The Lightning’s last road trip of the season, other than a one-game make-up trip to Boston, continues tonight on the prairie of central Canada as they take on the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. The team had yesterday off after getting in from Buffalo on Sunday night. Hard to believe it is the middle of April and it snowed pretty much the entire day in Winnipeg on Monday. Nevertheless, the team had a group outing and then gathered for a team dinner at a local steakhouse. They had a full morning skate at the arena today in preparation for tonight’s game.
Ben Bishop, fresh off signing a new two-year contract with the Lightning yesterday, will take the net for the Bolts. He has only faced Winnipeg one other time in his career, coming with Ottawa on February 9 of this season. Despite taking a loss, he made 36 saves on 37 shots faced. That game was played in Ottawa, however. Tom Pyatt, after leaving Sunday’s game with an upper body injury, will sit out again tonight. The good news is Pierre-Cedric Labrie is healthy and ready to play. He will slide in for Pyatt, who is listed as day-to-day.
This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Lightning and Jets with Winnipeg taking two of those games. While it appears the Lightning will be on the outside looking in come playoff time, this is an extremely important game for the Jets, who sit just two points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Lightning will fly to Montreal tonight in preparation for the fourth and final game of this trip. They are scheduled to arrive at the hotel around 3:15 a.m. with a practice scheduled for tomorrow. Despite the late arrival Jon Cooper said he plans on practicing.
TV: Sun Sports
Radio: AM 970 WFLA
Anti-Aircraft – Steven Stamkos, who scored his 60th goal here last season and received a standing ovation, has picked up where he left off. In three games at the MTS Centre this year he has three goals and five points.
Thompson’s Return – Complete with a new visor after his was shattered after taking a puck in Washington at the start of this trip, Nate Thompson is good to go tonight after missing Sunday’s game in Buffalo. In turn, JT Wyman was returned to Syracuse.