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Lightning at Jets preview

Vasilevskiy can win 10th straight start for Tampa Bay; Winnipeg 4-5-2 in past 11

by Darrin Bauming / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (28-15-4) at JETS (25-18-4)



The Game

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy can match the longest winning streak of his NHL career when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday.

Vasilevskiy, expected to start after Curtis McElhinney made 20 saves in a 3-2 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, can win his 10th consecutive game, matching his run from Feb. 9-March 5, 2019. He's 9-0-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and two shutouts in his past nine starts for the Lightning, who are 11-2-0 in their past 13 games.

The Jets are 4-5-2 in their past 11 games. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start; he's 3-1-1 with a 1.77 GAA, .949 save percentage and one shutout in his past five starts.


Players to watch

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has three goals in his past two games; his two goals against the Wild gave him two multigoal games in his past five.

Jets forward Kyle Connor has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his past eight games.


They said it

"Our scoring has dried up here the last few games, and part of that is we've got to get pucks to the net. We're just making games easy on the other team … We've got to regroup." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"Dangerous. I feel like up and down their lineup they've got guys that'll make you pay if you make mistakes, so our defensive game is going to have to be really solid. We're going to have to take care of the puck." -- Jets forward Andrew Copp


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos -- Anthony Cirelli -- Tyler Johnson

Alexander Volkov -- Cedric Paquette -- Alex Killorn

Yanni Gourde -- Mitchell Stephens -- Carter Verhaeghe

Victor Hedman -- Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: Pat Maroon (upper body)

Scratched: Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Patrik Laine

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Blake Wheeler -- Andrew Copp

Mathieu Perreault -- Adam Lowry -- Jack Roslovic

Gabriel Bourque -- Nicholas Shore -- Mason Appleton

Josh Morrissey -- Dmitry Kulikov

Sami Niku -- Neal Pionk

Anthony Bitetto -- Luca Sbisa

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Jansen Harkins, Cameron Schilling

Injured: Mark Letestu (heart virus), Bryan Little (head), Nathan Beaulieu (lower body), Tucker Poolman (lower body), Carl Dahlstrom (broken hand)

Suspended: Dustin Byfuglien


Status report

Kulikov returns after missing one game because of the flu. … Bourque enters the lineup in place of Harkins. … Defensemen Dahlstrom and Poolman were placed on injured reserve Thursday; Dahlstrom will miss a minimum of six weeks, Jets coach Paul Maurice said. … Schilling, a defenseman, was recalled from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Friday.


Stat pack

Stamkos has 51 points (29 goals, 22 assists) in 37 games against Winnipeg. … Scheifele has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … Wheeler has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past eight games, and 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 34 games against Tampa Bay.

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