Jets look to snap losing streak against Lightning
Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
|Tampa Bay Lightning's Brett Connolly (left) battles for the puck with Winnipeg Jet Mark Stuart during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Tampa, Florida Oct. 29, 2011. (REUTERS)
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets know exactly how they need to play against the patient Tampa Bay Lightning.
Being able to execute the game plan against the dreaded 1-3-1 is the challenge the Jets face as they look to snap a five-game losing skid on Monday at MTS Centre.
“We’ve got to be patient and we’ve got to wait out that 1-3-1,” said Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian. “We have to make sure we’re making all of the little plays, coming back as five, going up as five, making all of those 10-foot passes to break that trap. They’re going to stick to that game-plan too. Their coach (Guy Boucher) has them on a tight leash there and they don’t shy away from it too much.
“If we turn pucks over, they’ve got a lot of firepower. Stamkos, Lecavalier, St. Louis. You can go right down the list.”
Taking care of the puck is always key against a team like the Lightning.
“Carrying the puck through there (the neutral zone) is your first mistake,” said Noel. “The 1-3-1 is just a different system. They do a good job, it’s well-designed. It’s a tough system to play against.”
The Jets lost 1-0 to the Lightning on Oct. 27 and creating a little more traffic in front of the opposition goal is one of the items on the checklist for tonight.
“It’s something that’s been addressed,” said Bogosian. “We need to get more bodies in front of the goalies. The goalies are too good in this league to sit there and blast away from the point. They’re going to catch it every time. If there are bodies in front of them, where they have to work to get into the shooting lane, it can only help us out that much more.”
“We weren’t able to get a goal against them last game and we’re looking to change that,” added Jets winger Evander Kane. “We’re going to be in for probably a low-scoring affair so we need to be good defensively as well.”
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher was making no apologies for the style his team is playing — even after coming under fire during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers last week.
Boucher was asked if he thought Peter Laviolette and the Flyers were trying to make the Lightning look bad in that game?
“I have no comments, we’re playing Winnipeg tonight, that’s all that I’m worrying about,” said Boucher. “I don’t have to answer any of that because a lot of good hockey names have answered — Scotty Bowman, Mike Babcock, Jacques Lemaire, Lindy Ruff, (Ken) Hitchcock. I think they’re pretty good names. I don’t need to say a word.”
Boucher did have some kind words for the Jets though.
“First of all, I think they’re doing well this year and giving teams a hard time,” said Boucher. “They’ve won some tough games. You can see their structure on video. Guys are paying the price. They have some guys on defence that are mobile and good offensively.
“For the forwards, they’ve got some good talent that is rising and that’s always very dangerous. Sometimes they don’t feel the fear some older guys have and that gives you a lot of momentum. I think they can build on that. It’s only a question of time for this team to be one of the good teams in the league.”
Ondrej Pavelec makes his 10th consecutive start in goal for the Jets, while Dwayne Roloson will be between the pipes for the Lightning.