Game Day Preview: Jets @ Lightning

Posted by Ezra Ginsburg in Game Previews,Winnipeg Jets on February 2, 2012 — 5 Comments

When: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Time: 6:30 p.m. CST

Where: St.Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay, Florida

Records: Winnipeg (23-22-6), Tampa Bay Lightning (22-23-4)

Television/Radio:  TSN-JETS,SUN (HD)/ TSN 1290 Radio

The Story:  The Winnipeg Jets will look to play the role of streak busters tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of five games in a row.

The Jets are coming off a huge 2-1 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night and spirits are high so it only makes sense that they will want to spoil the Lightning’s good mood tonight in the Sunshine State.

The Jets and Lightning have met twice already this year, with each team earning a clean (no shootout/overtime) victory. The two teams are currently separated by four points in the ultra-close Southeast Division standings (Jets have 52 points, Lightning have 48 points) and will play each other four more times this season, including tonight’s game.

The stark reality is the Jets and Lightning will have to go through each other if they want to be participants in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Considering that it is quite possible that only one team from the Southeast Division will make the playoffs, (The Florida Panthers are the only team currently in a playoff position with 57 points), it won’t be easy for either the Jets or the Lightning down the stretch.

Tonight is the first game of back-to-back games for the Jets, who play the Panthers tomorrow night.

The Jets will get a big boost tonight in the form of Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov, who will both return to the line-up tonight. Byfuglien has missed the last 16 games with a knee injury and will be a welcome addition to the Jets power play, which has struggled without “Big Buff” and his big shot on the point.

The starting goaltender for tonight’s game has not been confirmed but Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason may split the two back-to-back games against the Lightning and Panthers.

Projected line combinations:

Goalie:

Ondrej Pavelec/Chris Mason

Forwards:

1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler

2nd:  Eric Fehr- Nikolai Antropov- Kyle Wellwood

3rd:  Tanner Glass- Jim Slater- Chris Thorburn

4th:  Antti Miettinen-Aaron Gagnon-Alexander Burmistrov

Defence:

Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom

Zach Bogosian-Mark Stuart

Johnny Oduya-Ron Hainsey

Offensive Leaders:

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (33 goals, 21 assists, 54 points), Martin St.Louis (13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points) and Vincent Lecavalier (19 goals, 21 assists, 40 points)

Winnipeg JetsBlake Wheeler (nine goals, 24 assists, 33 points), Evander Kane (18 goals, 13 assists, 31 points), Kyle Wellwood (nine goals, 21 assists, 30 points)

Injury Report:

Tampa Bay Lightning: Marc-Andre Bergeron (back), Dana Tyrell (knee), Ryan Malone (upper body), Adam Hall (arm), Matthias Ohlund (knee)

Winnipeg Jets:  Kane (concussion), Stapleton (lower body)

Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Friday, February 3rd against the Florida Panthers (6:30 p.m. CST). The Jets end their current road trip on Sunday, February 5th with a game against the Montreal Canadiens (1 p.m. CST).

QUICKIES…..Chris Thorburn’s game-tying goal on Tuesday night against Philadelphia was his first goal of the season (predicted by @icdave on twitter moments before he scored) and first goal since March 29,2011 when he was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers….. Join Illegal Curve at The Cheer Bar & Grill (Osborne & Stradbrook) for tonight’s Jets/Lightning game…..Pick up your official Illegal Curve New Era 5950 Fitted Hat, available online or at City Haul on 823 Corydon Avenue…..

  • http://twitter.com/DerekCurtis204 Derek4real

    not going to be easy, I hope we come with the same effort we did in Philly.  Skate hard, stay tight and we should be fine. 2 points here is a must if we want a playoff spot

  • Anonymous

    The post says Washington is the only team in a playoff position but Florida clearly holds the SE Division lead in 3rd place.  Also, shouldn’t Buff and Burmi be taken off the Injury Report if they are back on the line-up or are they game time decisions?

  • Anonymous

    You are right about the standings and injury report Jesse. I’m pumped to have both Buff and Burmistrov back in the lineup. Id like to see (and probably will) Burmistrov on the wing with Wheeler and Little.

  • Anonymous

    or with Antropov and Wellwood, now that the Ladd-Little-Wheeler line is back together

  • Anonymous

    The post has been updated. Thank you.