Stamkos shoots for 60 as Bolts wrap up against Jets
Friday, 04.06.2012 / 9:45 AM
Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior WriterLIGHTNING (37-36-8) at JETS (37-35-9)
TV: CBC, CW44
Tampa Bay 5-4-1; Winnipeg 3-6-1
The Jets have won three of the five games, including two in regulation and one in OT. The Lightning have beaten the Jets in regulation and overtime.
It's all about Steven Stamkos
, who needs one goal to become the first player since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 to score 60 goals in a season. However, 42-year-old goalie Dwayne Roloson
might be playing the final game of his long career and the Jets are closing out their first season in Winnipeg. They would love to reward their fans with a win and some good feelings going into the offseason.
They are playing for Stamkos, who is looking to become just the second player in the NHL to score 60 in a season since both Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it in 1995-96.
In addition to Ovechkin, Lemieux and Jagr, the list of 60-goal scorers in NHL history also includes Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Phil Esposito, Teemu Selanne, Alexander Mogilny, Jari Kurri, Luc Robitaille, Bernie Nichols, Mike Bossy, Lanny MacDonald, Steve Yzerman, Reggie Leach, Pavel Bure, Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt and Dennis Maruk.
That's some pretty exclusive company Stamkos would join with a goal Saturday. He scored No. 59 Thursday in a 3-2 overtime loss at Toronto.
"It would mean a lot more to me if we were closer or if we were in the playoffs," Stamkos said.
Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Roloson will get the start in net. It could be his last in a career that spans back to 1996-97.
They're coming off a brutally tough loss Thursday to the Islanders. Michael Grabner scored in the final minute of regulation to send the Jets home with a 5-4 loss after both Zach Bogosian
and Dustin Byfuglien
scored game-tying goals in the third period.
However, the Jets were down 2-0 in the first 8:06 before Tobias Enstrom
and Andrew Ladd
scored to make it even at 2-2 before the first intermission. Jets coach Claude Noel was furious with how the Jets started the game.
"I understand it's not easy to get started at this time of year when you are out of it. I get that," he said. "But still you're an athlete and this is your chosen profession. Can you not play the right way? That's all I ask. Play the right way for the right reasons. That's why you play and that should be enough. The game starts and you start on time. I understand the motivation part. But that's poor and it's a poor character trait if that's what you got. I understand you don't have legs some nights. I understand those things. But not in the fashion we do things. That's what bothers me."
Stamkos has 4 goals in the last four games. … Ladd scored 4 goals on the Jets' recently completed four-game road trip and he now has 28 for the season. He scored 29 last season, but has never scored 30 in a season.
No surprises on the Lightning injury report. Mattias Ohlund
(knees), Dana Tyrell
(knee), Marc-Andre Bergeron
(back), Mathieu Garon
(groin) and Ryan Shannon
(shoulder) all won't play until next season at the earliest. … The Jets will be without Tanner Glass
(broken left foot), Kyle Wellwood
(broken right foot) and Eric Fehr
Stamkos has 178 goals in 324 career games.
"I know if I do score it's going to be a big one," Stamkos said. "I just have to go out and play my game and try not to force things. It's trying to keep the same game plan that you have had through the first (81) games, that's obviously worked."