Tampa Bay Lightning Looking To Get Back On Track Tonight Against the Winnipeg Jets

Dec 7, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) shoots as Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and goalie Al Montoya (35) defend during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning will head into the MTS Centre to go head-to-head with Andrew Ladd and the Winnipeg Jets.

I think the most obvious thing on the minds of the Lightning is getting back on track tonight. After Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was injured in the opening minutes of Sunday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, the entire system that had been working so well for the Lightning over the course of the last few weeks just seemed to fall apart.

However, today is a new day, and we need to focus on the game in front of us.

Since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg and became the Jets, the Lightning has gone 1-3-1. Now, when you look at tonight’s matchup by the numbers, they are about the same. The main difference between these two teams is their records.

Right now, the Winnipeg Jets are 19-21-5 while the Lightning are 25-13-4; however, a majority of the Jets’ struggles have come on the road, as they are 10-8-4 at home while the Bolts are 11-9-2 on the road.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers situation here.

Bolts Jets
Goals Per Game 2.71 2.62
Goals Against Per Game 2.33 2.91
Shots on Goal Per Game 29.5 31.67
Penalty Minutes Per Game 10.79 11.71
Power Play Goals 24 20
Power Play Percentage 16.7% 14%
Penalty Kill Percentage 82.5% 82.9%

 

As I said before, the numbers are not very different between these two teams. One thing the Jets do have an advantage in is Shots on Goal. This is going to be critical tonight.

With the injuries that the Lightning is currently suffering from right now, the Bolts need to be running on all possible cylinders. This means that not just the goaltending and defense, but the offense as well, needs to be running at top speeds.

I love a trick shot as much as the next person, and I am right there with you when Marty scores one of his spin-o-rama goals; however, if they want to stay competitive right now, they need to grind as hard as they can and go for the rebounds and those shots that might not necessarily be pretty, but they find the back of the net.

Speaking of the net, tonight it will be Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback in net for the Lightning. The Bolts have also recalled Syracuse Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins in the unlikely event that something should happen to Lindback during the course of the game.

So far this season, Lindback is 3-8-1 with a GAA of 3.21 and a Save Percentage of .883. It is unknown at this point who will be in the net for the Jets tonight. Should they choose to go with Ondrej Pavelec, he has gone 11-17-4 this season with a GAA of 3.06 and a Save Percentage of .901. At the same time, goaltender Al Montoya has gone 8-4-1 with a GAA of 2.31 and a Save Percentage of .921.

Other than Shots on Goal, the key to the game tonight is going to be staying out of the penalty box. As of late, the Bolts have allowed themselves to fall back into some of their olds habits and have been getting caught up in unnecessary penalties that have opened the door for their opponents to walk right into the net.

If they can get this under control and maintain an aggressive offense, I have no doubt in my mind that the Lightning will come out on top tonight in Winnipeg.

What do you think are the Lightning’s keys to tonight’s game? Who do you think the need to be leery of on the Jets? Let us know what you think.

 

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Topics: NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning

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