TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will go for their fifth consecutive win when they face the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The game marks the third time during this five-game homestand that the Lightning have caught a team on the back end of back-to-back games. The Jets lost 6-3 to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Thursday night.
Although the Lightning have scored 11 goals in the two previous back-to-backs, it should be noted they have faced the backup netminder each time -- Ben Bishop for the Ottawa Senators and Michael Leighton for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Although Winnipeg's top goalie Ondrej Pavelec played Thursday night against the Panthers, coach Claude Noel is playing his goaltending decision close to the vest for this contest, calling it a "game-time decision."
The back-to-back situation is one Noel is downplaying.
"The fact that they (the Lightning) are sitting here ready for us is always a concern, but for us, we can't deal so much with the back-to-back," he said. "We'll have to manage that. We have to be better in some areas and not be concerned about playing back-to-back, but being concerned about our team play and how that goes."
Tampa Bay has not lost at home this season, coming out on top in four straight. Despite the favorable schedule, Lightning coach Guy Boucher isn't pointing to that as any part of the team's success.
"We don’t focus on it at all," Boucher said. "We focus on ourselves. We've got an opponent coming up that has some offense, some grit, and they are very well-coached with good goaltending. We're facing a division opponent that is having a good year."
Boucher will stay with the same lineup he put on the ice in the two previous games.
Winnipeg had an optional skate Friday morning and only a few players participated.
Ryan Malone – Steven Stamkos – Martin St. Louis
Cory Conacher – Vincent Lecavalier – Teddy Purcell
Adam Hall – Nate Thompson – B.J. Crombeen
Tom Pyatt – Benoit Pouliot – Dana Tyrell
Eric Brewer – Matthew Carle
Victor Hedman – Sami Salo
Brian Lee – Keith Aulie
Scratches: Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Marc-Andre Bergeron
Injured: Brendan Mikkelson
Evander Kane - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Bryan Little
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
James Wright - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom - Paul Postma
Ron Hainsey - Zach Redmond
Grant Clitsome - Mark Stuart
Injured: Zach Bogosian, Antti Miettinen, Dustin Byfuglien
Scratches: Anthony Peluso, Mark Scheifele