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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 7th (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (13-13-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (17-10-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets hope to close a six-game road trip on a positive note when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for Saturday's clash in Central Florida.
The Jets have lost two of their last three games, but have a chance to finish over .500 on the trip with a victory in the finale. Winnipeg fell to 3-2-0 on the swing after Thursday's disappointing effort against the Florida Panthers, who notched an easy 5-2 triumph over the Jets at BB&T Center.
After scoring the first goal of the game on Thursday, Winnipeg allowed Florida to score four unanswered tallies to take control of the contest.
"The game wasn't very good," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "It wasn't really the score; obviously, the score is the area, but for me it was the way we played. We didn't have very many good players, we didn't play very intelligent."
Andrew Ladd and Olli Jokinen scored for Winnipeg, while Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 21-of-26 shots in the loss.
The Jets played without forwards Michael Frolik (flu) and Evander Kane (lower body) on Thursday. Kane has missed the last two games and is doubtful for Saturday, while Frolik also could sit out a second straight game due to his illness.
Both Kane and Frolik are tied for third on Winnipeg this season with seven goals apiece.
Winnipeg fell to 6-7-1 as the road team after Thursday's loss. Following tonight's outing, the club will return home for a three-game stay at MTS Centre. The homestand is set to begin with Tuesday's meeting against the St. Louis Blues.
The Lightning will aim for a second straight win after ending a scoring drought with Thursday's 3-1 victory over visiting Ottawa. Tampa had been shut out in two straight games heading into the recent tilt against the Senators, but Martin St. Louis scored twice to lift the Bolts to the home win at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Ondrej Palat assisted on both of St. Louis' goals and Valtteri Filppula also lit the lamp for the Lightning. Former Senator Ben Bishop backstopped the Tampa Bay triumph with 33 saves.
"We're not winning this game without Bishop," St. Louis said of his netminder.
It was the eighth win in the last nine home games for Tampa, which is 11-3-0 as the host this season compared to a 6-7-1 record on the road.
The Lightning are dealing with a rash of injuries at the moment and defensemen Victor Hedman and Keith Aulie are the latest to join the list. Hedman suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday's loss and expects to miss tonight, while Aulie is out indefinitely after breaking his hand against the Senators.
Of course, Tampa is still playing without star centerman Steven Stamkos, who is out indefinitely with a broken right tibia. Fellow forward Ryan Malone also is expected to miss the next 3-to-4 weeks with a broken ankle.
Winnipeg will try to win its fourth straight game in this series tonight and the Jets also have claimed six of the past nine encounters against the Bolts. However, the Lightning have taken nine of the past 11 meetings in Central Florida.
12/07 10:39:33 ET
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