Currently two points out of eight place -- despite playing one more game than the New York Rangers -- the Winnipeg Jets take to the ice later this evening looking to hold serve against in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a win over a struggling Tampa Bay Lightning squad. We've listed the possible outcomes that the Jets will require in order to secure their first playoff berth since 2007, but it starts with a win tonight against the southern Bolts.
As part of our gameday coverage, we had a few questions relating to the Lightning before puck-drop tonight.
With that, here is our pal John Fontana from Raw Charge in today's instalment of Gameday Questionnaire:
1. So, how's that Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher trade looking now?
After his acquisition at the 2013 NHL trade deadline, Bishop started six straight contests -- posting a .916 save percentage and a 3.21 GAA. So, statistically? It’s been meh, but Bishop wasn’t acquired to be a savior, he was acquired to be part of a tandem with the other young netminder on the Lightning roster – Anders Lindback.
The thing is, Bishop’s been has been suffering in the same way that Lindback and Mathieu Garon have been suffering in Tampa this season: the team in front of them is not doing any favors on defense. That, and fans are dreading what will happen when goalie coach Frantz Jean starts further stressing his teachings to Bishop… If the trend of what happens when Jean works with Lightning goalies holds, things will continue to be ugly in the crease for the Bolts.
2. How bad do Lightning fans want to be the wrench in the gears of Winnipeg's playoff plans?
I don’t think we’re focused on playing the spoiler. If this team was competing, that’d be a different story. Right now we’re just looking at surviving the rest of the season.
But, uh, for the sake of saying so, we didn’t do Jets fans any favors by losing in overtime to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Sure, Winnipeg is also vying for the eighth seed in the East, but time is certainly running out to secure that one.
3. If you were a betting man, would you pick Steven Stamkos or Alex Ovechkin for the Maurice Richard?
As of right now: Ovechkin. Heavily. Last year, we came into MTS Center to close the season and saw Stamkos notch number 60 on the year, a feat unto itself. At this point, Stamkos has gone cold. I mean really cold, with a single goal in his last eight games and no telling just when he’ll get his groove back. All while Ovi has gone ultra hot and Adam Oates’ Capitals have followed his lead.
Unless Stamkos gets back to form, fast, winning the Richard Trophy for the second consecutive year seems no longer in the cards.
Ed. Note: We thank John for his for his time in this edition of Gameday Questionnaire. Look for our next edition of Gameday Questionnaire this Thursday with our pals from Canes Country.