Winnipeg Jets (25-28-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (30-22-4)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 18, 2016, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -146 / Winnipeg Jets +132 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Bolts look to shake off a 4-2 loss to the Sharks on Tuesday as they continue their home stand against the slumping Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets head into Tampa Bay on Thursday night looking to shake off a 2-1 loss to the Canes in Raleigh on Tuesday and work their way out of the Central division basement as they currently trail the Wild for sixth place by five points. Winnipeg was a playoff team last year but haven’t looked like the same group this season and with one of their top offensive threats in Andrew Ladd likely on his way out the door in the next week or so at the trade deadline it begs the question whether the Jets have given up on this season and will turn their focus to the off season and the draft. The Jets are 12-15-2 on the road and do have Ondrej Pavelec back and while he has been solid in his two starts since returning from injury he is in tough here against a Lightning team that can fly.
The Lightning head into Thursday night’s game sitting in fourth place in the Atlantic division but are just four points back of the second seeded Bruins and are certainly right in the mix when it comes to a playoff spot. The Bolts are the reigning Eastern Conference champions and are in a great position to defend their crown but with the trade speculation still looming around Steven Stamkos it may serve as a distraction for the team as they approach the home stretch of the regular season. The Bolts are too good of a team to fall short of the postseason though and I think they start to pick their game up a bit over the next couple of weeks and that starts with a big effort here at home against the Jets.