Struggling Jets set to host Lightning
Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 7:21 PM
NHL.comLIGHTNING (8-6-2) at JETS (5-9-3)
: SUN (HD),TSN-JETS
FROM THE MORNING SKATE:
The Jets are winless in their last five games and will look to snap that losing streak tonight against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning team.
Head Coach Claude Noel said that he's trying to spark anything right now and the best way to do that is to play around with your lines and see if you can create some chemistry. Today's pre-game skate showed us a full new set of lines.
"I'm just looking to get something going, juggle things around a little bit and see if we can un-jar some things," said Noel. "Sometimes it helps your focus too and you pay more attention to details. And it's probably about time."
Here were the apparent line combinations:
Ladd, Antropov and Wellwood
Kane, Little, Burmistrov
Glass, Slater, Thorburn
Jaffray, Stapleton, Wheeler
is expected to get his 10th consecutive start in net tonight against the Lightning.
Watch for two new faces to the lineup tonight as the Jets called up Jason Jaffray
and Arturs Kulda
Sunday afternoon from the St. John's IceCaps. Jaffray will join Stapleton and Wheeler on the fourth line while Kulda will pair up with Mark Flood
on the blueline.
"He's fought through to get this opportunity again and play," said Noel. "He's a good player, I like him a lot. He'll bring us a lot of things. I don't want him to be a top six and battle for the top line, just play. He's a guy who is a really sincere player and I don't want him to be anything more than what he is."
: Tampa Bay 7-3-0; Winnipeg 3-5-2.
: This is the second meeting of the season between the Southeast Division rivals. In their first meeting, Tampa Bay shut Winnipeg out, 1-0, at the St. Pete Times Forum behind 28 saves from Dwayne Roloson. Dating back to their days in Atlanta, the Jets have lost 12 in a row to the Lightning, the longest streak of its kind in the League.
: The initial cheers of Winnipeg's rejuvenated fan base have recently turned to a chorus of boos, as the Jets have lost two in a row at MTS Centre and five straight overall. After a slow start, the Bolts have won seven of 10, but a 3-5-2 road record suggests Winnipeg could bounce back.
: Tampa Bay had a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday in St. Louis, where its usually potent offense was limited to only 19 shots in a 3-0 Blues shutout. After the game, coach Guy Boucher expressed frustration over his team's prolonged road struggles.
"This is getting to be very disappointing. We were a terrific road team last year and we played hard and we showed up every single night. So far this season it's been the opposite. We're outstanding at home, we don't give anything to anyone, but then we get on the road and we get down by two or three goals, usually in the first period," Boucher told the Lightning's official web site. "I've changed the pregame routine, shuffled the lines, I've done this, I've done that, I've done it all. We're going to have to find another way."
: If each successive Winnipeg loss has been a tough pill to swallow, then Saturday night's defeat to Columbus required the Heimlich maneuver. The Blue Jackets took a two-goal lead and, despite 36 shots on goal, the Jets could muster only a single, too-little-too-late tally in a 2-1 loss.
Winnipeg relies heavily on goalie Ondrej Pavelec
, who has started the past nine games and has faced the fifth-most shots of any goalie (427). While his 4-7-3 record does not dazzle, offensive problems are the more urgent issue. The Jets have only netted ten in the five losses, and failed to score at all in the first meeting against Tampa Bay.
: Bolts goalies, at least against the Jets franchise. Roloson is 10-0-1 with a 2.49 GAA lifetime – including this season's shutout – while his regular replacement, Mathieu Garon, is 5-0-0 with a 0.80 GAA.
: Lightning forward Ryan Malone and defenseman Victor Hedman are both questionable for Monday's contest with upper body injuries. … For the Jets, six players are on injured reserve, including recent additions Tobias Enstrom
(broken collarbone) and Randy Jones
: For Winnipeg, success at home hinges on power-play defense. In their two wins, the Jets have killed all 10 opponent power plays. In their three losses, opposing teams are 5-for-14 on the man advantage.
: After Winnipeg lost to the League's worst team Saturday to bring their skid to five, Jets coach Claude Noel sounded subdued.
"Our guys played OK, but we didn't play as smart as we need to play," Noel said. "We've got to be better at managing the game. It gets frustrating."