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Season Series: The Bolts and Jets square off in the second of six total meetings on the year. The teams met previously back on Oct. 29 at the St. Pete Times Forum where Tampa Bay earned a 1-0 shutout over Winnipeg behind a 28-save effort from Dwayne Roloson and the game-winner from captain Vincent Lecavalier.
The Big Story: The NHL’s longest active win streak by one team over a single opponent is on the line as the Lightning look to make it 13 straight over the Jets/Thrashers franchise. Also at stake is second place in the Southeast Division, as a win against Winnipeg would reward Tampa Bay with its 20th point of the season, leaving them one shy of tying for the Southeast lead.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay wraps up a two-game road stretch in Winnipeg before returning home to take on the Penguins Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Bolts, coming off a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, seek to reverse the lack of success they have had away from home this season, going just 3-5-2 on the road. Saturday’s contest was the first time Tampa Bay has been held scoreless all season, a game in which it also was held to just 18 shots on goal. Mathieu Garon made 21 saves, but just one game after the Bolts’ 1-3-1 system smothered the Flyers, the Blues figured out ways to beat it. Throughout the night, St. Louis cycled the puck and managed to get passes in behind the Lightning defense in transition, resulting on several odd-man rushes and some key scoring chances.
JETS – Winnipeg returned home from a road contest in Columbus on Saturday and will kick off a three-game home stand beginning with Monday’s tilt against its division rivals. Much like Tampa Bay has struggled on the road, the Jets have not been much better at home within the confines of the MTS Centre. Winnipeg comes in with just two wins out of five tries at home, but at least for one night, couldn’t compensate for the lost points even on the road. Winnipeg fell 2-1 at Columbus Saturday night, handing the club its fifth consecutive loss. The Blue Jackets got a pair of goals from Ryan Johanssen that put the team up by two goals before Winnipeg’s Mark Stuart cut the deficit to one late in the third period. It would be all the Jets could muster however, as an attempt to rally and send the game into overtime fell short.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos comes in with points in three of his past four games for the Bolts with four goals and six points in that span. Brett Connolly’s goal on Wednesday night against Philadelphia was his third in five games, while Vincent Lecavalier comes in with points in four of his past six matches. Jets defenseman Mark Stuart comes in riding a two-game point streak with as many points in that span.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Ryan Malone (upper body, day-to-day) and Victor Hedman (upper body, day-to-day). JETS – Eric Fehr (shoulder) and Ron Hainsey (upper body).
Notable Quotable: “This is getting to be very disappointing. We were a terrific road team last year and we played hard and we showed up every single night. So far this season it’s been the opposite. We’re outstanding at home, we don’t give anything to anyone, but then we get on the road and we get down by two or three goals, usually in the first period. I’ve changed the pregame routine, shuffled the lines, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I’ve done it all. We’re going to have to find another way.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, on his team overcoming its struggles on the road
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