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Winnipeg Jets vs Tampa Bay Lightning Game Preview: Jets Look To Storm Back After Agonizing Defeat

You might think this puck goes in. You'd be wrong.
You might think this puck goes in. You'd be wrong.

Next Game

Tampa Bay Lightning
@ Winnipeg Jets

Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 8:30 PM EST
MTS Centre

Complete Coverage >

I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if 15,004 (minus a few Flyers fans) voices screamed out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Ah, the cruel agony of defeat. The Jets swallowed a bitter pill on Tuesday night as they managed to snatch defeat from the clutches of victory. It was a game that was there for the taking. 10 seconds left on the clock and a 4-3 lead should spell victory with a capital W, but it was not to be on this day. I am sure I am not the only one who felt that the Jets let down Ondrej Pavelec, who was simply sensational on this night. I mean he got TSN Highlight of the Night and everything! But again, it was not to be.

So we pick ourselves up and move on.

Somehow lost in that "collapse" was the fact that the Jets did pick up a point, which could still prove to be valuable. A pessimist will point out there was also a point "lost" in the game. This too could turn out to be valuable, but I'll let you know in 20 games.

Tonight the Jets face yet another tough foe, our fierce rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have been playing suite well lately, including a 3-2 win over Anaheim on Tuesday night that saw them without Captain Vincent Lecavalier, who is out with a broken hand, as well as Steve Downie, who has been traded to the Avalanche which means I don't have to worry about him doing something dirty to one of our players.

Unfortunately for the Jets, but fortunate for the Bolts, Tampa Bay still has one hell of an offensive weapon.

His name is Robert Paulson Steven Stamkos. He has 42 goals on the year. The next closest guy has 33. He's pretty good. He's also a butthead (unless he's playing for Team Canada in which case all is temporarily forgiven).

The Jets need to stop the top line of teh Bolts, because apart from that the team is not terribly dangerous. but Stamkos and his crafty little setup man Martin St. Louis have to be kept in check. Purcell too I guess.

Keys to the Game, Lineups and Player Numbers coming up after THE JUMP

Keys to the Game:

  • Keep the powerplay going. The Jets have 5 goals with the extra man in their last 2 games, going a perfect 3 for 3 against the Flyers, and 2 for 5 against the Avs. Tim Stapleton was in on all 3 PP markers on Tuesday.
  • Although Evander Kane did score, the second line was largely silenced by the Flyers. I don't think Tampa Bay has the capabilities to do the same. Look for more output from this unit tonight.
  • I am confident in whoever plays in net for the Jets. Yes the score-sheet will tell you Pavelec allowed 5 goals against Philly, but he was the only reason the Jets had a chance to win that game as his defense took the night off. K it was mostly on Oduya and Hainsey, but I don't want scouts to know that.
  • 5 points out of the top line, as the chemistry seems to be there for a line that ended last season in Atalanta together. It has helped contribute on the scoreboard significantly in recent games.
  • As the trades start to trickle in, I want the UFA's to be to be the best players on the ice for the Jets. Because while sad to see them go, I'd be happy to get a good return for them. Except Wellwood. I want him to stay.
  • The Jets played well defensively earlier in the season. Now the offense is clicking. Goaltending has been solid all the way through. If all 3 of those can be good at the same time then this is a playoff team. not saying they escape the first round, but I'm saying they deserve to be in.


Jets (GP 62 29-26-7 65 PTS)


#16 Andrew Ladd -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler

#9 Evander Kane -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood

#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #22 Chris Thorburn

#17 Eric Fehr -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #14 Tim Stapleton


#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #33 Dustin Byfuglien

#6 Ron Hainsey -- #4 Zach Bogosian

#5 Mark Stuart -- #29 Johnny Oduya


#50 Chris Mason

Honestly I want to see those pads. That's my only logic for putting Iron Mason in net. I predict Bogo will be back, but not be put with Stu, which will sadden me.

Electrostatic Discharges (GP 59 27-26-6 60 PTS)


#26 Martin St. Louis -- #91 Steven Stamkos -- #16 Teddy Purcell

#12 Ryan Malone -- #44 Nate Thompson -- #18 Adam Hall

#34 J.T. Wyman -- #24 Trevor Smith -- #11 Tom Pyatt

#22 Ryan Shannon -- #59 Mike Angelidis -- #14 Brett Connolly


#77 Victor Hedman -- #2 Eric Brewer

#97 Matt Gilroy -- #7 Brett Clark

#29 Brendan Mikkelson -- #27 Bruno Gervais


#32 Mathieu Garon

Gotta stop that top line...and watch Hedman. He can be good too.

Player to boo mercilessly: Steven Stamkos. And we all know it's not just because he's their best player.

Prediction: Winnipeg 4-2 Tampa Bay. i think the offense is there, and if the defense plays like I know they can instead of like they did against Philly, this game is very much winnable.