March 07 2013 08:10AM
Tonight, your Winnipeg Jets battle the iconic Lightning of Tampa Bay. It's a rivalry steeped in history, the passion of which often surpasses that of the Leafs/Canadiens battles, and likely even those heated Yankess/Red Sox matchups. And tonight should prove to be an extra thrilling instalment.
Seriously. Tonight, we've got ourselves the Good'est of all 'ol Hockey Games. The teams are tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with 21 points apiece. But the Jets have a game in hand - so tonight represents a good chance for Team Winnipeg to put some space between then and their dastardly Southeast division opponent.
Unfortunately, the game is in Tampa, where, in the only other meeting this season, the Jets had the snot forcibly removed from their collective nose in an 8-3 loss. Tonight, the implications are huge, and the questions many: Can the Jets avenge an embarassing defeat? Will they halt their losing streak at 2? Will Steven Stamkos erupt and yet again score his 60th goal of the season against the Jets? We're mere hours from finding all this out, and more.
The lineup, according to various contradictory sources. Whatever they'll be, they'll probably change as the game goes on:
- Ladd Little Wheeler
- Kane Antropov Burmistrov
- Wright Jokinen Miettinen
- Wellwood Slater Tangradi
- Clitsome Byfuglien
- Hainsey Bogosian
- Stuart Postma
Notes and Trash Talk....I have nothing to base this on, but I wouldn't be surpirsed to see Al Montoya tonight. He's been a reliable option for the Jets so far, and sometimes switching things up when things aren't going well helps for no discernable reason. One thing I can confirm - Bob Essensa will not be the Jets starting goalie tonight...The Jets are 5-5 over their last 10...Tobias Entrom (shoulder) remains out. Zach Redmond (laceration) is reportedly done for the season...Andrew Ladd is hot, with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games...Olli Jokinen and Alex Burmistrov have 0 points in their last 3 games...The Jets are 3 points out of both a playoff spot and last place overall in the League.
It appears the Lightning will ice a group similar to this:
- Conacher Stamkos Purcell
- Killorn Lecavalier St. Louis
- Palat Thompson Pyatt
- Crombeen Hall Panik
- Hedman Salo
- Carle Brewer
- Aulie Lee
Notes and Trash Talk...Mathieu Garon (lower body) is doubtful for the game. If he misses it, expect someone you never heard of (Cedric Desjardins?) to take over as the guy to relieve Lindback after a 5 goal first period of the game...What is Garon's lower body injury? Probably a case of lacking the stones to face Kane, Ladd and the rest...The Lightning are 4-6 over their last 10 games...Tampa is tied with Pittsburgh for most goals in the NHL, while being 27th in goals against...Everybody knows Martin Gelinas scored the game winning goal in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, and the Lightnings' fraudulent claim of being a Cup winning franchise fools nobody...Martin St. Louis is hot, with 1 goal and 4 assists in a 3 game pointstreak, while Victor Hedman is cold, cold, cold, with just 1 point in his last 5 games.
Seriously Important Information
Gametime is 7:30ET. Out of town Jet fans adjust accordingly. Game is on TSN Jets in the Winnipeg area. For out of market fans, every game is available on radio online from TSN Radio. Also, you're pretty nifty, keep up the good reading.
5 Easy Game Predicitons
- Lots of Offense.
- I'll be hoping Tampa's Killorn and Panik play on the same line for some play-by-pay fun.
- Stamkos will do something awesome.
- Byfuglien will do something bizarre.
- Claude Noel will continue to look like he's from a 1950 Sears Catalogue.
What would Stompin Tom Connors do?
He'd sit back and enjoy a helluva game, possibly beside a lake, and likely with his guitar. It's safe to say he wrote his famous song with a game like this in mind - electric offensive players on both sides battling for a chance of sole possesion of 11th place in their Conference, with a chance to maybe leap into a tie for 9th! So, tell your loved ones to either join you or leave you alone, and honour a legend by kicking back and enjoying a Good 'Ol Hockey game.
And as Stompin' Tom was known to do when he was a young man, feel free to leave you comments, praise, anguish and joy here in the comment section below before, during, and after the game. Go Jets!