Tampa Bay Lightning @ Winnipeg Jets Preview

Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning (24-12-1) finish up their Central division road-trip in Canada tonight, visiting the Winnipeg Jets (24-13-1). Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. at the Canada Life Centre for the first of two matchups between these squads this season.

The Jets currently hold the second place in the Central division with 49 points, the same number as the Bolts who still reside in third place within the Atlantic. Winnipeg has maintained such great positioning even through an injury-riddled couple of months with multiple players stepping up. It really speaks to the depth of the organization and the collective team resiliency to stay a top contender throughout the season.

Winnipeg is currently on a two-game win streak, beating the Canucks 4-2 in their last game of 2022 and the Flames 3-2 in their first game of 2023. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is looking to rebound from a tough 5-1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. In the second game of a back-to-back, Brian Elliott was thrust into goaltending duties for the second night in a row after Andrei Vasilevskiy was kept on the bench due to illness. The Bolts are hopeful he’ll be back in net tonight aiming for his 17th win of the season.

These teams met twice last season, and both games ended 7-4, with each team claiming a victory. The Jets won the first game in Winnipeg after a monstrous 4-goal Third period. In the second clash down in Tampa, however, Nikita Kucherov had two goals and two assists as the Bolts rattled off three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a win.

INJURIES: Lightning LW Rudolfs Balcers remains out with injury, while multiple Jets have been cleared to resume practice with the team. Defenseman Victor Hedman will miss tonight’s game expecting the birth of his second child.

Forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Cole Perfetti as well as defenseman Nate Schmidt are back and skating in practice, while forwards Blake Wheeler and Saku Maenalanen practiced in non-contact jerseys.

Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, NHL PowerPlay, ESPN+

Where to listen: Lightning Radio 24/7, 102.5 MHz-FM

Canada Life Centre, Winnipeg, MB

January 6, 2023, 8:00 p.m.

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