Jets land in Tampa
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets defenceman Randy Jones (l) is checked by New York Rangersleft winger Rusian Fedotenko during NHL hockey play in Winnipeg Monday October 24, 2011. BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY
The Winnipeg Jets are planning to defend a little better and aren’t counting on scoring nine when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday to continue a season-long seven-game road trip.
After securing a 9-8 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Jets improved to 3-5-1 on the season and will attempt to post consecutive victories for the first time this season.
“Offence hasn’t been our biggest weapon right now, so it was good to put up nine goals,” said Jets defenceman Randy Jones, who played for the Lightning last season. “But to expect us to do that every game, we’re stretching it. For tonight, we really need to tighten up in our own zone. They have a lot of offence over there and a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. We can’t really have another run-and-gun game like the last one and if we do, I think we’re in for a long night.”
The Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference final before losing to the Boston Bruins last spring and are known for playing a style that tests your patience.
“They feed off turnovers,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who provided the game-winner in Thursday’s 9-8 thriller with the Philadelphia Flyers. “You have to make sure that you’re really good with the puck in the neutral zone. If you let their system get to you, it can be frustrating. You have to be smart with the puck, get it past their D and into the right areas and you have to skate and win those battles.”
The Lightning (4-4-2) lost 5-3 to the Nashville Predators on Thursday, a defeat that came on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
“Last year, after Christmas we were known not to give up much and in the playoffs it was the same.” said Lightning head coach Guy Boucher. “This year, we’re trying to build that (reputation) right now. Some games, we’re looking great and some games we’re not looking like we want to. It has to be the focus of our game, defence first. We can always score goals.”
The Lightning won all six meetings with the Atlanta Thrashers last season, but that’s something Boucher puts no stock in.
“I never look at that,” said Boucher. “It’s not about a franchise, it’s the players that are on the ice at that particular moment. If the Boston Red Sox would have thought about the past, they never would have won that World Series (in 2004). It’s all about today.
With Chris Mason remaining day-to-day with a groin injury, the Jets recalled goalie Peter Mannino from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Saturday and he’ll back up Ondrej Pavelec.
Dwayne Roloson starts in goal for the Lightning.
Puck drop is 6:05 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum (CBC, TSN 1290).
Meanwhile, the Jets placed defenceman Derek Meech on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and lost winger Brett MacLean off waivers to the Phoenix Coyotes.
MacLean, who had two assists in five games with the Jets, is expected to be assigned to the Portland Pirates of the AHL.