When: Friday, February 1, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m. CST
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa Bay,Florida
Records: Winnipeg Jets (3-3-1), Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1-0)
Television/Radio: TSN-JETS, SUN/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets will close out their three-game road trip tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning looking to stop a two game losing skid.
The Jets lost 6-3 to the Florida Panthers Thursday night, giving up five goals in the third period and continuing a trend of undisciplined play which has resulted in five power play goals against over the last two games. Coach Claude Noel was understandably upset after Thursday’s game as the Jets have seemingly lost of control of their own emotions on this current road trip and have not bailed themselves out at all on the penalty kill.
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will not play tonight as he suffered an undisclosed lower body injury before Thursday’s game and was replaced by rookie defenseman Zach Redmond. Redmond will start for the Jets again tonight.
Tampa Bay comes into tonight’s game as a well rested, confident team. The Lightning have won four games in a row, are 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and have scored the most goals (29) in the entire National Hockey League. The Lightning defeated Florida 5-2 on Tuesday night and have had two days off to enjoy their perch atop the Southeast Division.
To say Winnipeg will have their hands full tonight would be the biggest understatement of the year as the Lightning have a plethora of offensive weapons at their disposal. 37-year-old Martin St. Louis has been simply fantastic this year, leading his club with 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points) in five games and again showing why he is considered one of the game’s great offensive playmakers. Steven Stamkos hasn’t been bad either as he has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and is showing no signs of slowing down after last year’s 60-goal explosion.
Today’s game is the first of four meetings between the Jets and Lightning this year. The two teams will meet next Thursday, March 7th in Tampa Bay (6:30 p.m. CST). The third meeting of the season between the two teams will take place in Winnipeg on Sunday, March 24th (7:00 p.m. CST). The fourth and final meeting of the season is in Winnipeg on Tuesday, April 16th (7:00 p.m. CST).
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 (subject to change before game time):
1st: Evander Kane- Olli Jokinen- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Andrew Ladd- Nikolai Antropov- Bryan Little
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky – Alexander Burmistrov- Mark Scheifele
4th: James Wright- Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom- Ron Hainsey
Mark Stuart- Paul Postma
Grant Clitsome- Zach Redmond
Tampa Bay Lightning: Martin St. Louis (3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points), Steven Stamkos (4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points), Cory Conacher (3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points), Blake Wheeler (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points), Evander Kane (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points)
Tampa Bay Lightning: Brendan Mikkelson (upper body), Slater Koekkoek (shoulder), Mattias Ohlund (knee), Matt Taormina (undisclosed)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (wrist), Antti Miettinen (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (lower body injury)
Who’s Next: After tonight’s game, the Jets head back home to host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, February 5th (7:00 p.m.) followed by a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, February 7th (7:00 p.m.)
QUICKIES…..In his first career NHL game, Jets d-man Zach Redmond played 20:56, had 3 shots on net, 3 hits and 4 penalty minutes…..