Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets: GAME# 50
Time: 8:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Bells MTS Place
Broadcast/Streaming: TSN3, SUN
Opponent SBNation Site: Arctic Ice Hockey
Yesterday was the AHL All-Star Game. We’ll hopefully be getting a fan’s perspective on it tomorrow, but until then, we’ll be seeing an AHL All-Star goalie tonight in Winnipeg. According to Arctic Ice Hockey, Michael Hutchinson will be starting for the Jets tonight, after spending the weekend at the AHL All-Star Game. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck, their usual starter, is also returning from an All-Star Game, where he famously did worse than Vasilevskiy in the Save Streak competition.
The Jets, much like the Lightning, are facing some adversity right now with injuries. Jacob Trouba is out 6-8 weeks, and Mark Sheifele is also out for the game tonight, but Adam Lowry is back. Per Arctic Ice Hockey:
In some good injury news, Adam Lowry has returned to practice in a regular jersey according to Winnipeg Free Press reporter Mike McIntyre. This is excellent news as the Jets desperately miss having him in the lineup with Mark Scheifele also being out. With Lowry close to returning the Jets just need Scheifele back up front. Scheifele was spotted skating with the team by a fan at an informal skate yesterday.
What’s terrible about tonight is that the Winnipeg Jets apparently put sandpaper on the floor of the away locker room, because they have a 17-3-1 home record this season, and have a tendency for their victories to be high-scoring, with four or more goals in at least 11 of their past 13 wins. (Thanks, NHL.com.) They also have the best HOME power play conversion in the NHL, so hopefully everyone on the Lightning shoots for the Lady Byng tonight.
Jets are also currently first in the Central division.
We all just saw Jets captain Blake Wheeler on Amalie Arena ice for the NHL All-Star Game, and he looked a little too good playing for the Central division. Some writers have made a case for him for the Hart this season, especially since he’s moved to center after playing wing for most of his career due to injuries to Sheifele. From THW:
Instead of doing what most teams do and recalling a centreman to replace the irreplaceable, head coach Paul Maurice decided to shift the Jets’ leader to the middle, a position he hasn’t played in over a decade.
In 12 games since Scheifele went down, the Jets are 8-2-2 with Wheeler attaining point-per-game status over that stretch.
And here’s TSN’s take:
“Blake Wheeler has forced people to notice him this season,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said over the phone on Thursday. “I would say that he’s been playing at this level for two years now, but he doesn’t get a lot of the attention that other stars around the league get. We’re a small-market team, we do our thing. That happens. But everything that he does, I just think to myself: ‘This guy is elite.’
“You know, a lot of coaches talk and they pump their guy’s tires. I’m not doing that. This is just the truth. I haven’t been around very many men like Blake Wheeler.”
There Are Not Enough Pictures of Players with Dogs
So here is Blake Wheeler with his dog Tobias, courtesy of Hockey Players with Pets.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Chris Kunitz - Steven Stamkos - Vladislav Namestnikov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Matthew Peca - Yanni Gourde
Michael Bournival - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Anton Stralman - Jake Dotchin
Slater Koekkoek or Mikhail Sergachev - Dan Girardi
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr
Wouldn’t be surprised if Sergachev sits again tonight. All Star Zach Werenski on roller coaster of a rookie d-man https://t.co/RyKjDEcZwF pic.twitter.com/YyFHSjNIfK— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) January 30, 2018
UPDATE [1:15pm]: Cooper confirmed that Louis Domingue will be starting tonight after it was reported that Domingue was in the starters net for morning skate.
Victor Hedman was also at morning skate, rushing with Dotchin. He will be a game-time decision tonight.
Sergachev was also back taking rushes with Stralman, his regular partner.
Goalie match-up tonight will be Michael Hutchinson for #NHLJets and Louis Domingue for #TBlightning - HC Jon Cooper says D Victor Hedman will be a game-time decision— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) January 30, 2018
Victor Hedman playing on first pair with Dotchin at #Bolts morning skate, looks like a positive sign. D pairings:— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) January 30, 2018
Winnipeg Jets (Lines from Left-Wing Lock)
Patrik Laine - Blake Wheeler - Jack Roslovic
Mathieu Perreault - Bryan Little - Nikolaj Ehlers
Andrew Copp - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev - Matt Hendricks - Kyle Connor
Josh Morrissey - Tyler Myers
Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Ben Chiarot - Tucker Poolman