 5-1 including an undefeated 4-0 record at home the Lightning have been steam rolloing opponents averaging over 5.5 goals a game at home. The offence is carried by faces that you are likely to recognize if you have seen the Lightning play over the last few years. Stamkos, St. Louis and Lecalvalier are all back looking to put up big numbers and they are helped by a solid back end and young players like surprising Cory Conacher and sophmore Victor Hedman. The Lightning are anchored by goaltender Anders Lindberg who has been a pleasant surprise in between the pipes for Tampa Bay.
Winnipeg comes off their poorest performance since the season opener. Florida throttled the Jets for the better part of 60 minutes, outshooting Winnipeg 34-25. Winnipeg was unable to apply any consistent pressure, even on a early 5 on 3 powerplay that lasted over a minute in the first period. The game wasn’t without bright spots however as both Tobi Enstrom and Grant Clitsome got their first goals of the season and Olli Joikenen scored his second in as many games. Worth mentioning as well is if not for a couple bad bounces off Winnipeg defenders into their own goal Winnipeg could have been right in this game despite being outplayed.
Keys to the Game
Quick Start: Thursday night in Florida marks the 5th straight game that Winnipeg has given up the first goal of the game. Although this was a defeceit Winnipeg was able to overcome early they have not been so fortunate the last couple games. They can not afford to fall behind in front of a loud undefeated crowd in Tampa Bay or they will find themselves under .500 after the game.
Physicality: Tamps Bay is a team that likes to use their speed to create chances. Winnipeg hopes to have big Dustin Byfuglien back in the lineup who is one of their biggest hitters but they need a all around physical game from both defenseman and forwards to try and slow down this quick lightning team.
Goaltending: Although not poor the last couple games Ondrej Pavelec has not been good either. Winnipeg needs a great performance from their goaltender on a day to day basis to be in games. Simply put good is not good enough for Winnipeg when it comes to the man between the pipes.
Ondrej Pavelec (2-3-1) GAA: 2.57SV% .918
Anders Lindback (4-1-0) GAA: 2.80 SV%: .914
Bogosian WPG, (Wrist) out
Miettenen WPG, (Upper body) out
Byfuglien WPG, (Leg) out
Ohlund TB, (Knee) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Jets: 3-3-1 Lightning: 5-1-0
Jets lack offensive chances again, lose third straight
Lightning 5 Jets 1