Game Preview: Jets vs Lightning
The Jets kick off the week against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuesday.
LIGHTNING (17-22-3) at JETS (21-19-2)
TV: FS-F, TSN-JETS
Last 10: Tampa Bay 4-4-2; Winnipeg 5-5-0
Season series: This is the fourth and final meeting between these Southeast Division clubs. The Winnipeg Jets are 2-1-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Winnipeg tries to improve its record at home against Tampa Bay over the past two seasons to 4-0-1.
Big story: Winnipeg is one spot removed from the Stanley Cup Playoff picture and will continue its push as it tries to extend its winning streak to a season-best four games. The Jets will try to qualify for the postseason in just their second season in Winnipeg since relocating from Atlanta. The Lightning are not yet mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but the window is just about fully closed. Forward Steven Stamkos has 26 goals on the season and is in the running for his third Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's regular-season goals leader.
Lightning: Tampa Bay plays the third of four straight road games Tuesday and will attempt to halt its road losing streak at four games. On Sunday, the Lightning once again found themselves with a multi-goal deficit as the Sabres jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Buffalo. The night before, Tampa was able to battle back and eventually lost 6-5 in overtime at Washington, but all the Lightning could come up with was a Benoit Pouliot goal in the 3-1 defeat to the Sabres.
"It was a little disappointing of a start," coach Jon Cooper told the team's official website Sunday. "I didn't like our jump and we couldn't muster enough goals to come back tonight. Sometimes you can do it, and sometimes you can't."
Jets: Winnipeg plays its fourth of six straight home games Tuesday and will attempt to make it four consecutive wins at MTS Centre. The Jets outscored opponents by a total of 15-4 over the three-game winning streak. The recent hot flash has come just at the right time, as the Jets are still digging out of a five-game losing streak suffered from March 28-April 4.
"We went through a tough stretch and kind of took ourselves out of it a little bit," said forward Blake Wheeler. "It's going to take playing your best hockey this time of year. If that equals us making the playoffs, then we're going to be a tough team to play."
Who's hot: Stamkos will try to continue his strong play against the Jets, as he has six goals and four assists over a six-game point streak against Winnipeg. … Captain Andrew Ladd has a four-game point streak going for the Jets, with two goals and four assists over that span.
Injury report: Forward Nate Thompson is questionable for the Lightning after missing the game Sunday following a facial laceration suffered Saturday as a result of his visor getting shattered by a puck. Forward Tom Pyatt (upper body) is also questionable. Goalie Anders Lindback (lower body) is out indefinitely. … Defenseman Tobias Enstrom (back) and forward Nik Antropov (lower body) are out indefinitely for Winnipeg. Defenseman Zach Redmond (thigh laceration) is out for the season.