Neither the Tampa Bay Lightning
nor the Winnipeg Jets
will be bidding for an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they meet tonight at MTS Centre.
But both clubs have built-in incentives tonight when they play their respective season finales. The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos
is one goal away from the 60-goal mark, while the Jets will be skating before a sold-out Winnipeg crowd for the final time this season.
Helping Stamkos to become the first NHL player to reach 60 goals since Alexander Ovechkin did so in the 2007-08 season has been something of a mission this week for his teammates. Still, for a club that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final last May, playing out the schedule has required a mental adjustment from the Tampa Bay dressing room.
“In terms of motivation, it's certainly not ideal for either team,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher
admitted after Tampa Bay’s morning skate.
Down the hallway at MTS Centre, Jets coach Claude Noel
echoed similar thoughts as his clubs prepares to play in front of the 41st home sellout this season.
“I just want us to play well and play hard for the fans and play for the right reasons for each other.”
will start for the Lightning against Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec
. Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Lightning and Jets:
Martin St. Louis
– Steven Stamkos
– Ryan Malone
– Vincent Lecavalier
– Teddy Purcell
– Tom Pyatt
– JT Wyman
– Adam Hall
– Brian Lee
– Victor Hedman
– Bruno Gervais
– Brendan Mikkelson
– Bryan Little
– Blake Wheeler
– Alexander Burmistrov
– Antti Miettinen
– Jim Slater
– Chris Thorburn
– Nik Antropov
– Tim Stapleton
– Dustin Byfuglien
– Zach Bogosian
– Grant Clitsome