Let's hope this man makes those fans wear that expression again tonight. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Whatever you may have heard, I have not tied John up in a basement so I can do this game preview. He says he's "doing the post-game" while Cassie's in Norfolk being all Admiral-y. I suspect he's sitting in a secret headquarters somewhere stroking a cat and laughing maniacally while I stumble around trying to get this done. However, I have chocolate. I can do this.
So, tonight at 7:00pm EDT, the Tampa Bay Lightning face the
Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg. Both teams are out of the playoffs. The Thrashers Jets are playing to give their home crowd a nice goodbye. The Bolts are playing to get Steven Stamkos to 60 goals.
While I'm at it, let me get this out of the way. I know this is the last game for six months. Still, I decided early on not to make this a good-bye piece, largely because the team has been doing good-bye pieces all week, and I get emotional.
Instead, lets talk numbers. I rarely weep over numbers.
By the numbers:
- The Lightning have 17 Canadians on their roster. The Jets have 13. The Lightning also outweigh the Jets in Americans by one (8 to 7). The Bolts do, however, have fewer Swedes. Finns, and Russians than the northerners. Though that's partly because the Jets stole our Mittens.
- If you add up all the sweater numbers, the Lightning reach 686. The Jets only come to 639. Bet those Winnipegians (Winnipeggers? Winnie-the-Poohs?) are glad J.T. Brown switched from 49 to 19, huh?
- Tampa has roughly 484* more days of sunshine per year than Winnipeg, where they have 30% more cloud cover in April. And if you don't know how this applies to hockey, you're just not trying.
*Estimate based on Bobby Taylor's average level of tan.
Oh, you thought I meant shots and goals and stuff. Well, that's a little more depressing for the Lightning fan.
Look, here's the deal: At home, Tampa Bay has done pretty good against the Jets, dominating in shots, whether including missed, missed plus blocked, or neither. When playing in Winnipeg, though, they have fared very poorly indeed, coming in below 40% in shot ratio and Fenwick (on-goal + missed), and around 46% in Corsi (on-goal + missed +blocked).* [Given the small sample here, the Corsi rating is probably more indicative of what went on than the other two measures, because it includes more events. I gotta take a look at the Bolts shot blocking stats again.]
*All at even strength, with the goalie on the ice
And then there's special teams.
|Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Winnipeg at home||22.3% (2)||78.0% (25)|
|Winnipeg overall||18.1% (12)||79.9% (24)|
|Tampa Bay away||14.2% (21)||79.7% (21)|
|Tampa Bay overall||15.4% (26)||79.1% (26)|
If you go by the statistics, the Lightning are likely to struggle against a team playing for pride.
Keys to the game:
- Score, Steven Stamkos! Score and score and score again!
- And, oh yeah, Stay out of the @#$% box!