Lightning (5-1-0, 10 Points) vs. Jets (3-3-1, 7 Points)
TV/Radio: Sun Sports HD; AM 970 WFLA
Season Series: Tonight’s matchup between the Lightning and Jets is the first of four meetings between the two division rivals. Last season the Lightning went 3-2-1 against Winnipeg, including a mark of 2-0-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. One of the Lightning's two shutouts during the 2011-12 season also came against the Jets on October 29.
The Big Story: The Lightning are a perfect 4-0-0 at the Times Forum this season and are on a current four-game winning streak overall as they look to improve on both of those marks with a win against Winnipeg. It’s entirely possible, too, as the Jets have dropped two straight, while the Bolts haven't lost in regulation time against Winnipeg/Atlanta since April 11, 2009, going 8-0-1 during that stretch.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay continues on its season-high five-game home stand tonight, as it plays in the first half of a back-to-back set, and the only of which on the season that features both games at home. The team will conclude the stint at the Times Forum on Saturday against the New York Rangers. The Bolts held practice Thursday at the Times Forum, at which defenseman Brendan Mikkelson went hard into the end boards and had to receive medical attention by being taken to the hospital for evaluation. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Tampa Bay is coming off its fourth consecutive win which it earned on Tuesday, a 5-2 victory over the division-rival Panthers. Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Dana Tyrell, Tom Pyatt and Cory Conacher each scored for the Lightning, which netted five goals through 60 minutes for the third consecutive game. Anders Lindback made 26 saves for his third straight win, which also marked his fourth win in five starts on the season.
JETS – Winnipeg concludes a three-game road trip tonight against the Lightning, and will return home following the game, where the team will play five of its next six. After a solid start, the Jets have dropped each of their past two games, including last night’s first half of the club’s current back-to-back set in Sunrise against the Panthers. Grant Clitsome and Olli Jokinen each scored to take a 2-1 lead into the final 18 minutes of regulation before the Panthers suddenly found an offensive spark and scored five of the game’s final six goals to beat the Jets 6-3. Ondrej Pavelec, who came into the game with a 7-2-1 career record against Florida, stopped 28 shots.
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos has recorded a point in each of his team’s first six games to start the year, while Ryan Malone has three goals in his past four games. Cory Conacher also has points in five of six games this season for the Bolts. For the Jets, Evander Kane enters the contest riding a five-game point streak with eight points in that span, while Andrew Ladd has two goals and five points in his past five games.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (Knees, Placed On Injured Reserve), Matt Taormina (Upper Body, Placed On Injured Reserve) and Brendan Mikkelson (Upper Body, Day-To-Day). JETS – Dustin Byfuglien (Undisclosed Injury) and Zach Bogosian (Wrist).
Twitter Stat Pack:
Sami Salo ranks first in the NHL with a plus-10 rating, while Victor Hedman's plus-8 rating ranks third. Tampa Bay leads the NHL with 29 goals scored this season and ranks first in the division with 15 goals against. The Lightning's power play enters tonight's game ranked fifth overall in the NHL at 30.0 percent. Tampa Bay has scored a total of 20 goals over their past four games, and has scored five goals in each of its past three games. Tampa Bay's 22 home goals ranks first in the NHL.
Jets forward James Wright was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and made the Lightning’s NHL roster out of training camp in 2009-10, appearing in 48 games with the Bolts that season.
“We don't care who we're playing. It's about us. That's our approach,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, speaking on the team’s upcoming schedule following the conclusion of the homestand on Saturday
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