No catchy title; just win the game, please: Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview

USA TODAY Sports

The Lightning defend their 11-3-0 home record against the Winnipeg Jets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum tonight.

Where:  Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
When: 7:00 PM ET | Tickets: Check availability
Media:  (SunSports) | (radio)
Opponent Coverage: Arctic Ice Hockey

Another former Southeast Division foe is visiting again tonight as the Lightning host the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m. ET.

Here's Coach Cooper's pregame media chat.


Winnipeg comes into this game 13-13-4 and sits 6th in the Central Division. That's seven points out of a wild card spot in the torrid Western Conference. The Lightning are 17-10-1, 4th in the Atlantic Division, and well within the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. How much of that difference is due to the strength of the West versus the East?

Points earned per game vs East vs West Overall
Tampa Bay 1.18 (10-7-0) 1.36 (7-3-1) 1.25 (17-10-1)
Winnipeg 1.36 (7-3-1) 0.79 (6-10-3) 1.00 (13-13-4)

The matchup:
at 5v5 Close CorsiFor% FenwickFor% GoalsFor%
Tampa Bay 49.8 (14th) 49.5 (17th) 56.0 (9th)
Winnipeg 49.0 (20th) 48.7 (19th) 43.8 (23rd)

Tampa Bay PP 16.0% (21st) Tampa Bay PK 84.7% (8th)
Winnipeg PK 83.6% (13th) Winnipeg PP 11.1% (30th)

Power Play Notes: While this could be the day that the Lightning's power play finally gains the damn zone, the Jets' penalty kill is in the top half of the league.

Penalty Kill Notes: Winnipeg have let in 6 shorthanded goals, the most in the league, while scoring only 11 on the power play, second least in the league. By the way, this article on the Jets' power play is enlightening.

Injuries:

From TBO.com's Erik Erlendsson this morning:

The current number of Tampa Bay players sidelined by injury amounts to nearly half of the team’s NHL roster as the Lightning get set to host the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

That's nine players, if you're keeping count at home: Keith Aulie, Eric Brewer, Radko Gudas, Victor Hedman, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Brian Lee, Ryan Malone, Tom Pyatt, and Steven Stamkos . The good news is that Gudas and Brewer are expected back today. The bad news is that Aulie is out indefinitely, Hedman is out for at least a week, Lee had to undergo a second surgery, and the forwards the Lightning had thought would be back (Pyatt and Labrie) aren't.

Lineups:

If morning skates are anything to go by Al Montoya will be starting for Winnipeg. In 7 games, he's put up a .916/2.42, with a .923 even-strength save percentage. Anders Lindback should be starting for the Lightning (.876/3.26/.890 in 8 games). I hate to say it, but now would be a good time for Anders to get it together. (stats are from nhl.com)

Anticipated scratches for the Jets: Adam Pardy, Eric Tangradi, Evander Kane

Anticipated scratches for the Lightning: everyone Aulie, Hedman, Labrie, Lee, Malone, Pyatt, and Stamkos

Keys to the game:

  • Shoot.
  • Help the goaltender out.
  • Shoot some more.
  • Score first.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS DECENT DON'T GET HURT.
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