clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game #57 Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning

New, comment
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Your Winnipeg Jets take on this year's Ozymandias, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The last time these two teams met was a lifetime ago, when the Lightning felled the Jets 4-3 in October of 2015. At that game's conclusion, Winnipeg had a record of 4-2-1. No I'm not crying you're crying.

Catch the game tonight, 6:30 PM Central Time on SUN, TSN3 and TSN 1290.

It's a Numbers Game

Winnipeg Jets

Tampa Bay Lightning

Record

25-28-3

30-22-4

Games Played - Points

56 GP - 53 pts

56 GP - 64 pts

Division

7th (Central)

4th (Atlantic)

Conference

12th (West)

9th (East)

League

25th

15th

Last 10 - Streak

4-6-0 - L1

5-5-0 - L2

Goals For / Game

2.52 (20th)

2.63 (15th)

Goals Against / Game

2.86 (24th)

2.43 (8th)

Shots For / Game

29.7 (15th)

29.3 (19th)

Shots Against / Game

29.8 (15th)

28.1 (7th)

5v5 Corsi For %

52.0% (8th)

52.6% (7th)

5v5 Shooting %

7.18% (16th)

7.11% (17th)

5v5 SV %

92.81% (15th)

92.50 (15th)

5v5 PDO

100.0 (14th)

99.6 (20th)

Power Play %

15.7% (28th)

18.4% (18th)

Penalty Kill %

77.4% (27th)

82.8% (8th)

PIM / Game

12:38 (29th)

08:50 (12th)

How the mighty have fallen. Last year's Eastern Conference champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning now find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. Presently on the outside looking in, Tampa Bay may have a game in hand over eighth place Pittsburgh, however the Penguins are trending in a far more upward direction. One imagines the Lightning should catch an overachieving New Jersey Devils squad, but the once-unthinkable is now a very real possibility. Failing to reach the postseason would make for an especially bad look should Steven Stamkos proceed to leave for greener pastures.

For a team with such skilled forwards as Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay's offence is surprisingly mediocre. Tampa Bay's 2.63 Goals For per game is middle of the road, while their 29.3 Shots For per game isn't even that. In their last five games, they've scored a grand total of ten goals, four of which came against Nashville on Feb. 12th. Unsurprisingly, the Lightning are 1-4-0 during that same span. At the very least, they make up for it with solid possession numbers and a stingy, top-10 defence.

Ondrej vs. Andrei (vs. Andrej?)

Ondrej Pavelec

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Record

6-7-1

8-5-0

Overall SV%

.910%

.910%

ES SV%

.932%

.919%

PP SV%

.849%

.878%

Yes, Ondrej Pavelec may not look as calm as a certain other goaltender in the organization, but his return from injury has been stellar all the same. He saved 21 of 22 shots versus Edmonton for a .955 SV%, and followed it up with a 27 out of 29, .931 SV% effort against Carolina. Frankly speaking, they're better returns than Connor Hellebuyck was often providing during the latter half of his recall. Pavelec has earned a third straight start, which seems to be the plan heading into tonight's tilt.

Tonight's battle between starter and backup in overall save percentage is a scratch, though Pavelec has a distinct edge at even-strength. While Vasilevskiy may have the advantage when his team is down a man, one should acknowledge Hellebuyck's .826% PP SV% before crucifying Pavelec for his .849%.

The standard for most rookie goaltenders playing in just their second North American season would rightly consider Vasilevskiy's numbers and record to be a success. But Andrei Vasilevskiy is not most goaltenders. Drafted 19th overall in 2012, he is widely considered one of the best young goaltenders in the world. After proving his worth in the MHL and KHL, the high-profile Russian had a more than solid start to his NHL career last year.

Owing to his talent and successful NHL debut, Vasilevskiy's numbers this season are a wee bit disappointing. He's also allowed four goals in three of his last four starts, further dragging his save percentage down. With talent like this however, a bounceback performance is always a possibility:

Matt Carle vs. the World

Dustin Byfuglien

Victor Hedman

Games Played

56

55

Goals - Assists - Points

15 - 19 - 34

5 - 30 - 35

Power Play Points

11

11

Shots / Game

3.0

2.3

Shooting %

8.8%

3.9%

TOI / Game

24:23

22:45

PP TOI / Game

03:15

02:57

SH TOI / Game

01:55

01:58

Hits / Game

2.8

0.8

Blocks / Game

1.2

1.8

5v5 CF% RelTM

+5.1%

+6.3

Most Frequent 5v5 Partner

Jacob Trouba

Anton Stralman

"The Journal of Paul Postma, Feb. 18th entry: Food supplies running low. Wobbly on skates. Watching third re-run of Quantum Leap in video room. Hope fading. So alone."

Fun fact: Tampa Bay's top-four in terms of ice time (Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr) have a combined PIM total of 78. Dustin Byfuglien alone has 85. The Winnipeg Jets top-four of Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Tobias Enstrom have a combined PIM total of 243, over three times that of Tampa Bay.

Unfortunately for the Lightning, Garrison has been out the last four games since suffering a lower-body injury on February 8th. In what some might consider doubly unfortunate, this has meant the return of Matt Carle.

Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Toby Enstrom have failed to consistently produce on the scoreboard, but Matt Carle has zero points in 40 games played this season. He has been a frequent healthy scratch, especially in the first two months of 2016. And from a fancy stat perspective, Carle stands out like a sore thumb:

mcvstheworld

His 5v5 CF% RelTM is worst not only among the Lightning d-corps but the entire Tampa Bay roster-6.6% is David Clarkson, Matt Hunwick and Alexander Burmistrov territory, which is to say not good.

In fairness to Carle, since returning to the regular lineup on Feb. 9th, his numbers over the last four games have been an improvement. They're still not great, but fans will likely take any signs of life from the 31-year-old defenceman signed until 2018, at an AAV of $5.5 million. At least they were able to celebrate his 700th NHL game recently, so there's that.

This leads to a question for Jets fans: is Matt Carle's contract worth Jonathan Drouin? What say you?

Stamkos Defence wins championships

Mark Scheifele

Tyler Johnson

Games Played

45

43

Goals - Assists - Points

12 - 15 - 27

8 - 14 - 22

Power Play Points

5

9

Shots / Game

2.5

2.4

Shooting %

10.5%

7.7%

TOI / Game

17:14

17:18

PP TOI / Game

02:19

02:34

SH TOI / Game

00:12

00:36

Hits / Game

0.8

0.8

Blocks / Game

0.4

0.2

5v5 CF% RelTM

+4.4%

+1.2%

Most Frequent 5v5 Linemate

Mathieu Perreault

Nikita Kucherov

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper trusts his two-way guys, for better and worse. It's resulted in the aforementioned stingy defence which gives up just 2.43 goals and 28.1 shots against per game, good for 8th and 7th respectively.

It also means Jonathan Drouin couldn't get a sniff of steady opportunity, while the perception is Stamkos has chafed ever so slightly over his positional usage. Listen to Ep. 20 of the AIH 20416 Podcast, where we interviewed Chad Schnarr of BoltProspects.com, for more on both subjects.

But with Stamkos currently playing his preferred centre as opposed to wing, all is surely well. By extension, he's presently blessed with the best wingers Tampa Bay has to offer, in Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan. Wait.

Alex Killorn is having a perfectly decent season considering he's Alex Killorn, with 26 points in 55 games. Ryan Callahan on the other hand has just 6 goals and 12 assists, and is on pace for 27 points in 81 games. As was alluded to before, the guns have fallen silent across the forward corps. Tyler Johnson is on pace for 35 points, down from 72 last season. Ondrej Palat is set to finish the season with 27 points, after posting 63 in 2014-15.

Even Steven Stamkos isn't immune to this chill (in other news, Nikita Kucherov laughs at the notion of offensive struggles). The Lightning captain's 22 goals and 42 points in 56 games are considered mildly disappointment, given how he's the face of Powerade and all:

"But the will... must be stronger... than the skill". Did Jon Cooper write the script for this commercial?

KTV: Winnipeg Jets

Key:

Showcase Andrew Ladd in advance of his trade to Chicago. Keep Nikolaj Ehlers playing big minutes, while affording the same opportunity to Joel Armia. Fix the specials teams in preparation for next season, and for the love of all that is holy, give the Tampa Bay Lightning fewer than five power play opportunities.

Tweet:

At 53 points, the Winnipeg Jets are in a four-way tie alongside Calgary, Buffalo and Columbus, although the Sabres and Blue Jackets have done that in 58 games rather than 56. Edmonton has managed 50 points in 58 games (though the return of Connor McDavid makes a rise feel likely), while the Toronto Maple Leafs currently own 30th place with 49 points in 55 games. #NoPainNoLaine.

Video:

Ondrej Pavelec is right, the Carolina Hurricanes were skating. In related news, they also managed 22 shots in the first two periods versus Winnipeg's eight, numbers which are problematic when it comes to winning.

KTV: Tampa Bay Lightning

Key:

The Lightning need an offensive awakening throughout the top-nine. Jonathan Drouin (probably) isn't walking through that door; unless he's traded for help up front, the answers will need to be internal. Ryan Callahan has to up his play to a level at least somewhat approximating his contract. The triplets need more than just Kucherov producing between the three of them. Steven Stamkos should like tweets connecting him to Winnipeg, thus throwing everybody off their game.

If there's a silver lining to the story, it's that all three of CallahanJohnson and Palat are currently riding shooting percentages significantly lower than their career averages. Bouncebacks may simply be a matter of time.

Tweet:

Good news, Mr. @DogGilmour! As of Tuesday, he now has 18 points. The $6.4 million dollar salary remains correct. Sometimes I wonder about GM Stevey Y.

Video:

And here is that 18th point in all its glory.

Credit Alex Killorn with the primary assist, thus irrefutably disproving the earlier suggestion from our good friends at @BoltProspects.

Affection or Affliction:

Affliction. While their styles differ, Victor Hedman is in the same category of elite as Dustin Byfuglien, only five years younger and with room for further improvement. He is their d-corps rock, the wind beneath their wings, and bringer of Tampa Bay's 2017 contractual reckoning. Boo him mercilessly.

According to Nostradamus

Drew Stafford scores, which would be good if it wasn't the only goal Winnipeg had tonight. Further twisting the knife into @BoltProspects' lack of faith, Alex Killorn lights the lamp, with the primary assist coming from none other than Ryan Callahan. Steven Stamkos goes pointless. Dustin Byfuglien does not.

Jets lose 3-1, to whatever the heck this is:

Stats, facts and automobiles provided by NHL.com, Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Analysis and The Hockey News.