Game Day Preview: Lightning @ Jets
When: Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (37-35-9), Tampa Bay Lightning (37-36-8)
Television/Radio: CBC,CW44/ TSN Radio 1290
The Story: Tonight is the regular season finale for the Winnipeg Jets as they will host the Tampa Bay Lightning, looking to give their fans one final hurrah before they pack up their equipment for the summer.
The Jets won’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their first year back in Winnipeg but with a roster loaded with young talent and a fan base that is passionately behind them, the future certainly looks ultra- bright in the River City.
So tonight’s game will be about the fans and saying goodbye to an inaugural season that was full of memorable moments. The Jets have posted a record of 23-13-4 at home this year, one of the best records in the National Hockey League and young stars such as Evander Kane, Ondrej Pavelec and Alexander Burmistrov have taken positive steps forward and shown that the future of the team is in solid hands.
The Jets will finish in either 10th, 11th or 12th place in the Eastern Conference but showed that they could compete with all of the other teams in their division on a nightly basis- Heading into the final game of the regular season, the Jets (83 points) were seven points behind the 8th place Washington Capitals (90 points) and five points behind the 9th place Buffalo Sabres (88 points).
Tonight’s game between the Jets and Lightning will be the sixth and final meeting of the season between the two teams with the Jets holding the season series edge with three wins to Tampa Bay’s two (two games have gone to overtime). The last time these two teams played was last Saturday, March 31st, a 3-2 Tampa Bay victory.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to tonight’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations:
1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Spencer Machacek
3rd: Chris Thorburn – Jim Slater- Patrice Cormier
4th: Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov - Antti Miettinen
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Grant Clitsome- Zach Bogosian
Mark Flood-Mark Stuart
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (59 goals, 37 assists, 96 points), Martin St.Louis (25 goals, 48 assists, 73 points), Teddy Purcell (21 goals, 41 assists, 62 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (17 goals, 46 assists, 63 points), Evander Kane (30 goals, 26 assists, 56 points), Dustin Byfuglien (12 goals, 41 assists, 53 points)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 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), Kyle Wellwood (ankle, out for season), Randy Jones (upper body)
Who’s Next: Tonight’s game is the last game of the regular season for the Jets.
QUICKIES…..Prior to tonight’s game, the Jets will honor the memory of Dan Snyder by recognizing one Jets player with the Dan Snyder Memorial Award, which was established in 2004…..