Game Day Preview: Jets @ Lightning

Posted by Ezra Ginsburg in Game Previews,Winnipeg Jets on March 31, 2012 — No Comments

When: Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m. CST

Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa Bay, Florida

Records: Winnipeg Jets (36-34-8), Tampa Bay Lightning (35-35-7)

Television/Radio: CBC,SUN (HD) / TSN Radio 1290

The Story: The Winnipeg Jets continue their four-game road trip tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning looking for their second consecutive victory.

The Jets ended a three-game losing streak Friday night with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes as Captain Andrew Ladd scored his 25th goal of the season just 14 seconds into the extra frame. The Jets improved their road record to 13-21-4 with the win.

There are only seven days left in the 2011’12 NHL Regular Season and the Jets still have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Jets are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 80 points, six points behind the 8th place Washington Capitals and six points behind the 9th place Buffalo Sabres (86 points). The Capitals have the advantage with the most regulation wins (36).

Including tonight, the Jets have three games remaining on the road and one game remaining at home (last game of the season, April 7th versus the Tampa Bay Lightning). After tonight’s game against the Lightning the Jets will have two days off before their next game, Tuesday, April 3rd against the Florida Panthers (6:30 p.m. CST). The Jets will close out their four-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Thursday, April 5th (6:30 p.m. CST) before coming home to close out their season against Tampa two nights later.

Tonight’s game between the Jets and Lightning will be the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams with Winnipeg holding the season series edge with three wins to Tampa’s one. The last time these two teams played was back on February 23rd, a 4-3 Jets road victory.

The Lightning enter tonight’s game on the heels of a 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. The 12th place Lightning have lost two games in a row and six of their last ten games.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.

Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to tonight’s game.

Projected Jets line combinations:

Goalie:

Ondrej Pavelec

Forwards:

1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler

2nd:  Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Antti Miettinen

3rd:  Chris Thorburn – Jim Slater- Spencer Machacek

4th:  Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood

Defence:

Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom

Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian

Grant Clitsome-Mark Stuart

Offensive Leaders:

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (55 goals, 36 assists, 91 points), Martin St. Louis (24 goals, 46 assists, 70 points), Teddy Purcell (20 goals, 40 assists, 60 points)

Winnipeg JetsBlake Wheeler (17 goals, 44 assists, 61 points), Evander Kane (29 goals, 25 assists, 54 points), Dustin Byfuglien (11 goals, 36 assists, 47 points)

Injury Report:

Tampa Bay Lightning: Adam Hall (upper body), Mathieu Garon (groin), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back), Dana Tyrell (knee), Mattias Ohlund (knee)

Winnipeg Jets:  Tanner Glass (foot, out for season), Eric Fehr (upper body)

Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Tuesday, April 3rd, on the road, against the Florida Panthers (6:30 p.m. CST).

QUICKIES…..Kyle Wellwood had two points on Friday night and now has 46 points on the season, a new career-high….Spencer Machacek has two goals and three assists in his last five games…..Join The Illegal Curve Crew tonight at The Cheer Bar & Grill (Osborne and Stradbrook) for the Jets/Lightning game…..