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Winnipeg Jets vs Tampa Bay Lightning

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Saturday Night Showdown

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets are quickly falling down the rabbit hole. During this part of the season, where wins are cherished and losses are heartbreaking, the Jets are quickly running out of glue and tape, as they try and piece back together a playoff bound season. Connor Hellebuyck was great during the game, but miscues in defensive zone coverage led the Hawks to scoring 3 goals as the game wore on. The Jets countered with goals of their own from Bryan Little and Adam Lowry, but it was too little too late. 2 empty net goals by the Blackhawks rounded out the scoring and took the game 5-2, handing the Jets their 3rd straight loss and 28th loss of the season.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off a 2-1 SO loss to the Minnesota Wild last night, as Andrei Vasilevskiy was the shining star for the Lightning. Vasilevskiy was making his first start in 8 days, and although he’s had a less than stellar season, he really gave the Lightning fans something to cheer about as he stopped 37 shots during the game, and carried the hot play over to the shootout.

As it stands right now, with 25 games left in the regular season, the Winnipeg Jets have just over a 9% chance of making the playoffs, but a 6.48% chance of winning the draft lottery. (via Moneypuck.com)

NHL.com

Who: Winnipeg Jets (25-28-4 for 54 pts) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (24-24-7 for 55 pts)

When: 6:00 pm CST

How: SN, TSN1290, SUN, 970WFLA

Projected Lineups:

Winnipeg Jets:

Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Patrik Laine

Mathieau Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia

Andrew Copp - Nic Petan - Drew Stafford

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey - Jacob Trouba

Ben Chariot - Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck

Micheal Hutchinson

*Thorburn & Stuart are scratched

*Melchiori has been waived, but expected to clear

*Dano has started skating and is a few days away from returning.

*Pavelec is out a week with a lower body injury.

*Myers is at least 4 weeks away from returning after surgery on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Ondrej Palat - Vladislav Namestnikov - Nikita Kucherov

Brian Boyle - Valtteri Filppula - Erik Condra

Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Jonathan Drouin

Gabriel Dumont - Cedric Paquette - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

For more info on tonight’s Jets opponents, check out Rawcharge.com

3 Questions:

  1. Can Hellebuyck continue to play up to the level of confidence the coaching staff and the management of the Winnipeg Jets seem to have in Pavelec?
  2. Can the Winnipeg Jets become a consistent defensively minded team? Byfuglien was -5 against the Blackhawks! Ouch!
  3. What works best, man to man coverage or zone? The Jets have yet to figure this out and seemed to switch back and forth with a kind of reckless abandon against the Blackhawks.

Player to Watch:

Winnipeg Jets: Mathieu Perreault and Andrew Copp - At the beginning of the second period vs the Hawks, Perreault was slotted up in the 1st line with Scheifele and Wheeler, while Copp fell down the lineup, positioned with Petan and Stafford.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin - With the loss of Steven Stamkos to injury, Drouin is expected to pick up some of the scoring slack.

Prediction: Jets win 5-1

Moneypuck.com