JETBLAST: TAMPA BAY @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Tampa Bay Lightning (4-2-1) at Winnipeg Jets (2-4-0) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre, TV: TSN 3  Radio:TSN 1290

After finally getting back in the win column the Winnipeg Jets welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the MTS Centre to try and make it 2 in a row. The Lightning will provide a far greater challenge to Winnipeg than the winless Carolina Hurricanes however. So far this season the Lightning have shown themselves to be a potent offensive team, and a team that will be able to challenge in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are coming off a win and looking to make it two in a row, Jets, Lightning, Lets Go!

Lightning

Since the start of the year the Lightning have alternated wins and losses in each game. Tomorrow will mark the Lightnings 4th game of the week, and 4th of a 5 game road trip. Tampa Bay started the trip with a win in Vancouver, followed by a loss in Edmonton before dropping the Calgary Flames in overtime Tuesday. The Lightning are in many ways the same team they have been for many years now, a very strong offensive team, with possibly the best offensive player in the league. However their weaknesses have also remained the same, the back end is full of question marks and the goaltenders are far from a top pairing in the NHL. The newest addition in Tampa is Jonathan Drouin, the sensational forward out of the Q. Drouin is expected to be one of the NHL’s premier scorers down the line. Drouin notched his first NHL point Tuesday and he will be looking for more Friday night you can be sure.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets finally snapped a 4 game losing streak Tuesday night beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. For most the only thing this game proved was that Winnipeg is not the worst team in the league. To prove they are a good team though they still have a ways to go, but with wins they are at least moving in the right direction. More in that vein, the major news the Jets received this week involves Evander Kane, and seemingly the next step in his return. For the first time since he went knee on knee opening night with Mark Scheifele, Kane will be skating this weekend. This is major news for the Jets who have been unable to score goals since opening night. The Jets are averaging just 1.83 goals per game, tied for 27th in the league and if not for the 6 goals on opening night they would be last by a considerable margin.

Keys to the Game

Stop Stamkos: Probably the best pure scorer in the game, Steven Stamkos can single handedly take oer, and win a game for his team. If the Jets let him get on the score sheet once, chances are he may fill it up. Tough D from the blue line as well as forwards will be needed to shut down the NHLs best.

Power Play: The Jets are still without  a goal on the man advantage. In nearly 20 tries the Jets have not been able to find the net, and for a team struggling for goals it is a major problem. Winnipeg needs goals, and with an extra man they really need to be able to get some.

String them together: The Jets losing streak was four games before they were able to beat Carolina. They will need to win as many in row if they want to be a playoff contender this year. If you cannot string wins together you are destined to be at the bottom of the standings.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (2-3-0) GAA: 2.32 SV% .913
Ben Bishop (3-1-1) GAA: 1.97 SV% .921

Injuries

Kane, WPG, (Knee) out

Callahan, TBL, (LBI) day-to-day
Killorn, TBL, (UBI) day-to-day
Hedman, TBL, (Hand) out
Gudas, TBL, (LBI) day-to-day
Ohlund, TBL, (Knee) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 2-4-0
Hurricanes: 4-2-1

Prediction

Jets get the job done, make it two in a row
Jets 4 Lightning 3

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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!