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Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets Preview and Game Day Thread

Closing out the road trip

Tampa Bay Lightning v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets: GAME# 38

Time: 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Canada Life Center

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN3, BSSUNX, HULU, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Arctic Ice Hockey

DraftKings Odds: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6

The Tampa Bay Lightning are preparing for the last game of their three-game road trip which, so far, has produced a fifty-fifty result. After a quite confident victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bolts were outplayed by the Minnesota Wild, where they were forced to play without Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was unable to play due to illness.

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s status still remains questionable for tonight’s game. On Wednesday he appeared shortly during warm-up, but was replaced by Brian Elliott right before the opening face-off. For Elliott it was first time since 2017 that he started two consecutive games and it didn’t play out well for him seeing that the veteran goalie allowed 28 goals on 32 shots. Overall this season it was just the third loss for Elliott, but his underlying numbers aren’t that impressive as his save percentage dropped to .897, while he’s allowing 3.17 goals per game, that’s why Vasilevskiy’s health is important for this team.

Vasilevskiy wasn’t the only player missing the game in Minnesota. Vlad Namestnikov and Zach Bogosian were scratched after playing in the first half of back-to-back against Chicago. Regarding Namestnikov there was information that the Russian forward might be banged up a little bit after playing against Chicago, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was just a healthy scratch. This season Namestnikov has recorded just eight points in 35 games and his ice time dropped to around 10 minutes in the latest games. Zach Bogosian was replaced by Cal Foote, whose future with the Lightning became uncertain after Nick Perbix signed a two-year contract with the team. Haydn Fleury also returned to the line-up, playing in his first game since December 17.

After the previous game, Jon Cooper complained a little bit about having to play five times in eight nights, while their opponents had a more relaxed schedule. It’s almost the same with the Winnipeg Jets, tonight’s opponent, who played in just one game since New Year’s Eve and have one more day off than the Bolts.

The Jets are currently on a three-game winning streak, most recently beating the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Tuesday. After missing the playoffs last season, the Jets have blossomed under Rick Bowness, their new head coach. Winnipeg is now second in their division and have the same amount of points as the Bolts, although playing one more game. The Jets have a solid penalty kill unit, which ranks fifth in the whole league and a strong goaltending duo, leading by Connor Hellebuyck, who’s currently second in goals saved above expected in the NHL in all situations and obviously amongst the main favorites for the Vezina Trophy.

Kyle Connor is leading team with 44 points in 38 games, but some people might be surprised that Josh Morrissey is currently holding a second-best result on the team. The 27-year-old defenceman is having a best career season, already surpassing his previous best result by seven points by the half of the season. He’s also second in points amongst all defensemen in the NHL and brought his name to the Norris Trophy conversation.

The Jets have been playing without several key players during the last month, but according to information from their latest practice, Blake Wheeler, Cole Perfetti, Nate Schmidt and Nikolaj Ehlers could all theoretically return for tonight’s match-up against the Lightning. Saku Maenalanen remained the only player in a non-contact jersey during their latest practice.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets Preview

Game # 38 Tampa Bay Lightning Winnipeg Jets
Game # 38 Tampa Bay Lightning Winnipeg Jets
Overall Record 24-12-1 24-13-1
Home Record 15-4-1 14-6-0
Road Record 9-8-0 10-7-1
Goals For 130 121
Goals Against 107 97
xGF 128.07 118.65
xGA 116.11 119.01
PP% 27.5% 23.1%
PK% 81.8% 82.7%

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos- Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Cal Foote

Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Haydn Fleury

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Winnipeg Jets Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Kyle Connor - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Nikolaj Ehlers

Cole Perfetti - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Morgan Barron - Adam Lowry - Karson Kuhlman

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby - Kevin Stenlund - Sam Gagner

Defense Pairings

Josh Morrissey - Dylan DeMelo

Brenden Dillon - Neal Pionk

Nate Schmidt - Dylan Samberg

Goaltenders

Connor Hellebuyck

David Rittich