Stamkos shoots for 60 as Bolts wrap up against Jets
Friday, 04.06.2012 / 9:46 AM
It’s the sixth and final meeting of the season between the Southeast Division rivals. The Jets have taken three of the first five matchups, including two in their own home arena. Tampa Bay scored a pair of victories back on Oct. 29 and Mar. 31, with each of those contests being decided by just a single goal, and look to even up the season set in Saturday’s finale at three games apiece.
The Big Story:
It’s the final game of the regular season for both the Lightning and the Jets, and with that, one last chance for Bolts forward Steven Stamkos
to reach the 60-goal plateau and become the league’s first such scorer since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 to hit the mark. With the playoffs out of reach for both clubs, Tampa Bay looks to finish the campaign on a high note by earning a victory as it comes off back-to-back losses, while Winnipeg looks to do the same following Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay concludes its regular season on Saturday, as well as its three-game road trip through Canada. After dropping each of the first two contests to start the swing, the Bolts are looking to avoid coming home empty handed without a win. The Lightning were moments away from earning their first victory on the trip Thursday night in Toronto, but surrendered a 2-1 lead late in the third period that allowed the Maple Leafs to force overtime. Steven Stamkos
snapped a 1-1 tie with his league-best 59th goal of the season, but Dion Phaneuf won it for the Maple Leafs in the extra period after a game-tying goal credited to Jake Gardiner inadvertently went off the stick of Lightning forward Brett Connolly
and into his own net at 17:05 of the third. Dwayne Roloson
added 28 saves for the Bolts and Martin St. Louis
opened the scoring, giving him at least 25 goals for a team-record ninth straight season.
JETS – Winnipeg will wrap up the regular season in front of its home fans as it returns to the MTS Centre following a four-game road trip. The Jets split the four games on its most recent swing away from home, winning and losing twice each, with one of those defeats coming to the Lightning on Mar. 31. After earning a 5-4 overtime victory on Tuesday at Florida, Winnipeg failed to end the trip with two consecutive wins after falling by the same score Thursday night on Long Island. Tobias Enstrom and Andrew Ladd helped the Jets battle back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game going into the middle period, but Michael Grabner had two go-ahead goals for the Islanders that both came in the third period, including the last of which that stood as the game-winner.
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos
had a goal Thursday to inch closer to the 60-goal plateau and comes in with nine goals in his past eight games. Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman
also has six points in as many games for Tampa Bay, including five assists. For the Jets, Andrew Ladd has three goals in his past two contests, while Dustin Byfuglien is riding a three-game point streak with a goal and five assists in that span.
LIGHTNING - Mattias Ohlund
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Dana Tyrell
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Marc-Andre Bergeron
(upper body, out for season), Mathieu Garon
(torn groin muscle, out for season) and Ryan Shannon
(upper body, out for season).
JETS – Tanner Glass (broken foot), Kyle Wellwood (broken foot) and Eric Fehr (upper body).
“You want to be there. These are your brothers and you live and die together. It's tough not being around the locker room and in the trenches with these guys. Going shoulder to shoulder with them is something I'm look forward to.” – Adam Hall
, as told to the Tampa Bay Times, on returning to the lineup from injury for the final two games of the regular season
Current Jets defenseman Randy Jones appeared in a Lightning uniform last season, skating in 61 regular season games with the Bolts and an additional five postseason contests before signing with Winnipeg as a free agent. The Jets currently have forward Antti Miettinen as well, with whom the Lightning agreed to terms before he was plucked off waivers by Winnipeg in early December.