0

JNGD.51 Flight Plan: Ride The Lightning

Here it is! The start of the “unofficial” second half of the season and the start of a huge ten game home stand for the Winnipeg Jets and it starts with a bang as the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning come in to Winnipeg for their first and only visit of the season.

Tampa Bay Lightning (34-12-3)
@
Winnipeg Jets (29-13-8)

January 29, 2018 – Puck drop: 7:00 PM CST
Bell MTS Place – Winnipeg, MB.
TV: TSN3 – Radio: TSN 1290

Recently for the Jets…

The Jets went into the All-Star break having won three of their last four games, and in the fourth game got a hard earned point out of the Anaheim Ducks. That game against the Ducks was more costly than any of us first realized as defenseman Jacob Trouba suffered a high ankle injury in overtime and will now be out for the next six to eight weeks. It’s just another major injury to the Jets in what has felt like a small pile of them over the last month or so. At the very least Adam Lowry should be drawing back in for the Jets tonight as he returns from injury and not a moment too soon as the Jets will need some help on the defensive side of things in missing both Trouba and Kulikov and having one of their best defensive forwards back in the lineup should be a huge boost for Winnipeg.

Also of note – and maybe the biggest story going into tonight’s game – Michael Hutchinson will get his first NHL start of this season, about 24 hours after he played in the AHL All-Star game. This was apparently part of a plan Maurice had to allow Hutch to get an All-Star game experience in and then catch a flight to Winnipeg and get ready for the best team in the league.

Recently for the Lightning…

Tampa Bay has also has a few injury issues, the biggest being to their own top defenseman Victor Hedman who is likely to still miss the next four weeks with an injury. Beyond that though they’ve still been doing fairly well, having won their last three games before the ASG break but having gone 5-4-1 in their last ten. Tampa is in the middle of an eight game road trip and tonight is the beginning of the second half of that trip that will take them through western Canada. Expect an invigorated Tampa club coming off a successfully hosted All-Star game where Nikita Kucherov – who leads the team in points with 64 and goals with 27 – had quite the showing and commented that weekend helped him gain a bit more confidence after slumping in the last few games.

Advertisement

Recently between both teams…

The Jets battled well enough but lost a tough 4-3 OT decision to the Lightning back on December 9. It was the seventh time in the last eight games against the Lightning that the Jets have given up four or more goals in a game. The Jets have also only managed one win in the last five games against Tampa Bay, but have at least managed to scrape up a loser point (OT or SO loss) in three of those four losses.

Winnipeg Jets Lines

LW C RW
Patrik Laine
PATRIK LAINE
Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER
Jack Roslovic
JACK ROSLOVIC
Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT
Bryan Little
BRYAN LITTLE
Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS
Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP
Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY
Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA
Brandon Tanev
BRANDON TANEV
Matt Hendricks
MATT HENDRICKS
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY
Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS
Tobias Enstrom
TOBIAS ENSTROM
Dustin Byfuglien
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN
Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT
Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN
GOALIES
Michael Hutchinson
MICHAEL HUTCHINSON
Connor Hellebuyck
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

LW C RW
Tyler Johnson
TYLER JOHNSON
Brayden Point
BRAYDEN POINT
Nikita Kucherov
NIKITA KUCHEROV
Vladislav Namestnikov
VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV
Steven Stamkos
STEVEN STAMKOS
Chris Kunitz
CHRIS KUNITZ
Alex Killorn
ALEX KILLORN
Matthew Peca
MATTHEW PECA
Yanni Gourde
YANNI GOURDE
Michael Bournival
MICHAEL BOURNIVAL
Cedric Paquette
CEDRIC PAQUETTE
Ryan Callahan
RYAN CALLAHAN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Jake Dotchin
JAKE DOTCHIN
Anton Stralman
ANTON STRALMAN
Slater Koekkoek
SLATER KOEKKOEK
Dan Girardi
DAN GIRARDI
Braydon Coburn
BRAYDON COBURN
Andrej Sustr
ANDREJ SUSTR
GOALIES
Andrei Vasilevskiy
ANDREI VASILEVSKIY
Louis Domingue
LOUIS DOMINGUE

Gameday Prediction…

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for Hutchinson. His first NHL start of the season comes against one of the league’s best and he’s playing behind a beaten up and depleted defence for the Winnipeg Jets. As much as I hope he doesn’t get lit up, all the signs point to a bad start to the home stand as the Lightning win 5-2.