All that stood between the Tampa Bay Lightning and extending the league’s longest active win streak over a single opponent was a hot goaltender.
Entering Monday’s contest, Tampa Bay had won 12 straight games over the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, but saw its remarkable run come to an end as net minder Ondrej Pavelec helped the Jets defeat the Lightning 5-2 at the MTS Centre.
“I think they threw everything at us,” assistant coach Dan Lacroix said. “They have some good players over there who you can only hope to contain.”
Stamkos made it 5-2 just 22 seconds after Tim Stapleton increased the Jets’ lead to four midway through the final period, sneaking one through the five hole of Pavelec to finish off a breakaway.
The Lightning forward now has five goals in as many games and 11 on the season, one short of Phil Kessel of the Maple Leafs, who leads the NHL.
Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Flood each had goals for the Jets, which halted a five-game losing skid.
Pavelec made 30 saves on the night, and was busy down in his own end as Tampa Bay held a 27-25 shot advantage through two periods.
Certainly the Jets didn’t make things any easier for their goaltender, as the Lightning had six prime opportunities with the man advantage through 40 minutes. The Jets' perfect penalty kill on the night, however, marked a welcomed change after Winnipeg entered the game having surrendered a league-high 81 power plays to opponents this season, and had killed just 22 of 29 opposing power plays during the 0-3-2 skid that they owned entering the game.
Twice in the second period the Lightning had opportunities to take advantage of Winnipeg's miscues, but couldn’t capitalize. Down 2-0 to start the second period, the Lightning could not cash in on a four-minute power play. After Zach Bogosian’s double-minor at 1:51, Tampa Bay registered four shots on the extended man-advantage. But Pavelec kicked out Vincent Lecavalier’s chance from in-close and then steered aside a booming left-side shot from Stamkos.
At the other end, the Jets had no trouble putting the puck in the back of the net.
Kane opened the scoring at 4:51 to put the Jets out to a 1-0 lead.
After the Lightning failed to clear the puck out of their own zone, Kane wristed one from the high slot that got a piece of a defender’s stick before rising up and beating Dwayne Roloson high above the shoulder.
Winnipeg then went up by two after Byfuglien sent a slap shot from the point through traffic and past the Lightning net minder at 13:02.
Roloson, 10-0-1 in his career against the Jets/Thrashers franchise coming into the game, stopped 18 of 22 shots on the night, but was pulled in favor of Mathieu Garon after Andrew Ladd made it 4-1 with a tip-in at 12:14 of the second.
Ladd’s goal came just 1:27 after Flood and St. Louis exchanged a pair of tallies just three minutes apart.
Garon finished the game making 16 saves.
“I thought we did some good stuff,” Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman said. “Pavelec just made some great saves on us.”