Game Day Preview: Lightning @ Jets
When: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (29-26-7), Tampa Bay Lightning (27-26-6)
Television/Radio: SUN (HD),TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290 Radio
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets’ eight-game, 18-day home stand continues tonight as the Jets will look to rebound from Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the MTS Centre.
The Jets were 9.7 seconds away from sweeping the four-game season series against the Flyers on Thursday night when Wayne Simmonds scored with less than 10 seconds to go in the third period and then Jaromir Jagr scored in overtime as the Jets could only muster one point despite a 50-save performance from Ondrej Pavelec.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Jets remain in 9th place in the Eastern Conference, tied in points with the Toronto Maple Leafs (65) but with less regulations wins (26 to 25). The Jets are 2-0-1 in the first three games of an eight-game homestand, the team’s longest of the season. The Jets picked up wins last week against the Boston Bruins (4-2) and Colorado Avalanche (5-1) and will try to make it three wins in four games against the Lightning tonight.
The Jets and Lightning have met three times already this season, with the Jets holding a two games to one season series advantage. The last time the Lightning and Jets met was back on February 2nd, when Kyle Wellwood scored the overtime winner in a 2-1 road victory for the Jets.
The Jets have matched up well against the Lightning this season and tonight the Jets will have an opportunity to exploit a team that has been partially dismantled days leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline.
In the last seven days, Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman has shipped forward Dominic Moore to the San Jose Sharks, defenseman Pavel Kubina to the Philadelphia Flyers and forward Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche (part of a three-way trade also involving the Detroit Red Wings).
In exchange for trading the three veteran players, the Lightning received two minor league prospects (Sebastien Piche and Jon Kalinski) and a plethora of draft picks; a 2012 1st round draft pick from Detroit, a 2012 2nd round draft pick from San Jose, a 2012 or 2013 2nd round draft pick from Philadelphia and a 2012 4th round pick from Philadelphia.
The Lightning will be without the services of Vincent Lecavalier tonight. Lecavalier is out indefinitely with a broken hand after he injured it on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. Dave (@icdave) confirmed that Bolts coach Boucher is going with Mathieu Garon in net tonight. Listen to the coach’s audio here.
Projected Jets line combinations:
1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: Tanner Glass- Jim Slater- Chris Thorburn
4th: Tim Stapleton- Nikolai Antropov -Eric Fehr
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Randy Jones-Mark Stuart
Johnny Oduya-Ron Hainsey
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (42 goals, 28 assists, 70 points), Martin St. Louis (18 goals, 34 assists, 52 points), Vincent Lecavalier (21 goals, 25 assists, 46 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (11 goals, 36 assists, 47 points), Evander Kane (23 goals, 16 assists, 39 points), Kyle Wellwood (12 goals, 24 assists, 36 points), Dustin Byfuglien (nine goals, 27 assists, 36 points)
Tampa Bay Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier (broken hand, indefinitely), Dana Tyrell (knee, out for season), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back), Mattias Ohlund (knee)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (day-to-day, upper-body)
Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Saturday, February 25th, at home, against the St.Louis Blues (1:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES…..Jets captain Andrew Ladd has three goals and an assist (four points) in his last two games…..Dustin Byfuglien has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last four games…..Bryan Little leads the Jets with six game-winning goals…..In the past three games, the Jets have scored thirteen goals, good for an average of 4.33 goals/game……